Although the tourism industry is slowly returning as pandemic concerns begin to fade, the effects of the coronavirus on domestic air travel in the United States will have a lasting impact in the coming years.
Airlines faced many challenges in 2020, forcing them to adapt to a “new norm”, although some managed to withstand the storm better than others.
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The number 1
Complaints increased by nearly 400% from 2019 to 2020, with nearly 83% of complaints focusing on reimbursement issues for unused travel, compared to just 6% in 2019, researchers Dean Hadley and Brent Bowen found. .
“Airlines have had a major challenge in working on reimbursement issues submitted by canceled travel plans, but most have been able to respond and allay customer concerns in a timely manner,” Hadley said.
Southwest ranks best among other airlines in terms of complaints, with the lowest rate of consumer complaints, at 2.64 per 100,000 passengers. However, Frontier is ranked worst, at a rate of 49.30 per 100,000 passengers.
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Overall, the airline saw a drastic increase in complaints, jumping from 1.06 in 2019 to 11.75 per 100,000 passengers in 2020.
Other issues, including timely execution, inadvertently denied boarding and improperly handled luggage, were not so severely affected by the pandemic.
“If you traveled by air in 2020, chances are you did well on the airline,” said Hadley, an honorary associate professor of marketing at W. Frank Barton’s School of Business at Wichita State University. “Better on-time performance, fewer improperly handled bags and very few denied boardings could all be expected with far fewer people flying in the system.”
The almost 60% reduction in passenger travel as a result of the pandemic played a significant role in the AQR results, allowing airlines to make improvements in key areas.
Paid passengers saw a dramatic loss in March 2020, which continued to decline for the rest of the year. The total number of domestic passengers in 2020 is less than 40% of the number of passengers in 2019.
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Fewer passengers have given airlines more time and flexibility to improve efficiency areas that were previously worse in previous years.
Southwest was the only airline to maintain an almost equal result for 2020 compared to 2019. The other nine saw the opposite, with their results deteriorating by 40% to as much as 800% from 2019.
Hawaiian Airlines ranked best for performance in time in 2020 with an arrival rate of 88%. Allegiant was the worst in terms of performance on time, just over 71%.
The overall rate of a timely airline in 2020 was almost 84% compared to 79% in 2019.
In addition, denied uploads also improved. Frontier had the highest rate of involuntary denied boarding – 0.24 per 10,000 passengers. Allegiant, Delta, Hawaiian and JetBlue had the lowest speeds of 0 per 10,000 passengers.
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Seven airlines improved their boarding rate, with Allegiant improving the most. However, three airlines did not see a difference in the percentage of denied boardings in 2020 compared to 2019. Overall, productivity in the industry was significantly better in 2020 at a rate of 0.8 per 10,000 passengers compared to 2019. where it was 0.19.
Allegiant, meanwhile, had the best baggage handling, with 1.48 unprocessed bags per 1,000 checked baggage, while the American had the worst with 6.38 improperly processed bags per 1,000 checked baggage.
The aviation industry has improved overall with its percentage of improperly handled baggage, declining from 5.57 per 1,000 checked baggage in 2019 to 3.96 per 1,000 in 2020.
Despite the failures in 2020, the airline seems to be returning slowly. The volume of air travel began to return – more than 1 million passengers passed through TSA airports every day in April 2021.
“At the rate at which people are returning to the airways, demand doesn’t seem to be a problem,” Hadley said. “I am confident that the airlines will do their utmost to prepare the domestic and international air travel system to serve passengers,” he continued.
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Still, it will probably take several years for the industry to return to normal before the pandemic.
“[The] the traveling public is eager to fly again “according to Bowen.” Consumers have renewed confidence in air transport and are putting into action the plans they made during the pandemic. The industry is seeing a solid return on passenger volume. “
These are the overall rankings for 2020 of the 10 largest airlines in the country based on the findings of the report, with the ranking from the previous year in parentheses:
- Southwest Airlines (3)
- Allegiant Air (1)
- Delta Air Lines (4)
- Alaska Airlines (5)
- Spirit Airlines (8)
- JetBlue Airways (6)
- American Airlines (10)
- United Airlines (9)
- Hawaiian Airlines (2)
- Frontier Airlines (7)