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Airline Ratings Just Got a Lot More Handy (and Reliable)

The Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) and TripIt from Concur will empower passengers to influence the product and service decisions airlines make—with the device in the palm of their hands.

Developed through a partnership between TripIt and the non-profit industry association, APEX, the new Official Airline Ratings program will gather feedback from passengers on their travel itineraries, via mobile app, and deliver an audited third-party analysis of the ratings. APEX will base its annual awards (given out during the associations’ annual EXPO) on these new ratings.

The APEX association includes representatives from most of the major airlines flying today as well as their suppliers. It focuses on analysis and improvements of every element of the air travel experience: from design, to manufacturing and installation of seating, to in-flight entertainment and communications, to airport lounges and inflight dining.

APEX: Making Air Travel Better

The mission of APEX is one of education and the exchange of ideas which make it easier for airlines to deliver better products and services to their passengers.

In addition to its annual APEX EXPO, the association also coordinates a number of events including dedicated regional meetings; Media Markets during which association members explore trends in entertainment content and digital applications; and APEX TECH meetings at which work groups of industry experts collaborate on solutions to the major technical challenges involved in the development of better in-flight products.

The association also delivers fresh content on trends and technology via its website, daily newsletter, and print magazine.

The new ratings platform is part of an effort for greater collaboration between the association and partners in the travel space, initiated under the leadership of APEX CEO Joe Leader.

Objective App-Based Ratings

TripIt from Concur is a travel app which instantly collects details and organises users’ travel itineraries. It is used by more than 13 million passengers around the world. As part of the new partnership, those passengers will have the option to rate their travel experience overall on the TripIt app as well as give specific ratings in five categories: seat comfort, cabin service, food and beverage, entertainment, and Wi-Fi. Ratings are measured on a five-star scale, and will remain anonymous. Results are tallied and reported on by a third-party auditor.

“Mobile apps serve as the number one source of engagement during travel and after a flight. With a strong base of more than 13 million travellers worldwide, TripIt is a service that helps passengers keep their travel plans organised regardless of the airline they fly, making it the perfect partner to help us launch the Official Airline Ratings program,” said Joe Leader. “APEX member airlines will be able to use the targeted, objective, and anonymous insights provided by the Official Airline Ratings to create an elevated personalised passenger experience.”

Jugdeep Bal, Concur’s senior director of business development for TripIt said, “By partnering with APEX to provide the airline industry with the information it needs to make meaningful decisions about the passenger experience, we’re also giving travellers a bigger say in those decisions.”

The initial ratings period for the Official Airline Ratings will open in the coming weeks and run through July 2017. Airlines receiving four and five star ratings will be announced at next year’s APEX EXPO in Long Beach, California in September of 2017. The association’s Passenger Choice Awards will also be based on these new Official Airline Ratings and given out during the EXPO next year to airlines for outstanding performance in cabin service, seat comfort, food and beverage, entertainment, and Wi-Fi. The association will also recognise airlines as “Best in Region,” and the top ranked airline in the world will receive a Best in Passenger Experience award.

In the past, I’ve vowed not to report on “best airlines or best airports” unless I could determine that the methodology used to reach those ratings was reliable. I will be reporting on these awards in future.

That these ratings will be based on feedback from a large set of travellers, each with verified itineraries, and the results audited by a third party, lends them credibility.

This approach should instil confidence in the ratings with the travelling public. Perhaps more importantly, it will encourage airlines to take these results more seriously, and make changes to improve their performance.

Featured Image: APEX CEO Joe Leader at 2016 APEX EXPO in Singapore.  © FCMedia 


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