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Managing expectations…

January 31st, 2014

Kinny Cheng


A study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology of complaints made to the U.S. Department of Transportation from 2002 to 2012 found passengers of low-cost upstarts tend to complain less even though the quality of service may be the same as more expensive airlines.

Regardless of the type of service failure — a bag lost in transit, a flight delayed or canceled, or an overbooked plane — passengers complained up to 10 times more often about network carriers than low-cost carriers, study author Michael Wittman, a graduate student in MIT’s International Center for Air Transportation, said.

This study simply confirms what we’ve always suspected — that products or services purchased on the premise of quality shares a relative scale with customer expectations, and that it has more to do with product positioning (and branding) than it does with the price ultimately paid.

So, even if both a low-cost carrier and a full-service carrier offered a fare of the same price, the latter has a distinct disadvantage where it is expected to fulfil a more stringent set of requirements.

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