Delivering excellent service quality in low cost aviation: A process perspective on the passenger market in Copenhagen Airport

Rasmus Lindstrøm Jensen

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis explores the concept of service quality and customer satisfaction with low cost airlines in Copenhagen Airport. By deploying a process perspective to the concept, the assessment will be focused on in-flight service quality and customer satisfaction from a passenger perspective. The objective of the thesis is to identify, conceptualize and evaluate the service dimensions which influence the passengers’ degree of in-flight satisfaction, in order to devise priorities for improvement. This is highly relevant for the management at low cost carriers and will provide valuable input to the future in-flight service strategy. Based on a profound literature review, it has been clarified which dimensions and pertaining attributes academic researchers have drawn on to describe and conceptualize service quality. An integrated model which measures the passenger gap between expected and perceived service is found suitable to evaluate perceived in-flight service quality and overall satisfaction. Furthermore, an importance-performance analysis is applied to identify priorities for improvement, which forms the managerial implications and future in-flight service proposition. The empirical contribution is anchored in a preliminary focus group interview with selected passengers to low cost carriers, as well as a self-administered questionnaire survey which the statistical data analysis relies on. Passengers to Norwegian Air Shuttle comprise the respondents in the questionnaire survey and form the basis of the study at hand. Findings in the thesis have proven that the passengers’ in-flight service perception comprehend 5 overall service dimensions; tangibles, reliability, empathy, assurance and responsiveness, each one encompassing a number of tailored in-flight service attributes. Based on the analysis the dimensions of reliability and assurance are considered important to the overall in-flight experience whereas the tangibles dimensions are perceived rather unimportant. However, the gap analysis shows that low cost carriers generally falls short in matching the expected in-flight service level among passengers, and significant gap differences is found between various passenger segments. Lastly, the importance-performance analysis has proven that the attributes of on-time departure, cleanliness and functionality of cabin facilities and promptness in request/complaint handling should be highly prioritized whereas attributes pertaining to the tangibles dimension are considered low priority elements. Based on the above results, a favorable in-flight service proposition is devised for low cost carriers which emphasize the notions of swiftness, tidiness and perceptiveness. Jointly the notions should guide the future tactical and strategic in-flight initiatives in order to obtain overall passenger satisfaction.

EducationsMSc in International Marketing and Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2009
Number of pages97