The purpose of this paper is to help airlines gain a better understanding of passengers’ service concerns, identify opportunities for continuous service improvement, and then develop service benchmarking standards that can be a yardstick for the airline’s competitiveness.
This paper develops a set of target performance standards that helps airlines monitor their service delivery process, identify relative weaknesses, and take corrective actions for continuous service improvements using exploratory data analysis and competitive gap analysis.
This study reveals that a service attribute considered most important to the airline customers’ impressions of service quality are air safety. This result reflects a growing concern over potential terrorism against airlines in the wake of the September 11 incident. The authors also found that proper baggage handling, competitive airfare, and on-time arrival/departure were next most important service attributes, whereas frequent flier and code-sharing programs were least important. Furthermore, the authors discovered that airline passengers’ perceived service quality influenced their choice of airlines. That is to say, airline service quality can be an important gauge of airline market share and revenue.
The current study is limited to the evaluation of comparative service quality of airlines in the USA. Thus, this study cannot be generalized to the airline passengers’ perceived service quality in other countries or different cultural settings. Also, this paper focuses on the performance aspect of benchmarking rather than the strategic aspect of benchmarking.
With rising costs of fuel, labor, maintenance, and security, many airlines are at a crossroads where they have to decide between succumbing to restructuring pressures in a form of mergers/acquisitions and reinventing their service offerings. One viable means of reinventing airline service offerings is to learn more about what airline passengers truly value and appreciate in terms of service offerings and then figure out what it takes to win the hearts of customers and then how the airline can differentiate its service offering from those of its competitors. With this in mind, this paper develops viable service improvement strategies for the airline that can enhance its competitiveness in the struggling airline industry.
This paper is one of a few attempts to identify a list of service attributes most important to airline service quality based on the actual survey of airline passengers, and then develop a benchmark standard of airlines in the USA from a customer (passenger) perspective.
Min, H. and Min, H. (2015), "Benchmarking the service quality of airlines in the United States: an exploratory analysis", Benchmarking: An International Journal, Vol. 22 No. 5, pp. 734-751. https://doi.org/10.1108/BIJ-03-2013-0029Download as .RIS
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