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Customer Satisfaction in Aviation Industry Reaches New Heights

by amit.uniyal 21. May 2014 09:25

It seems that customers aren’t complaining about the airlines - at least, not as much. As per a recent survey conducted in the North American aviation industry by J.D. Power and Associates stated that travelers have never been more satisfied by the airlines they are flying in.

It may be hard to believe but the fact stays that passengers are happier with their respective airline providers despite innumerable charges and fluctuating ticket prices. The survey judged passenger satisfaction level on the basis of in-flight services; costs and fees; reservations; check-in; boarding, flight crew, aircraft, de-boarding and baggage. The survey was conducted on over 11,000 passengers who flew in the North American region in 2013.

1000 point passenger satisfaction attained 712 points

On a scale of 1000-point passenger satisfaction attained 712 points, an increase of 17 points on y-o-y basis. The most interesting finding of the survey was that passengers were happy with the cost and fees levied by the airline. The scores improved to 642 from last year’s 618. As per a market expert, it is not that passengers are happy with the ongoing price rise of airfares and other services, but just that they have accepted this as a reality of air travel making them a little less dissatisfied.

The survey also reflected that customers are satisfied with some parts of their air travel; however uncomfortable seating was their biggest point of concern. They particularly disliked seats with less leg room, elbow space and seats that are not that comfy.

As far as baggage charges were concerned the satisfaction level rose from 37 to 40 percent in 2013. They know that they do not have a way out as far as baggage fees is concerned hence they have accepted this harsh reality.

Seattle based Alaska Airlines topped the satisfaction score with 737 amongst traditional North American carriers, making it seven in a row for the airline. Its scores increased by 20 points as compared to 2012. Delta Air Lines received second highest satisfaction score of 693 points followed by American Airlines (684), Air Canada (683), United Airlines (658) and US Airways (656).

In the low-cost carrier section JetBlue scored the highest with a score of 789. This was its tenth consecutive victory. By topping the survey, it indicated that passengers preferred an airline that offered live TV on flights, creating an important divergence in their overall flying experience. Southwest Airlines came second with 778 points followed by WestJet with 734, Air Tran Airways with 708 and Frontier Airlines with 676 points.

Alaska got another feather in its cap by receiving first rank in the quality and usability of airline frequent flier programs category with 757 points on a 1,000-point scale. Southwest Airlines followed second (731 points) with its Rapid Rewards program. This was followed by JetBlue’s TrueBlue program (707), United Airlines (686), American Airlines (685) and US Airways (642). Loyalty/rewards survey was based on factors including reward program terms; variety of benefits available; ease of redeeming points or miles; customer service; ease of earning points or miles and account maintenance.

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Industry News

Oneworld Open to Consider Indian Carrier as Member

by amit.uniyal 9. May 2014 04:59

Oneworld, global airlines group said that it is open to consider an Indian carrier as part of the alliance group, provided the airline offers expected service standards and complements its present member airlines. Kingfisher was the only airline from the India to be a part of this group, which at present is nonfunctional due to financial reasons.

global airlines group

Bruce Ashby, CEO Oneworld said, we will definitely consider an Indian carrier provided it meets the same standards as Kingfisher did. However we haven’t had any serious discussion with any Indian carrier, since the Kingfisher fiasco occurred. We are very clear when it comes to adding a new airline to our group. Service standards cannot be compromised at any cost. Also the new airline has to complement fellow airline members.

Ashby said, Oneworld does not have any Indian carrier under its wings, but it marks its presence in India with the help of members' airlines like Sri Lankan Airlines and Qatar Airways.

India is primarily serviced by low-cost carriers. To be a part of this alliance, LCCs will have to attain higher levels by upgrading themselves. He quoted the example of airberlin, Germany’s budget carrier, which became its member in 2012, after adapting new technology and changing its business model.

Oneworld, SkyTeam and Star Alliance are three airlines groupings in the world. There are 15 members in Oneworld, 19 in SkyTeam and 26 in Star Alliance, making it the largest amongst the three.

