Customer complaints about airline service: A preliminary study of Turkish frequent flyers


Management Research News, vol.30, no.6, pp.409-419, 2007 (Scopus) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 30 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2007
  • Doi Number: 10.1108/01409170710751908
  • Journal Name: Management Research News
  • Journal Indexes: Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.409-419
  • Keywords: Airlines, Complaints, Consumers, Customers, Turkey
  • Anadolu University Affiliated: Yes


Purpose This paper aims to identify common complaints made by Turkish frequent flyers related to their program membership. Design/methodology/approach A questionnaire was administered via the internet for the research study reported here. The population consists of 15,000 passengers who are Elite members of the Frequent Flyer Program of Turkish Airlines (THY). For sampling purposes, 2,000 members were randomly selected from the Elite membership in February 2003. Following the survey, 608 usable questionnaires were included in the analysis stage, which represented a response rate of 30.4 per cent. Findings In the context of this study of the Elite members of the Miles&Miles program of THY, the common complaints of members fall into five categories. The main concerns are related to the availability of free tickets and upgrades of the flight class, the behaviour of personnel, card ownership issues (e.g. high number of miles needed to retain membership), level and type of priority services offered within the program and the lack of alliances with other airlines. Research limitations/implications The research is limited by the sample – THY is the only airline that provides a frequent flyer program in Turkey. Nevertheless, the findings provide a fresh perspective on the opinions of Turkish frequent flyers about the quality of their particular program. Originality/value Although customer complaints have become increasingly common in many industries, research on this aspect of marketing is not extensive. In particular, studies about the specific complaints of frequent flyers concerning their respective program are limited. This paper will be of interest to executives in Turkey, airline companies with operations in Turkey and researchers interested in international management and marketing practices generally. © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited