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Airline Customer Service

October 16, 2014 English for Aviation Executives, Listening, Reading No Comments

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TOPIC: GRADING AIRLINE SERVICE

LEVEL: EASY

Read the introductory text about the National Airline Quality Rating. Pay attention to the key criteria used to evaluate airline service performance.

 

The National Airline Quality Rating  – a joint research project shared by Wichita State University and Purdue University – shows that airline performance is steadily improving. The results of the research made public in April 2010 (read article)  were based on several performance criteria: on-time arrivals, involuntary denied boardings, mishandled baggage and a combination of 12 customer complaint categories, such as oversales, refunds, discriminations, handling of pets, etc.

The survey rated the performance of 17 airlines for the calendar year 2009. Both, legacy and low-budget carriers were evaluated. According to the published survey, all of the airlines considered in the research, with the exception of Alaska Airlines, improved their Airline Quality Rating scores compared to 2008. The overall industry score is also reportedly higher, with almost all of the airlines having improved on 3 of the 4 available categories: on-time arrivals, mishandled baggage and customer complaints.

While the researchers see this improvement as across-the-board, experts say that better industry-wide airline performance results are not very surprising and may be stemming from economic factors that have nothing to do with airlines simply trying harder.

"What has happened is that because there are fewer flights, fewer passengers, you know airlines have been able to lose fewer bags and arrive on time more often, and that's what's driving the numbers up," – says Сlaes Fornell, a professor of business at the University of Michigan and creator of the American Customer Satisfaction Index.

Read article

 

1. Watch the FoxNews analytical report

Click to watch video

and grade airlines according to their rankings this year

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

2. Answer the following questions:

1) Is it unusual that a low-cost airline would rate this high?

2) Why do people love discounters?

3) Why would airlines take your booking even if they didn’t have a spare seat?

4) Why is there a 25% decrease in checked baggage?

5) What has helped the gridlock at the airports?

3. How would you define the following words:

gridlock:

a) a board game where you have to fit various sized pieces on a grid;

b) a traffic jam so bad that no movement is possible;

c) a condition whereby trading activity ceases or becomes extremely constrained

to spearhead:

a) to lead or initiate,

b) the leading forces in a military thrust,

c) the pointed head of a spear

4. Review the following short scripts of some of the responses and fill in the gaps where necessary. Use these words:

 

(1)

- The price ……………………. are often the leaders in terms of service. If you look at the top 10, JetBlue is there, Southwest is there, Airtran…These are the airlines that usually ……………………….. the sales and discounts and people love them because they are ……………………… and give good service.

(2)

- In order to keep their costs low the airlines simply have fewer planes in the sky which has helped the………………………… at the airports.

There are fewer …………… as well. Because the baggage fees for checking your luggage are so ugly about 25% fewer passengers are checking their bags, which means there are fewer bags to lose.

5. Watch a CNBC news report at (Click to watch video) and decide whether the following statements are true or false. Correct the mistakes.

 

1)   The rate of mishandled bags has dropped by 18.2%

2)   On-Time performance is the only criterion that did not change its rate across the board

3)   The rate of complaints filed to DOT has dropped by 50% since 2000

4)   The rate of bumped passengers is down by 3%

6. Find definitions for the following, based on the video:

1)   to exclude a ticket-holding passenger from a flight as a result of overbooking

2) overcrowding, heap, excessive accumulation

3) tough, burdensome, demanding

 

 

7) Complete the following sentences by filling in the gaps:

 

 

1)   We had to do micro-crisis management due to a disgruntled customer who had been …………………. off a flight

2)   ………………………………at the airports leads to added pressure in the control towers and may result in tarmac delays

3)   As a successful airline they make sure they always ………………………. major innovations.

4)   Sorting out gridlock issues is………………… and can lead to unpredictable events.

Answers:

 

Question 1:

1st HAWAIIAN, 2nd AIRTRAN, 3rd JETBLUE, 4th NORTHWEST, 5th SOUTHWEST

2. Answer the following questions:

1) Is it unusual that a low-cost airline would rate this high? (Answer: no, low-budget airlines are often leaders in terms of service)

2) Why do people love discounters? (Answer: because they are well managed and give good service)

3) Why would airlines take your booking even if they didn’t have a spare seat? (Answer: because they want your business)

4) Why is there a 25% decrease in checked baggage? (Answer: because baggage fees have increased)

5) What has helped the gridlock at the airports? (Answer: the fact that there are fewer planes in the sky)

3. How would you define the following words:

gridlock:

a) a board game where you have to fit various sized pieces on a grid; b) a traffic jam so bad that no movement is possible;

c) a condition whereby trading activity ceases or becomes extremely constrained

to spearhead:

a) to lead or initiate,

b) the leading forces in a military thrust,

c) the pointed head of a spear

4. Review the following short scripts of some of the responses and fill in the gaps where necessary. Use these words:

 

(1)

- The price ……………………. (answer: leaders) are often the leaders in terms of service. If you look at the top 10, JetBlue is there, Southwest is there, Airtran…These are the airlines that usually ……………………….. (answer: spearhead) the sales and discounts and people love them because they are ………………………(answer: well managed) and give good service.

(2)

- In order to keep their costs low the airlines simply have fewer planes in the sky which has helped the…………………………(answer: gridlock) at the airports.

There are fewer ……………(answer: delays) as well. Because the baggage fees for checking your luggage are so ugly about 25% fewer passengers are checking their bags, which means there are fewer bags to lose.

5. Watch a CNBC news report at http://www.cnbc.com/id/15840232?video=1466598052 and decide whether the following statements are true or false. Correct the mistakes.

 

1)   The rate of mishandled bags has dropped by 18.2% (Answer: F – 18.7%)

2)   On-Time performance is the only criterion that did not change its rate across the board (Answer: F – it’s up by 3.4%)

3)   The rate of complaints filed to DOT has dropped by 50% since 2000 (Answer: T)

4)   The rate of bumped passengers is down by 3% (Answer: F – it’s up by 8.2%)

6. Find definitions for the following, based on the video:

1) to exclude a ticket-holding passenger from a flight as a result of overbooking (Answer: to bump or to deny boarding)

2) overcrowding, heap, excessive accumulation (Answer: congestion)

3) tough, burdensome, demanding (Answer: taxing)

 

7) Complete the following sentences by filling in the gaps:

 

 

7)   We had to do micro-crisis management due to a disgruntled customer who had been …………………. off a flight (Answer: bumped)

8)   ………………………………at the airports leads to added pressure in the control towers and may result in tarmac delays (Answer: congestion or gridlock)

9)   As a successful airline they make sure they always ………………………. (Answer: spearhead) major innovations.

10)      Sorting out gridlock issues is………………… (Answer: taxing) and can lead to unpredictable events.

Read a little more about Interesting Airline Brands!

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