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Airline Analysis: Aspects Relations

Introduction

This analysis provides a relationship between levels of customer satisfaction and quality of services using a likert scale analysis. The service quality variables are denoted by aspects such as tangibility, reliability, responsiveness and assurance of XXX airline management system. Our research indicates that cabin safety and accident rate levels are directly related to dissatisfaction factors, and derivatives such as response to lost luggage, clean and comfortable seats, enough leg room and information on delayed flights are among other factors that should be considered. As Bhat (1992) states “Airlines recognizes that quality is as vital a marketing too as price….and a dissatisfied airline passenger can neither ask for refund nor exchange a flight once performed” (p.1).

The essay provides an analysis in which the development of the level of customer satisfaction will be evaluated, as well as a discussion on the implications and conclusion identifying various strengths and development areas. Questionnaire containing customers’ views and judgments about quality travel will be analyzed and propose future professional development XXX airline should undertake. When discussing the importance of customer satisfaction levels, secondary data will be used. Likert scale will be applied in evaluating and comparing levels of customer satisfaction in terms of service quality of the airline. The essay will use the following criteria in evaluating levels of customer satisfaction; tangibility, assurance, responsiveness, tangibility and reliability.

Measurement of level of customer satisfaction is considered as a positive feature, the research therefore focuses on the consideration of the positive and negative of service quality of the airline before refurbishment.

For an informative analysis, customers’ views in form of questionnaires on the current service quality are highlighted as the main factor in influencing both positive and negative factors. The research proposes for the reconsideration of cabin safety and responsiveness of the airline assistants as most important in considering service quality and narrative communication avenues when dealing with customer complains. Our deductive approach touches on airline travelers’ thoughts, the way they reinterpret the message and sediment new knowledge that will yield maximum profits in airline business. This analysis will highlight the degree to which levels of customer satisfaction specifically reliability and responsiveness are applied and the role of human resource in influencing change. I will distribute a series of questionnaires to different customers to find out their attitudes towards XXX airline services discuss whether the results support the research question and state conclusions and recommendations.

XXX Airline Background

XXX airline is the largest international schedule airline flying both in European and Middle East regions. The airline progressively grew from providing charter services to operating domestic schedules. Our view, however, is that this is only the beginning of the challenge. If XXX airline leaders truly want to create a more innovative culture, they need to think about how they can disrupt the organizational rituals that are designed to produce reliable and predictable results in the short term. Finding innovative ways of providing quality service to retain and attract customers and strategize on capturing greater market shares is required.

This study was aimed at identifying levels of satisfaction in XXX airline and how innovative approaches suggested by customers can improve efficiency of their operations (Young et al, 1995). The methodology is based on secondary data, statistics provided by Tsaur et al (2002) and Hamid (2005) as well as primary data in form of a questionnaire that will be given out to several customers in order to form a qualitative empirical analysis on this topic. The survey will be measured in a Likert scale to enable customers’ rate their opinions regarding use and application of information technology in work places.

After gathering the replied surveys, the aim of the study is to compare and contrast the results between different boarding classes (first, business and economy) as well as secondary data.

Objectives

  1. The study was aimed at evaluating the levels of customer satisfaction before refurbishment and how has influenced airline gains
  2. Check the level of changes that have occurred in the airline industry after refurbishment and how this has influenced the levels of customer satisfaction.
  3. Recommend future dimensions of XXX airline
  4. Dwell on ways of retaining air travelers.

Rationale of the Study

Airline companies are required to adopt various strategies to remain competitive. Evidently, physical service presentation alone is not sufficient in retaining customers. Other services such as improving service quality, cleanliness of the seats and formulating proactive approach in handling customer complains are of paramount importance (Hamid, 2005). A study by Ostrowski et al (1993) also add that” airline could acquire and retain customers loyalty by continuing to provide perceived high quality services” (p.1). Etherington and Var (1984) conclude by stating that “airlines should understand that service quality is central element to the choice of airlines by passengers, both for business and leisure travelers” (p.5). This therefore means that providing high quality service is important in gaining competitive edge.

Gourdin (1988) categorizes airlines quality into three dimensions; price, safety and timeliness. Ostrowski et al (1993) on the other hand divides them into sub-categories of food and beverage quality, timeliness, and comfort of the seats while Truitt and Hayness (1994) mentions aspects such as ease of checking process, proactive procedures of dealing with customer complains and cleanliness of the seats as standard procedures for measuring levels of customer satisfaction. Parasuraman et al (1985, 1988) further mention tangibility, reliability, responsiveness and assurance to be among standard procedures required in measuring customer satisfaction. They relate tangibility to physical service presentation that includes aspects such as onboard catering and equipment, and comfort and cleanliness of the seats. Reliability on the other hand is mentioned to include aspects such as cabin safety and accident rate, while responsiveness regards cheerfulness and helpfulness of cabin crews when handling customers. And lastly assurance relates to efficiency and language skills of crew members.

