Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Public Relations


Public Relations & Advertising


Ric Edelman College of Communication & Creative Arts


Sparks, Suzanne


Airlines--Public relations


Public Relations and Advertising


The goal of this study is to show that listening to customer concerns can improve the reputation of the airline industry. The results show through quantitative and qualitative research that the airlines are experiencing a decline in customer service and may be on the verge of a reputation crisis.

A content analysis of articles from The New York Times and USA Today was done to show the type of message the media is sending to the public. Results show that the media is reporting on the airline industry in a negative light. The media is warning that the decline in customer service, concerns for safety and security in the industry will cause massive regulation by the government.

A survey of 198 flyers revealed that 49.5 percent of the flying public believe the airlines do not consider their concerns a priority. The main concern of the 198 flyers surveyed was safety and cancelled flights. Sixty-two percent of the flyers surveyed said they would view the airline more positively if the airlines addressed these concerns. Seventy-seven percent said they believed it was very important to them that the airlines keep them informed of cancellations and delays, and 66 percent said it was very important that the airlines train personnel in customer service techniques.

By listening to the concerns of customers and the media and using public relations auditing techniques, the industry could avoid the impending regulation to its industry.