Airline preference and choice factors in the South African domestic passenger market : an exploratory study.
For airlines to deliver quality services, they must understand customers’ expectations. However, the variations of airline service attribute lists in the available literature suggests a lack of consensus among industry players (airline managers, travel agency managers and airline customers) regarding what constitutes a quality airline service. From a marketing concept point of view, the customer's perspective should inform the design and delivery of airline services. Based on this view, this paper seeks to identify the most important airline service attributes that influence airline preference and choice. A survey is conducted using a questionnaire with fifty-five airline service items. Respondents are asked to rate the importance of these items on a five-point Likert scale. Collected data are subjected to an exploratory factor analysis, which retains ten latent factors as airline service attributes. The ten airline service attributes are then ranked using the mean scores and Airline reliability; Booking and check-in services; Staff courtesy, competence and responsiveness; Luggage handling and Cabin features and experiences were identified as the five most important attributes. The results suggest that airlines need to pay attention and channel resources to these attributes in order to meet customer expectations.