This Airline Gets Twice as Many Customer Complaints as Any Other(GuessThis Airline Gets Twice as Many Customer Complaints as Any Other (Guess Which Gets the Fewest) Which Gets the Fewest)
The gap is quite something.
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Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
When your customers complain a lot, is it always your fault?
Or could it be that you need a better class of customer?
I teeter into this philosophical conundrum after looking at the list of U.S. airlines that enjoyed the most complaints last year.
It was compiled by the Department of Transportation, so one assumes it's all-encompassing.
Let's start with the glorious news.
The airline that got fewest customer complaints was Southwest.
A mere 0.47 people per so-called emplanement were sufficiently unhappy as to make a noise about it.
I was one of them, after a terrible experience with Southwest.
It is, of course, heartening to know that I'm apparently in a minority.
SkyWest and Alaska are very close behind. It seems that they manage to keep their passengers cheery in the worst of times.
Oh, but let's drift toward the bottom.
United Airlines is, it seems, slightly less of a drag than public-facing events might suggest.
It comes in 8th of the 12 major U.S. carriers.
Virgin America is below it in 9th place.
American is even further down, with only two airlines suffering a worse complaint rate.
So who's at the bottom?
In 11th. is Frontier, with 2.78 complaints per 100,000.
That begins to represent the gulf between the carriers that generally satisfy and those that don't.
Frontier had almost 6 times the rate of complaints of Southwest.
Yet there was one airline that enjoyed around twice the complaint rate of Frontier.
That airline is fellow budget operator Spirit.
I contacted Spirit for its reaction and will update, should I hear.
The airline has tried to make considerable efforts to become perceived as slightly more pleasant than some might have it.
It's curtailed some of its worst habits, such as charging members of the military baggage fees (really).
Once, Spirit was the least likely to get you to your destination on time. Now, it's improving a little.
Yet these things can take time to be seen by the outside world.
Perhaps 2018 will reveal a different Spirit and a diminution of complaints.
What should Spirit aim for? American Airlines-level of complaints? That would be a start.