Full flights, small seats make passengers grumpy

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Associated Press

Posted on April 8, 2013 at 12:00 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Private researchers who have analyzed federal data on airline performance say passengers are getting grumpier, and with good reason.

Carriers keep shrinking the size of seats in order to stuff more people into planes. Empty middle seats that might provide a little more room have vanished. And more people who have bought tickets are being turned away because flights are overbooked.

A report being released Monday says consumer complaints to the Transportation Department surged 20 percent last year even though airlines have been doing a better job by other measures, like on-time arrivals and mishandled baggage.

Dean Headley, a business professor at Wichita State University who has co-written the annual report for 23 years, says the airlines are approaching a point of diminishing returns for their practices.

Some use of larger planes hasn't been enough to make up for an overall reduction in flights.

Sound:

%@AP Links

242-a-12-(Dean Headley, co-author of the annual national Airline Quality Rating, in AP interview)-"again this year"-Airline Quality Rating co-author Dean Headley says this year's survey found airlines did better in some key areas but worse in others. ((cut in wrap)) (7 Apr 2013)

<<CUT *242 (04/07/13)>> 00:12 "again this year"

243-a-11-(Dean Headley, co-author of the annual national Airline Quality Rating, in AP interview)-"want to go"-Airline Quality Rating co-author Dean Headley says the biggest customer complaints are unplanned schedule changes and bumping, which is a big inconvenience. (7 Apr 2013)

<<CUT *243 (04/07/13)>> 00:11 "want to go"

241-w-37-(David Melendy, AP correspondent, with Dean Headley, co-author of the annual national Airline Quality Rating)--Airline passengers had more complaints last year. AP correspondent David Melendy looks at the annual Airline Quality Rating. (7 Apr 2013)

<<CUT *241 (04/07/13)>> 00:37

245-a-10-(Dean Headley, co-author of the annual national Airline Quality Rating, in AP interview)-"do this better"-Airline Quality Rating co-author Dean Headley says some airlines have shown they don't have to bump so many passengers. (7 Apr 2013)

<<CUT *245 (04/07/13)>> 00:10 "do this better"

244-a-14-(Dean Headley, co-author of the annual national Airline Quality Rating, in AP interview)-"little bit better"-Airline Quality Rating co-author Dean Headley says airline performance has generally improved over the past five or six years. ((longer version of cut in wrap)) (7 Apr 2013)

<<CUT *244 (04/07/13)>> 00:14 "little bit better"

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