Airline passengers hate waiting, survey confirms

Tom Petty had it right: The waiting is the hardest part.

Among the key findings in this year’s J.D. Power airline satisfaction report were numbers that show satisfaction levels among travelers drop sharply when they are forced to wait for boarding passes and luggage.

The annual study that surveyed 11,370 travelers who flew in the previous 12 months found that satisfaction with an airline was 41 points lower if the flier had to wait 15 minutes or longer to get a boarding pass, compared with those who waited less than 15 minutes. The study measured satisfaction on a 1,000-point scale.

The same survey found that satisfaction levels also dropped 41 points for passengers who had to wait more than 15 minutes to get their checked bag.

And if an airline lost or misplaced a checked bag, satisfaction levels dropped even further, 51 points, compared with travelers who got all of their bags on arrival, the study found.

“A 40-point index shift is huge,” said Rick Garlick, global travel and hospitality practice lead for J.D. Power. “That represents dissatisfaction among people.”