NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Results of the most recent American Consumer Satisfaction Index indicate, unsurprisingly, that our tolerance for airlines is plummeting.
According to the index, our satisfaction with airlines dropped by 1.5% this year, with the industry posting a subpar score of 65 out of 100. The highest rated industry, Express Delivery Services, which includes UPS, FedEx or the beleaguered U.S. Postal Service, received a score of 84.
The major airlines were largely responsible for the overall downturn. Both Continental (Stock Quote: CAL) and Delta (Stock Quote: DAL) saw their scores plunge by 10%, posting a 64 and 56 respectively. Only discount carrier Southwest Airlines (Stock Quote: LUV) posted a respectable score of 81, leading the category as it has for the past 18 years.
The ACSI cites poor service, higher fuel prices and fees for baggage and other services as the major sources of discontent for travelers, but MainStreet suspects that the public’s growing intolerance for airline shenanigans runs even deeper than that, especially in light of some very high-profile recent events.
They keep adding outrageous fees.
Americans are now used to paying for checked baggage – though it doesn’t help that Delta and United-Continental raised some of their baggage fees this year – but what really hurts is when an airline introduces a fee for a less obvious reason.
During the past year, airlines have introduced a fee to lock in a low fare (Continental), a fee to recline a little bit more comfortably (Delta) and most recently, a fee to have an agent print out your boarding pass, courtesy of frequent fee offender Spirit Airlines (Stock Quote: SAVE).
Maybe they felt that the $3.4 billion in baggage fees they amassed in 2010 were not enough.