International airline satisfaction survey
CHOICE’s recent survey of nearly 3500 respondents who had flown on international flights in the past three years indicates that convenient flight schedules, a good standard of service and value for money are the top reasons for selecting an airline. With the Australian debut in July of Delta Air Lines, which has negotiated an interline agreement with Virgin Blue’s trans-Pacific offshoot, V Australia, a price war will be waged between the newcomers and established carriers Qantas, United Airlines and Air New Zealand.
At the time of our last survey of international travellers, budget airlines Jetstar and Virgin Blue were new carriers on the international scene, but both have since intensified competition on the limited routes they fly. While no-frills budget airlines are usually good value for shorter domestic getaways, they’re not as appealing for international flights, when a better menu, seat comfort, service and in-flight entertainment help relieve the tedium and discomfort of long hours in the air.
Nevertheless, Jetstar and Virgin Blue are now significant players in the current international market; our survey reveals that over the past three years, about 5% of respondents chose Jetstar economy for their international flights and 3% chose Virgin Blue.
See the results of our domestic airline survey.
Using the table
Respondents were asked why they chose the international airline they last flew with and were given a list of reasons from which they chose all that applied. The table shows percentages of respondents who chose each option. The fi gures in square brackets are 2007 survey results. The breakdown comprises: Economy: 74%; Premium economy: 3%; Business: 21%; First class: 2%
* Best flIght schedules was not included in the 2007 survey.
(A) Jetstar and Virgin Blue were not included in the 2007 survey results because of their small sample sizes.
Choosing the carrier
Although a high standard of service and value for money are still key determinants of which international airline consumers choose, our survey found travellers also give precedence to carriers with the most convenient flight schedules. This option was not offered in our 2007 survey, but has 36% of the respondents flagging it as a common reason for selecting an airline in this recent survey.
Frequent flyer points is also an important reason for choosing an airline, as a relatively high percentage of respondents who flew with Qantas did so because of its frequent flyer program (60%). Respondents also chose to fly with Qantas because of its good standard of service (33%) and safety record, although on both counts, they've lost major ground since the 2007 survey.