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Voice of the Customer: Newsweek Blog Scopes Out Readers on Best, Worst Airlines

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With this post, I begin a two-part mashup in order to make some points about leadership, employee relations, and service culture within the airline industry. I’ve touched upon this before, but my take on it this time introduces some new material; i.e., the observations of customers of two airlines (Southwest and United) in a recent Newsweek blog piece. This is part 1; let’s get started:

Last week, Newsweek’s Budget Travel blog invited its readers to weigh in with their perceptions of who the best and and worst airlines in the industry are. Have a look; there’s nothing scientific about the responses of course, but I thought it might be fun to quantify and summarize the results a bit, in a little “back-of-the-envelope” analysis that turned out to be pretty interesting.

As I write this, 166 Budget Travel readers have posted “Best/ Worst” nominations in comments on the blog; many nominated more than one airline in each category, and some drilled down further to make distinctions between domestic and international carriers. Most of the commenters clearly gave this some thought. I randomly sampled about a sixth of these comments and collected some tidbits to share:

The clear winner for “Best Airline” at the Budget Travel blog is Southwest Airlines. About 30% of commenters rated Southwest as “best” or in their top three. Fewer than 1 in 25 commenters rated it as “worst” or in their bottom three. jetBlue and Alaska Airlines came in second and third place (11% and 7%, respectively).

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