Airlines struggle to keep pace with rising customer expectations

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Customer experience across airliners has dipped in 2017 as brands struggle to keep pace with soaring customer expectations, according to research from KPMG Nunwood.

Customer experience across airliners has dipped in 2017 as brands struggle to keep pace with soaring customer expectations, according to research from KPMG Nunwood.

The airline sector saw its customer experience score drop from 7.41 to 7.14, reflecting the overall trend cross-sector that saw its score dropping from 7.33 to 7.08.

The annual analysis of over 10,000 consumers found that Emirates leads the way on customer experience in the UK airline sector, ranking sixth out of a list of 295 brands, followed by Virgin Atlantic (overall ranking 18th) and KLM (overall ranking 46th) who moved up by 83 places in this year’s analysis.

Commenting on the results, John Luke, UK Head of Aviation at KPMG UK, said: “Over the past few year we’ve seen intense competition around customer experience amongst airliners. The ‘traditional’ low cost airlines are now having to address customer experience, as a growing number of overseas companies are replicating the low cost business model, shifting the focus to customer experience as the differentiator. This, in turn, has impelled the premium airlines to push forward on experience and to select where they compete. Our research shows that Emirates and Virgin Atlantic are showing the way, intentionally engineering memorable experiences for their customers in their own unique style.

“As low cost airlines have fundamentally changed the economic model of air travel, business class has become the experience battleground. Increasingly, airlines are paying attention to the specific needs of this group of profit-driving passengers. However, this re-focus on the business passenger means a realignment of the experience across business class and economy, leading to a rapidly widening gulf between the two on the same aircraft.”