To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Airline service quality: Exploratory analysis of consumer perceptions and operational performance in the USA and EU

Siobhan Tiernan (University of Limerick, Kemmy Business School, Limerick, Ireland)
Dawna L. Rhoades (Embry‐Riddle Aeronautical University, College of Business, Daytona Beach, Florida, USA)
Blaise Waguespack Jr (Embry‐Riddle Aeronautical University, College of Business, Daytona Beach, Florida, USA)

Managing Service Quality: An International Journal

ISSN: 0960-4529

Article publication date: 16 May 2008

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine consumer perceptions of airline quality indicators and compare them to actual data reported by the Department of Transportation, in the USA and the Association of European Airlines (AEA) in the EU. The objective is to determine whether there is a discrepancy between reported performance metrics of service quality and consumer perception.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper compares actual reported data on service quality with results of an exploratory questionnaire on the perceived frequency of service failures in three key areas of airline service quality; on time flight arrivals, baggage reports and flight cancellations. Similarities and differences both within and between the USA and EU markets are discussed.

Findings

Preliminary findings indicate that actual consumer perceptions of airline performance on key areas of airline service quality are in fact far worse than the data reported in the US Air Travel Consumer Report or AEA Consumer Report. Consumer perceptions fail to come close to many of the service standards the industry is actually reaching. The only exception to this can be seen in the EU where the perceived and actual scores are virtually the same for on time arrivals. It's also interesting to note that the EU perception scores are generally higher than those of the US sample, indicating a marginally more positive disposition towards the industry.

Originality/value

This paper represents a exploratory attempt to integrate the two dominant approaches to airline service quality –perceptual survey and reported secondary data – in an effort to understand the challenge facing international airlines. It also examines the perceptual and performance differences across key Western cultures.

Keywords

Citation

Tiernan, S., Rhoades, D.L. and Waguespack, B. (2008), "Airline service quality: Exploratory analysis of consumer perceptions and operational performance in the USA and EU", Managing Service Quality: An International Journal, Vol. 18 No. 3, pp. 212-224. https://doi.org/10.1108/09604520810871847

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited