With airline service, ‘perception trumps reality’

More than 53 percent of frequent fliers say that air travel has gotten worse for them in the past year despite statistics showing the industry performing at its all-time best.

Purdue University airline expert Erin Bowen said passengers’ perception of their air travel experience has declined for four years, a period in which industry statistics have improved annually.

“Airlines are doing a poor job of conveying quality performance and improvements in areas such as on-time arrival rates to passengers,” said Bowen, a professor of technology leadership and innovation in the College of Technology. “Airlines like Southwest who push a service-oriented message continue to score highest in passenger friendliness for consumers.”