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Abstract

Customer perceptions of Ryanair and Southwest were evaluated to compare two data periods; 2012-13 and 2016-17 to determine differences in passenger perceptions between and within airlines. Quantitative data and open area comments were analyzed. A replication of a previous study for 2016-17 data indicated that customer perceptions of Ryanair improved since the implementation of a customer service program. Survey results indicated Ryanair and Southwest did not have statistically significant differences in overall ratings; a change from 2012-13 data where Southwest was rated significantly higher. Additionally, 2016-17 Ryanair customers indicated they would recommend the airline at a significantly higher rate than Southwest customers. A comparison within each airline’s data between the 2012-13 and 2016-17 collection periods indicated a significant perceived improvement of Ryanair’s customer service in the areas of seat comfort and whether they would recommend the airline to others. Southwest’s customer perceptions between 2012-13 and 2016-17 showed significant declines in overall ranking, seat comfort, value and whether they would recommend the airline. Recommendations for further research include a replication of this study comparing 2016-17 data with 2021-22 data to determine how well each airline has adapted to the Coronavirus.

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