|by Sean O'Neill||1|
Customer satisfaction with the major airlines, especially United, has been tanking. The airline industry received a combined score of 63 out of 100 in a survey released today by the University of Michigan. That was a 3 percent drop to the lowest level in seven years--lower than even the IRS's score of 65 in customer satisfaction.
The survey asked consumers to rate their satisfaction with the services they buy in a variety of industries. About 20,000 consumers, including about 4,000 airline and hotel customers, were surveyed during the first three months of 2007. The top airline score: Southwest's 76. The second-place finisher was Continental at 69. Tied for third place were US Airways and Northwest; both received scores of 61.
The worst performer was United with a failing score of 56. Down 11 percent in its score from this time last year, United is not only the lowest scoring airline by a substantial margin but is also one of the lowest scoring of 200 companies in 40 industries. Read more about the American Customer Satisfaction Index by clicking here.
Baltimore finally clears the air. On New Year's Day 2008, the city bans smoking in bars, restaurants, and other public places, including taxicabs.
European cities--and some entire countries--are trying to kick the smoking habit, too. You can see which European countries have banned smoking by clicking here to see Budget Travel's map.