UK Civil Aviation Authority survey shows decline in passenger satisfaction

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The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has published its latest UK Aviation Consumer Survey, which shows that overall satisfaction with flying has fallen.

In the fifth survey of its kind to be carried out in the last two years, passengers were found to be particularly unhappy with how airports and airlines respond to disruption and delay.

The CAA’s survey is an investigation of UK consumer behavior and attitudes regarding flying, and is used to help put consumer interest at the heart of its regulatory activity.

The survey also suggests significant regional differences in consumer satisfaction with the overall travel experience during their last flight, with people in Wales, the East Midlands and the East of England less satisfied than those in the North East, Scotland and the North West.

Tim Johnson, policy director, CAA, said, “Although satisfaction remains high at 83%, our last two surveys have shown a reduction from 90%. Delays and disruption can be caused by a range of different factors. Some of these are within the control of airlines, and some are not.

“Whatever the cause, these delays can be frustrating for passengers. We expect airlines to always provide prompt and accurate information and if passengers are entitled to further care and compensation, this should be provided without delay.”

One of the key identified drivers of consumer satisfaction is their experience on board the plane. CAA analysis shows this element of the journey has the strongest impact on levels of satisfaction compared to other aspects.

The survey found that passengers are typically less satisfied with the in-flight experience than other aspects of flying. What’s more, consumers have become less satisfied with their experience on board since the survey began, with 81% satisfied in spring 2016 compared with 77% in the latest survey.

There are also regional differences in overall satisfaction. For example, a higher proportion of passengers flying from the North East are satisfied with their flight (89%) compared with in the East Midlands (76%) and in Wales (78%).

The results of the survey do suggest however that the industry is making progress on how it responds to complaints and treats those with grievances. Consumers are now more confident of fair treatment should things go wrong – 50% of consumers feel they will be treated fairly should things go wrong, up 6% points from autumn 2017.

Market research firm ComRes interviewed 3,500 UK adults online and via telephone between March 29 and April 20, 2018, for the latest CAA survey. Data was weighted to be demographically representative of all UK adults by age, gender, region and working status.

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Dan joined Passenger Terminal World in 2014 having spent the early years of his career in the recruitment industry. As assistant editor, he now produces daily content for the website and supports the editors with the publication of each exciting new issue. When he’s not reporting on the latest aviation news, Dan can be found apprehensively planning his next DIY project.

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