Virgin Group

Airlines are getting better -- but some are better than others

Better or poorer "quality" depends on what you measure. When people think about the quality of any service, they consider two basic questions:

-- How good is the service, as the supplier designed and promised it? This is probably the way most consumers look at "quality." In the case of an airline, this view of quality incorporates some combination of seat space and comfort, cabin service, inflight entertainment, crew friendliness, the boarding experience, frequent flyer program benefits, and such.

-- How reliably and consistently does the supplier deliver on the promise? This is the way industrial quality control folks look at their world:...