UK CAA finds regional variation in passenger satisfaction

The UK Civil Aviation Authority has found passengers living in the north of England and Northern Ireland to be the most satisfied with their overall experience of flying from the UK.

In its latest edition of the UK Aviation Consumer Survey the CAA also found that consumers from London, the South-East and the West Midlands were the least satisfied with their overall experience.

Among those who have flown in the last 12 months, people from Northern Ireland, the North West and North East were the most likely to be positive about their recent flying experience, with satisfaction rates of 87%, 86% and 86% respectively.

Those in London and the West Midlands were least satisfied with 76% and 80% satisfied with their overall travel experience respectively.

Overall levels of consumer satisfaction dropped slightly, with 82% across the UK saying they were satisfied with their most recent flight, compared to 83% in the April 2018 survey and 90% in 2016.

Civil Aviation Authority policy director Tim Johnson explained the research helps to build a picture of how people in the UK view flying: “Every six months, we track changes in consumer sentiment by region, providing a detailed picture of how well consumers feel they are served.

“While the numbers show a positive story overall, it is important for the industry to continue to improve in areas where consumers are less content, such as complaint handling. This is particularly important given new findings in this survey showing how poor complaint handling can make many consumers think twice about flying with an airline again.”

The proportion of recent flyers satisfied with how a complaint was handled by an airport or airline has remained steady at 64%, the same as in Spring 2018 and follows a rise from 53% in October 2017.

However, 60% of those people who were dissatisfied or neutral about the handling of their complaint said that the way it had been dealt with would make them re-consider booking with that airline again.

The airport experience

The report also found that waiting at the boarding gate was measured as the low point in the customer pre-flight journey (from arriving at the airport to boarding) with 74% of consumers who have flown in the last 12 months satisfied with this experience. However, the high point of the journey was found to be the ease of navigating around the airport, with 85% satisfied.

The CAA said the proportion of recent flyers who say they were satisfied with the airport experience in the UK remains broadly in line with those who said the same in the previous wave (76% and 78% respectively), although there has been a decline in satisfaction with this element of the journey since March 2016.

In satisfaction with the airport experience in the UK, the overall travel experience was found to be satisfactory for 82% of respondents.

The CAA found: “When asked about their most recent flight, recent flyers are most likely to have been satisfied with finding their way to the gate (87%) although at least four in five were also satisfied with aspects such as navigating around the airport (85%) or checking in (81%), security (81%) or passport control in the UK (80%).”

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