Airlines Struggle to Achieve Brand Loyalty

Despite the airline industry's best efforts to encourage brand loyalty and to convince passengers that paying for checked bags is logical, most Americans do not favor any specific airline. A new poll, conducted for TheStreet by GfK, took a look at consumer preferences when it comes to flying.

The survey found that:

  • 63% of Americans do not have an airline they prefer to fly and only 5% consider getting frequent flier miles to be the most important consideration when selecting a flight.
  • When it comes to what annoys consumers the most, 73% are annoyed by high ticket costs, 70% find bag fees to be annoying, 68% are annoyed by cancelled or delayed flights, 64% are annoyed by uncomfortable seats, 63% are annoyed by rude staff, 56% are annoyed by charging for snacks and 48% are annoyed by closing the gate early.
  • When selecting a ticket, outside of price, consumers say non-​stop service is the  most important consideration, which was cited by 28% of respondents; followed by time of departure, with 20% saying this is the most important; airline's reputation, with 15% and frequency of service, with 11%. Of the options, fewer see getting frequent flier miles as the most important consideration, cited by just 5%.
  • Asked whether they had ever complained to an airline, 23% of respondents said they had. Of those, 60% said they were satisfied with the response.

"The airline industry believes that bag fees are immensely logical and that airlines are able to build customer loyalty, but our new poll shows that most Americans still hate bag fees and feel little loyalty to individual airlines," said Ted Reed, TheStreet's Transportation Reporter.

On the other hand, interest in frequent flyer programs remains high. About 14% of U.S. adults participate in a frequent flyer program, according to AudienceSCAN. 74% of these consumers have household income of over $50,000. Members of frequent flyer programs are significantly more likely than average to travel across the U.S.  In the last 30 days,  32% of frequent flyers took action as a result of a daily deal.

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the Audience Intelligence Reports in AdMall.

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.