What’s Behind American’s Falling Customer Satisfaction Scores?

American Airlines

American has made major investments in premium services, including on-demand dining for long-haul first class passengers. But the airline is concerned with at least one customer satisfaction metric. American Airlines

Skift Take: Many airline executives believe the most important driver of customer satisfaction is reliability. American Airlines hasn’t been pleased with its customer satisfaction scores, so it is trying to improve the basics of its operation. That’s probably the right move. But does it also need to improve its product or brand image?

— Brian Sumers

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United Makes Live TV and Movies Free on Some Flights

Patrick T. Fallon / Bloomberg

The silhouettes of travelers are seen as a United Continental Holdings Inc. plane takes off from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) in Phoenix, Arizona. Patrick T. Fallon / Bloomberg

Skift Take: The change is a smart way to improve the airline’s customer service, which has taken a few hits over the past couple years. Plus, it’s just in time for the Super Bowl.

— Isaac Carey

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U.S. Shutdown May Have Done Lasting Damage to Air Traffic Control

Alan Levin / Bloomberg

The 35-day partial government shutdown could spur early retirements among the already thin ranks of air-traffic controllers and may postpone adoption of critical satellite-based aircraft navigation, a union official warned. Alan Levin / Bloomberg

Skift Take: Who knew air travel would be such a pressure point in the battle over government funding? Airport staffing issues probably played a role in the decision to temporarily reopen the government, but was it too little too late?

— Isaac Carey

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Tourism in Iceland Might Drop This Year as Airlines Can’t Keep Up

Ragnhildur Sigurdardottir / Bloomberg

Iceland’s tourism industry is forecasting a first drop in visitors in a decade amid trouble at its airlines. But market operators say the predicted slowdown in the country’s biggest export market is not as severe as some had feared. Ragnhildur Sigurdardottir / Bloomberg

Skift Take: This isn’t such a bad thing for Iceland, which has started to feel the strain of overtourism. Plus, even with the decline, the small country still expects to see millions of tourists.

— Isaac Carey

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Why the Philippines Risks Losing Out on Asia’s Gaming Boom

Solaire Casino, one of the country’s biggest casinos at suburban Pasay city south of Manila, Philippines. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez.

Skift Take: Casinos are a tourism magnet and stricter rules to safeguard locals from gambling, and to keep other gambling ills at bay, are better than a complete ban. Look to Singapore as a good Asian example.

— Raini Hamdi

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Travel Association Forms Myanmar Chapter But Will the Government Benefit?

Yoshitaka Ando / Flickr

A market in Yangon, Myanmar. ASTA has formed a chapter to promote Myanmar tourism. Yoshitaka Ando / Flickr

Skift Take: ASTA’s new Myanmar chapter and planned partnership with Myanmar tourism will give travel advisors new opportunities to learn about an emerging destination. However, it also raises ethical concerns about supporting a country that engages in ethnic cleansing.

— Maria Lenhart

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