The questionnaires were structured using a five-point Likert response scale and category items provided specifying their level of agreement to a statement. Likert scale enabled participants to indicate their degree of agreement with the statement using a five point scale that indicates;

  1. Strongly disagree
  2. Disagree
  3. Neither agree nor disagree
  4. Agree
  5. Strongly agree

The questionnaire evaluated the level of customer satisfaction by criteria they considered most important in considering service quality.

Questionnaire comprised four categories (tangibility, reliability, responsiveness and assurance). 1st part: questions to identify levels of satisfaction of customers before airline refurbishment using a Likert scale. Results obtained in this analysis will highlight the concerned areas that will help the airline set priorities and make the best decisions.

Questionnaires conducted before refurbishments were as follows:

  1. How much time did you spend on transit?
  2. Was ticket booking easy?
  3. how comfortable the flight was
  4. Was there enough leg room?
  5. Was boarding process easy?
  6. Were onboard meals good?
  7. Were airhostesses helpful and cheerful?

Evaluating Airline Service Quality

Questions Strongly Agree 5 4 Neutral 3 2 Strongly disagree 1
Tangibility Were on-board meals good? x
Were seats clean and comfortable? x
Is there any onboard reading materials? x
Did the airline have onboard entertainment? x
Was ticket booking easy? x
Is there enough leg room? x
Was boarding process easy? x
Reliability Is there any cabin safety procedure? x
Is the accident rate in the airline high? x
Responsiveness Were airhostesses helpful and cheerful? x
Were airhostesses responsible? x
Assurance Were airhostesses efficient? x
Did cabin crew have language skills? x

Methodology

The methods utilized for analyzing research question were survey questionnaire distributed to each customer participating in the research study. The questionnaires were given a study format with a thorough explanation of what was required from them. This strategy was used in anticipation that extensive data will be collected on how each member perceived changes and developments during their employment period rather than forcing themselves into YES and NO replies on pre-existing scales designed around the authors beliefs. Questionnaire method of data collection was considered suitable as it enabled the researcher obtain raw information from participants which will be used to report findings on the sensitive issues affecting airline service quality.

Sample and Results

256 questionnaires were distributed to XXX airline passengers and only 100 seats completed questionnaires and handed them to the researcher. This followed an immediate analysis where it was confirmed that 74.7% reported poor services in cabin maintenance which compromised their safety and even increased accident rates. 13.5% reported on inefficiency and poor language skills by crew members while 11.8 % reported on lack of satisfaction with onboard meals and entertainment. Other mentioned areas that require services improvement were ease of ticket booking and less time spend on transit. Among our selected customers were, company executives, heads of departments, human resource managers and quality managers. The response rate was rated at 80% since most customers used mobile understood and completed the questionnaire. The responded included; frequent travelers of XXX airline, business executives and first time customers. The questions were carefully drawn to avoid misrepresentation and where technical terms were used, were followed by simple explanations to ensure higher response rate.

The study found reliability in terms cabin safety and accident rates to be highly ranked, thus making it the most important aspect to be considered in evaluating levels of customer satisfaction. This was followed by responsiveness where many participants argued that cabin crews were unable to locate their luggage. Tangibility was ranked third while assurance gained the least votes. The finding revealed that XXX passengers were more concerned about their safety many citing the September 11, 2001 incident. The researcher also found cleanliness and comfort of the seats and easy booking as important dimensions in improving service quality. They rated accident rate at (43%), cabin safety procedure (22), cheerfulness and helpfulness of the crew (10%), efficiency of the crew (5) and comfort and cleanliness of the seat at (20).

2st part: The questionnaire second part was conducted after XXX airline refurbishment to see which best practices XXX airline had adopted in improving its service quality. The questionnaires were filled in the presence of researcher to ensure complete understanding.

Proposed Changes

  • Cabin crew were offered training on proper customer care skills
  • Onboard catering was improved as customers were offered variety choices
  • Comfortable leisure seats were installed and regular cleaning was recommended.
  • Less time was spend on transit
  • Proper handling of customer luggage
  • Cabin safety was improved

Questionnaires conducted after refurbishments were as follows:

  1. How much time did you spend on transit?
  2. Was ticket booking easy?
  3. how comfortable the flight was
  4. Was there enough leg room?
  5. Was boarding process easy?
  6. Were onboard meals good?
  7. Were airhostesses helpful and cheerful?

Evaluating XXX Airline Service Quality

Questions Strongly Agree 5 4 Neutral 3 2 Strongly disagree 1
Tangibility Were on-board meals good? x
Were seats clean and comfortable? x
Is there any onboard reading materials? x
Did the airline have onboard entertainment? x
Was ticket booking easy? x
Is there enough leg room? x
Was boarding process easy? x
Reliability Is there any cabin safety procedure? x
Is the accident rate in the airline high? x
Responsiveness Were airhostesses helpful and cheerful? x
Were airhostesses responsible? x
Assurance Were airhostesses efficient? x
Did cabin crew have language skills? x

Results after refurbishment

A total of 120 respondents were used for the analysis after filling and returning the questionnaire for their completeness and consistency. The participant profiles were presented as follows:

  • 88% of the participants were satisfied with airline services after refreshment.

