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Emirates leads international airline satisfaction, with Qantas just outside top five

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, September 2017 – August 2018, n = 3,739. September 2018 – August 2019, n= 3,470. Base: Australians aged 14+ who have used an international airline

New Roy Morgan customer satisfaction data shows Emirates is the winner of the International Airline of the Month Award for August 2019, with a customer satisfaction rating of 86%. Locally based airlines Qantas and Virgin Australia placed sixth and seventh, respectively.

Emirates was closely followed by Singapore Airlines (85%) and Qatar Airways and Air New Zealand (both 84%). The rest of the top 10 were more spread out, with Etihad Airways (81%) just pipping Qantas (80%), and Virgin Australia (76%), Thai Airways (75%), Cathay Pacific (74%) and Malaysia Airlines (69%) filling out the rest of the field.

These new ratings have been drawn from the Roy Morgan Single Source survey, derived from in-depth face-to-face interviews with over 50,000 Australians each year in their homes.

Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine says the frequency with which Australians head overseas makes them very discerning in weighing one airline against another: “Australians have a well-earned reputation as keen travellers, with communities of expats all over the world, so customer satisfaction ratings from Australians are a valuable indicator on the overall performance of an airline.”

Levine points out that airlines face particular challenges when it comes to satisfying customers, because “many of the negative experiences that customers endure, such as delayed flights, are outside of their control. So, Emirates’ satisfaction rating of 86% is an impressive result when compared to other industries with far more straightforward products and services.”

Emirates’ August win is its fourth monthly award for 2019, putting it on an equal footing with Singapore Airlines in contending for the 2019 Roy Morgan International Airline of the Year Award.

Levine says, “The last time an Australian airline reached the top five was back in December 2018, when Qantas shared fifth position with Air New Zealand. This time last year Qantas and Virgin Australia were equal, on 79%. Now Qantas has pulled ahead, with a 4% lead."

Two Asian-based airlines experienced significant satisfaction rating changes over the past year, with Malaysia Airlines enjoying the biggest increase of any airline (+7%), pushing it into the top ten, and Hong Kong carrier Cathay Pacific suffering the largest decline over the same period (-9%), slipping from third place to ninth.

Emirates customers: Educated, opinionated culture-lovers

We know that the typical Emirates customer is female (although the gender split is almost even), aged between 50-64, well educated and more likely than the average Australian to earn a salary of $100,000 or more. They tend to be professionals, managers and white-collar workers. Over a third of them are in the AB Quintile when it comes to socio-economic status.

They likely fit the Socially Aware Roy Morgan Value Segment. People in this segment often have a strong sense of social responsibility, a propensity for convincing others of their opinions, and often become involved in pressure groups associated with their favoured causes. Common occupations are public servants, politicians and researchers.

Emirates customers are far more likely than the average Australian to attend a ballet or opera performance or go to a jazz, classical or blues concert. Over a third recently held a dinner party.

For more know in-depth information about customers of particular airline brands, visit the Roy Morgan travel and leisure profiles page.

Leading international airline customer satisfaction ratings

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, September 2017 – August 2018, n = 3,739. September 2018 – August 2019, n= 3,470. Base: Australians aged 14+ who have used an international airline

View the Customer Satisfaction - Report on Australians' Airline Satisfaction.

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

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5% or 95%