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Airline News

SriLankan Airlines Joins Oneworld

by amit.uniyal 5. May 2014 09:45

National carrier of Sri Lanka, SriLankan Airlines has become a member of oneworld. The airline will now offer complete range of services and benefits of oneworld. With this it has become the first South Asian carrier to join the global alliance.

SriLankan Airlines now the 15th international airline to be a part of the oneworld alliance will now rub shoulders with the likes of Cathay Pacific, British Airways, American Airlines and more, giving it admittance to hundreds of airports and smother connectivity to thousands of destinations worldwide. With this alliance, the airline will gain access to a combined fleet of nearly 3,300 aircrafts and expand its reach to nearly 900 destinations in 150 countries from its present 72. The airline also announced its codeshare with S7 Airlines and Finnair, both being oneworld partners.

SriLankan Arlines

Kapila Chandrasena, CEO, SriLankan Airlines said our addition to oneworld as the first South Asian airline directly implies flying to not just Sri Lanka but to other regions like Maldives and India will also become easier and smoother. With this alliance two more destinations namely Hambantota, Southern Sri Lanka and Tiruchirapalli, South India are being added to the alliance network. He further said that we are planning to fly to few more Indian cities, and we are working on the economics for the same.

Bruce Ashby, CEO of Oneworld said, by adding Sri Lankan Airlines to our alliance group we have successfully completed our biggest ever expansion done since our inception. At present we cater to nearly 500 million passengers and 14,250 departures on a daily basis.

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Airline News

Jet Airways to offer mobile check-in service to passengers

by amit.uniyal 2. May 2014 08:56

Travelers flying on Jet Airways and its codeshare airlines will now be able to make use of their phones to check-in and get e-boarding passes. Jet Airways is offering a self check-in application for mobile devices. This application can be downloaded on smart phones running on iOS, Android, BlackBerry 10 and Windows.

Offering a plethora of enhanced features like interactive seat map, unique system recognizing check-in members and convenient check-in for code-share and interline flights and more, this mobile app will allow users to smoothly log in to the official website of the airline. Through this app users whether traveling with an infant of child or traveling in a group on a single PNR will be able to check-in with ease. Guests will also be able to update their frequent flyer number and add their meal choice preference ahead of their flight.

phones to check-in

Interactive seat map is another big change offered in this app. Passengers will now be able to view the complete seat-layout including non-reclining seats, companion seats and emergency exit seats through their mobiles devices. Once the user has been able check-in successfully, he/she will receive their e-Boarding Pass on their e-mail id. User can then either print the e-boarding pass or save a copy in their gadget for future use.

Senior Vice President – Commercial for Jet Airways, Gaurang Shetty commented, as far as technological advancements are concerned we have always been a leader in the industry. Bringing innovative products for the betterment and convenience of our users, is our utmost goal and by introducing this mobile app, we have taken one more step ahead towards this goal. We are committed towards using technology to offer better user experience. This all new self check-in service will make travel easy, quick and will provide a higher level of convenience to our users.

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United Introduces New Mobile App for Android Users

by amit.uniyal 1. May 2014 10:55

United Airlines has finally introduced a new Android based mobile application for its users. This application is also being optimized for KitKat, the latest Android operating system.

United said that this new application is user-friendly, offers bettered touch-friendly layout, smoother functionality and new features. Some of the new features introduced include ability to rotate the screen, save more than one boarding pass and more. This app also employs a new home screen widget. This android app is launched on the heels of United’s re-designed mobile app for iOS 7 platform. The latest version of iOS 7 app was introduced only last year.

introduced a new Android based mobile 
application

Just like in iOS 7, the android version will also allow users to views the seating layout more clearly, pick more travel choices and buy award tickets on more than one flight.

Scott Wilson, United's vice president of merchandising and ecommerce, said that it’s our endeavor to extend a mobile app that helps passengers find what they want and when they want. We are striving hard towards providing such an application that ensures seamless and quicker travel experience. In 2013, United had also launched Windows Phone 8 based mobile app. And by the end of 2014, we will introduce the upgraded version of the iOS 7 app.

United Airlines is the first American carrier to offer mobile boarding passes. Not only this, it also became the first U.S. airline to introduce mobile boarding at all the domestic airports. At present united offers mobile boarding facility at 55 international airports, which is more than any other U.S. carrier.

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Airline News

What do Business travelers look for when picking a hotel says survey

by amit.uniyal 30. April 2014 10:05

Choice Hotels International, looking into the preferences and practices of business travelers commissioned a survey recently. Survey was done to find the parameters on the basis of which business travelers book their hotels. A total of 529 travelers participated in the survey.

As per the survey, the location of the hotel was the utmost important thing for business travelers. 73% said that their main criterion of picking a hotel on their business trip is its location. They want their hotel to be centrally located and accessible.

business travelers commissioned

The next on their priority was the room quality. 61% travelers said it is critical for them to check the quality of the hotel they are staying in. Availability of Wi-Fi came third with 55% in favor of it. As per Choice Hotels' senior vice president of global distribution, Robert McDowell, internet connectivity has become a crucial amenity for business travelers. Most of them carry more than one gadget with them and are in dire need to be connected all the time.

The survey also revealed an interesting fact, that most of the travelers prefer working in their own rooms. This is contrary to the fact that most of hotels across the globe are spending millions of dollars in decking up their common and business areas. Nearly 84% said that they would choose to work in their own comfort zone, sitting in their room and not in the business center or the lobby area of the hotel.

The survey also stated that more and more travelers are using their tablets, phablets and smart phones to book their hotels. Nearly 76% hotels are being booked online. Not only this, 60% travelers are even using technology to check-in into the hotels. Understanding the ongoing surge of mobile apps, Choice Hotels has launched an app allowing travelers to book hotels in three simple clicks. Since more and more hotels are booked last minute, hence they have made an easy to use and navigate application, enabling travelers to book their hotel in a jiffy.

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Airline News

Las Vegas gets a bigger version of London Eye twin

by amit.uniyal 28. April 2014 11:30

Las Vegas is a city that needs no introduction. The gambling capital of the United States is a city that entices travelers from different parts of the world. Known for its fun ways and carefree environment, it is one of the favorite destinations of holidaymakers in the country. There is no dearth of casinos in the city, which play a pivotal role in attracting travelers, let us say that there is an addition to its list of interesting items.

largest observation 
wheel

The city known for its exuberant price and grand attractions is now a proud owner of The High Roller. The High Roller is a bigger version of the world-famous London Eye. It opened last month in the LINQ neighborhood of the city. Tipped as the world’s largest observation wheel, The High Roller has been garnering both eyeballs and attention in large numbers. This new attraction has added a unique flavor to the open air shopping, entertaining, and dining area in this part of the city. Everyone around seems to be smitten by the wheel’s glory and is talking about it.

While the city and the locals are happy with their new item, it has drawn stark comparisons to London Eye. The 168-meter high wheel however, beats the London Eye hands down. This giant wheel has 28 pods in all, which can accommodate 40 people in one go. The youngsters in the city are also looking upon this interesting feature as a perfect party spot. Interestingly, the management is encouraging all to come and enjoy their drinking sprees on the wheel that will certainly make it a hotspot for the young crowds in the coming times.

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travel guide

Technology makes air travel easier for mobile phone users

by amit.uniyal 25. April 2014 07:42

Information Technology is working wonders for air travelers and making their travel much easier than ever before. Leading IT provider company SITA has recently upgraded its application iTravel. This has come as a boon for tech-savvy passengers traveling with mobile phones. Nearly 120 airlines as well as ground handlers are currently making use of iTravel to provide services to the passengers.

The iTravel service is proving to be a tremendous success for the airlines. It has allowed numerous carriers to implement passenger booking and check-in apps for Android as well as Apple phones.  The airlines have also implemented a web app for mobile usage on other devices with the help of this technology.

smart phone technology

The iTravel service has incorporated the latest user interfaces using the smart phone technology to its full advantage for providing better service and convenience to the passengers.  

The iTravel service provides some essential features. The interactive user interface is quite attractive for the passengers. They are being offered relevant deals according to their current location. The iTravel is helping the airlines to use geo-location and flight search while making successful use of graphical maps. Four airlines are currently making use of the latest updates provided by iTravel. The airlines have also reported that passengers are increasingly using their mobile services after the implementation of iTravel.