Anne, a frequent flier of XXX airline was quoted

The seats are now comfortable and clean and I can even stretch my legs. Reading materials are up to date and very educative, am surprised. The airline attendant smiled at me and walked me to my seat. This is Incredible!

  • 9% were still experiencing difficulties in booking tickets many citing lack of knowledge on booking online. Studies by Tmob (2010) claim that booking through the internet encouraged reservations of up to 85%. XXX airline should therefore invest heavily on educating its customers on how to book online (Mead, 2000).
  • 3% rated the meals average, which means service improvement in this area is still needed.

The following graph represents a summary of levels of customer satisfaction after refurbishment:

a summary of levels of customer satisfaction

56.8% respondents recorded tangibility and reliability in terms of onboard equipment and cabin safety to have been properly planned. Generally, customers were found to be motivated and welcome the idea by continuing to be XXX customers. This means that the role of planning lies entirely on the top management levels and collective participation of customers is required.

The results clearly cited that service of airline services such as courtesy of airhostess, comfort and cleanliness of the seats, safety procedures in case of emergencies and reduction in accident rates to be main concerns among air travelers when determining their levels of satisfaction.

Limitation of Study

  1. Time allocated for data collection was too short hence the reason why few responds turn out
  2. Small sample which could not best represent views of customers in XXX airlines
  3. Also, results obtained here can not be generalized to all airlines

Future Dimensions

Success of the service improvement greatly relied on the route managers capabilities to integrate the application into company functionalities. Ozlupin puts it in Tmob (2010) that “working on the next version….is planning to add new functionalities, including saving popular itineraries and integration with our loyalty functionalities, including saving popular itineraries with our loyalty programme” (p.2). This global arena that capitalizes on a mixture of businesses opportunities requires manpower that rapidly and creatively adopts and applies customers’ views.

By also ensuring communication channels are driven in the right directions, feedback systems should be delivered in the right direction and time and relayed to the right people for immediate actions. In this regard, only important and critical information should be relayed to the airline websites and made available to the customers. This strategy would ensure customers’ views have been ingrained with strategic business goals. Human resource management goals must be aligned with those of employee and organization needs (Dempsey, 1997; Young et al, 1994). Organization should be flexible enough to quickly adopt and change directions towards customer oriented needs. This calls for keeping abreast with the customers’ demands and managing organization effectively through becoming knowledgeable, being able to lead and control the human resource through providing training of cabin crew members.

Conclusion

In order to measure the levels of customer satisfaction in regard to airline service quality, a likert scale was used based on data gathered from XXX air travelers. Their views corresponded to each one of the provided criteria.It was evidenced that service was most concerned with reliability in terms of cabin safety and accident rate while aspects of assurance were given les priority. Other mentioned areas were politeness and helpfulness of cabin crews, comfort and cleanliness of the seats, and efficiency of their staff when responding to customer complains. To this we concluded that it’s important for an airline to know customers desires as use them as avenues fro providing better services. This study should also be conducted in large airlines to compare the results and use large samples from different companies to improve the results.

References

Bhat, V. (1992). A Multivariable Analysis of Airline Service Quality. New York: Pace University

Dempsey, P. (1997). Airline Management: Strategies for the 21st Century. New York: Hopkins UP

Etherington, D., & Var, T. (1984). Establishing a measure of airline preference for business and non-business travelers. Journal of Travel Research, 22, 22-27

Gourdin, K. (1988). Bringing quality back to commercial travel. Transportation Journal, 27, 23-29

Hamid, H. (2005). The evalution of airline service quality using the analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP). International Conference on Tourism Development, 1, 1-9

Mead, K. (2000). Internet Sales of Airline Tickets: Statement of The Honorable Kenneth M. Mead, Inspector General, U.S. Department of Transportation. Science and Transportation, 1, 34

Ostrowsky, P., Gordon, G., & O’Brien, T. (1993). Service quality and customer in the commercial airline industry. Journal of Travel Research, 32, 16-24

Parasuraman, A.,& Ziethaml, V. (1985). A conceptual model of service quality and its implications for future research. Journal of Marketing, 49, 41-50

Parasuraman, A.,& Ziethaml, V. (1988). Servqual: A multiple-item scale for measuring consumer perception of service quality. Journal of Retailing, 64, 12-40.

Tmob. (2010). Airline boosts mobile Internet usage by 50% with BlackBerry application for reservations. Mobile e-commerce, 1, 1-2

Truitt, L., & Hayness, R. (1994). Evaluating service quality and productivity in the regional airline industry. Transportation Journal, 23, 107-115

Tsaur, S., Chang, t., & Yen, C. (2002). The evaluating of airline service quality and productivity in the regional airline industry. Transportation Journal, 33, 21-32

Young, C., Lee, M., & Ctres, L. (1994). Assessing service quality as an effective management tool: The case of the airline industry. Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, 2 (2), 76-96

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