This topic features seven sound bites and one voice wrap.
The 17th Airline Quality Rating study will be announced Monday, April 2, in Washington, D.C. The rating is conducted annually by researchers Dean Headley of Wichita State University and Brent Bowen of the University of Nebraska at Omaha. The AQR, as an industry standard, uses objective performance-based data to compare quality among airlines. The AQR measures performance in baggage handling, on-time arrivals, denied boardings and customer complaints.
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If you have additional questions for Dean Headley on Monday, April 2, or Tuesday morning April 3, call the Willard Intercontinental Hotel at (202) 628-9100. Starting Wednesday, April 4, you can reach Headley at (316) 978-3367 or email@example.com. For more information, go to http://aqr.aero.
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After a three-year run as the best performing airline, Jet Blue finished second behind Hawaiian, according to the 17th annual national Airline Quality Rating study. However, 13 of the 15 airlines in the study, performed more poorly in 2006 than 2005. Altogether, 18 airlines were in the 2006 rating, with Frontier, Hawaiian and Mesa being ranked for the first time.
The rating is conducted annually by researchers Dean Headley of Wichita State University and Brent Bowen of the University of Nebraska at Omaha. According to the Airline Quality Rating, Hawaiian was first, followed by Jet Blue, AirTran, Frontier, Northwest, Southwest, Continental, United, Alaska, American, ATA, Delta, US Airways, SkyWest, Mesa, Comair, American Eagle, and Atlantic Southeast.
The AQR, as an industry standard, uses objective performance-based data to compare quality among airlines. The AQR measures performance in baggage handling, on-time arrivals, denied boardings and customer complaints. Comments on todayís Newsline are by Wichita State airline quality researcher Dean Headley.
Announcer: According to the 17th annual Airline Quality Rating, Hawaiian Airlines topped Jet Blue for the No. 1 spot for 2006. The study ranked the 18 largest U.S. airlines in on-time arrivals, baggage handling, denied boardings and customer complaints. Dean Headley, co-author of the national Airline Quality Rating at Wichita State University, says airline quality continues to decline.
Headley: "Well, again this year for the third year in a row, the overall industry quality declined about the same as it did last year, and three out of the four indicators were worse this year than they were a year ago."
Announcer: Headley says airlines are back to full passenger volume similar to what it was before 9/11, with about 18-20 percent less seat capacity in the system now. He says the very complex system and high volume just doesnít hold up well to the pressure. This is Joe Kleinsasser at Wichita State University.
Sound bite #1
Headley says three of the four performance measures declined in 2006. The sound bite is 14 seconds and the outcue is "barely noticeably better."
Headley: "Those three indicators that were worse this time were on-time performance was worse, involuntary denied boardings, and baggage handling were worse this time. Customer complaints, while they improved slightly, were just barely noticeably better."
Sound bite #2
Headley says airlines arenít promising more than minimal service. The sound bite is 13 seconds and the outcue is "havenít changed it much."
Headley: "Given all the financial woes that airlines have had, they still donít have much more than a basic promise ó getting you to a destination reasonably on time with your belongings, and trying to hassle you as little as possible. Thatís the basic promise and they havenít changed it much."
Sound bite #3
Headley says consumer complaints were much higher seven or eight years ago. The sound bite is 21 seconds and the outcue is "to complain about."
Headley: "When we had this kind of passenger volume about seven or eight years ago, 1999-2000, and where weíre at now with customer complaints, the complaints now are about a third of what they were seven or eight years ago. Really the only conclusion I can draw from that is that evidently people are just so fed up or so used to the service that they get, that they didnít find anything to complain about."
Sound bite #4
Headley says Hawaiian and Jet Blue are the top two airlines in this yearís Airline Quality Rating study. The sound bite is 17 seconds and the outcue is "over the top."
Headley: "This year we had a new airline take over the No. 1 spot, Hawaiian Airlines, followed very closely by Jet Blue, who was the No. 1 last year. Hawaiian flies in a little bit different market, shall we say, than Jet Blue and some of the others, but they do have a very good on-time percentage, and that pretty much put them over the top."
Sound bite #5
Headley says US Airways and Northwest are the only two airlines that showed improvement in 2006. The sound bite is 22 seconds and the outcue is "Airline Quality Rating."
Headley: "Well, this year weíre tracking 18 airlines, and out of that only two airlines improved from last year, Northwest and US Air, US Air having the largest improvement. Northwest was the fifth-rated carrier, and they actually are still in bankruptcy and they did very well. It seems to be a pattern of airlines about to emerge from bankruptcy seeming to do very well in the Airline Quality Rating."
Sound bite #6
Headley says the flying public needs to become more engaged in the process. The sound bite is 24 seconds and the outcue is "not going to happen."
Headley: "As a consumer, nowadays you really need to be much more engaged in the process of air travel. You cannot just rely on the fact that you have a ticket, you show up at the airport and everythingís going to happen. You need to know about your flight schedule, what your alternatives are if something gets canceled on you, what the weather may be at your destination or your departure point. You need to be aware of how this is going to happen or if itís not going to happen."
Sound bite #7
Headley says the airlines are overtaxed and improved service is not likely. The sound bite is 23 seconds and the outcue is "fulfill them at all."
Headley: "With the overtaxed system that we have now in the airline business, and that means upwards to 150,000 fewer employees than we had just a few years ago, the promise is still basically the same ó travel, certain time, with your belongings. And I canít really see the airlines improving on that a whole lot, or making any more grandiose promises and hoping to fulfill them at all."
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