SITA Vice President for Passenger Solutions Allison O’Neill remarked that it is being witnessed that passengers are increasingly desirous to make use of their mobile phones during the course of their journey. Nearly 76 percent passengers are now traveling with smartphones. However, using mobile phones for booking and check-in continues to be below 5 percent. He said that iTravel will address this issue and will be user friendly as much possible.

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Airline News

Experiencing Bamboo River Rafting Adventure in Jamaica

by amit.uniyal 24. April 2014 08:56

Ever had a river raft experience! If not, then head to Jamaica right away to enjoy Bamboo River Rafting adventure in Montego Bay. This is absolutely the best place in the Caribbean nation to experience river rafting of a unique kind.

Climbing aboard a 30-foot bamboo raft is an awesome feeling in itself. This is indeed a thrilling experience for those experiencing it for the first time or who are frequent river rafting enthusiasts. An experienced raft captain will be at hand for you so that you can completely relax and enjoy your river rafting experience. Your captain will cruise down the beautiful jade-green shimmering waters of River Martha Brae. Enjoy the thrills of seeing the wildlife and natural beauty surrounding you on this real Jamaican tour.

jade-green shimmering waters of River Martha Brae

The wildlife in this area is not dangerous at all. So, you needn’t worry on this count. Just relax and get pleasurable moments see the flowers and trees. The sight of exotic birds, the pecking woodpeckers, and the gurgle of the river flowing along, is music to the ears and pleasant indeed.

Bamboo River Rafting adventure is simply fascinating. The brightly colored birds on the towering trees are sheer delight to watch while meandering on River Martha Brae. The refreshing breeze exudes a romantic aura around you while you blissfully coast down the 3-mile river.

If you are boarding the bamboo raft for the first time, you shouldn’t worry. At first sight the raft might look unstable, but seeing them well-balanced would seem instantly surprising to you. You can unhesitatingly and quite easily get on and off the raft. The well-padded seats offer a comfortable cruise. If you don’t have swimming experience, you can still enjoy the adventure and enjoy the ride. As a precautionary measure, the visitors are also provided with life vests. However, you won’t need them throughout your trip.

During most parts of the year you will discover that the river is only 4 feet deep. You can just relax. However, during rainy season the depth of the river goes around to 12 feet. You can always seek the help of your raft captain, who is quite knowledgeable about the river as well as the surrounding area. You can seek information from him and enhance your own knowledge. You are sure to find Bamboo River Rafting a memorable experience.

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travel guide

Hawaiian Jetstar expanding flights to-from Honolulu this year

by amit.uniyal 22. April 2014 09:51

Air travel to/from Honolulu is set to become more easy in 2014 with flight operations expanding at a fast pace. Various airlines such as Hawaiian Airlines, Mokulele Airlines and Jetstar have expanded their operations.

Media reports recently said that Hawaiian Airlines has decided to increase its frequencies to American Samoa this summer. The third weekly flight between Pago Pago and Honolulu will start from June 18. The flights are being started considering the growing passenger demand. The seasonal flight will operate on Wednesdays every week and will be operational for one month only until July 16.

Hawaiian flights

Presently, the service on Pago Pago-Honolulu route is operating on Mondays and Fridays. The flights between the two destinations are being operated with the help of a Boeing 767-300 aircraft with a 264-seat capacity.

Hawaiian Airlines also launched its first ever flights services to mainland China. The new flight was launched in mid April this year. The flights will operate between Honolulu and Beijing thrice weekly with the help of an Airbus A330-200 aircraft configured with 294 seats. The flights on Honolulu-Beijing route will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays every week.

Australian low-cost carrier Jetstar has also announced to launch nonstop flights between Brisbane and Honolulu starting from December 15, 2014. The airline will be operating thrice weekly flights during peak season, while twice weekly flights will be operated during off-peak season.

After the exit of inter island airline go! from Hawaii, another carrier Mokulele Airlines has decided to launch nonstop inter-island flights between Honolulu and Maui. The airline will be initially serving the two destinations in Hawaii twice daily. The airline also plans to increase the frequencies to five times daily in future.

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