Airlines are facing tougher scrutiny over their customer service practices after David Dao, a passenger on a United flight, was dragged off a plane by three Chicago Aviation police officers on April 9.
Passengers seem to have become more vigilant about recording inflammatory interactions between airline staff and customers after graphic images of Dao’s bloodied face circulated the internet. American Airlines and Delta have both faced public backlash in the last month as a result of viral videos that captured public altercations.
Despite these viral instances, a 2017 survey by research agency J.D. Power found that overall customer satisfaction with North American airlines has reached its highest level ever in the 13 years since the agency started the assessment.
J.D. Power collected responses from 11,015 passengers between April 2016 and March 2017. (It would be interesting, however, to see whether perceptions of customer service have changed since the United incident in April.)
Respondents were asked to assess airlines based on seven factors: cost and fees; in-flight services; aircraft; boarding/deplaning/baggage; flight crew; check-in; and reservation. Among the four major carriers (United, American Airlines, Delta, and Southwest), United ranked the lowest for customer satisfaction.