Aircraft Cabin Management

Bad customer service to blame for lack of airline passenger loyalty

Bad customer service: airlines

Being treated poorly by airline staff and generally bad customer service is the number one factor that puts passengers off rebooking with a particular carrier, while a cabin that is of sub-standard quality, flight delays and lack of value for money are also considerations.

The findings are presented in a new white paper compiled by loyalty insights agency Motif, which notes that rude cabin crew and hidden fees are also among frequent flyers’ pet hates.

Emirates was the loyalty winner among UK passengers who had flown in the last year, finds the paper, while Ryanair lagged behind in last place, something that Motif attributes to the fact that the airline does not set out to be a brand that people love and is more known for getting passengers cheaply and safely from A to B.

Frequent flyer programmes are not the sole answer to building loyalty, says Motif, pointing out that factors which influence a passenger’s choice of airline, once the flight cost has been factored in, include inflight wifi, use of the airport lounge, easy booking process, personalised inflight entertainment and food, plus food ordering before take-off; these elements all add up to what it terms as “an increased feeling of ‘home’ on the flight”.

Motif’s research suggests that customers would like loyalty reward schemes to find ways to treat them differently through special services or tailored offers, or by receiving free gifts and in-flight services.

The company’s loyalty formula comprises five building blocks: Quality, Value, Sharing, Closeness and Magnetism; it is linked to three business benefits: passengers choosing to fly with a certain airline again; attracting new customers through the power of recommendation, and customers spending more through additional services.

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