Alternative Dispute Resolution and Customer Experience in the Aviation Sector

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José Luís Rodrigues de Oliveira Herculano
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This work captures the trends in relation to Alternative Dispute Resolution in the aviation sector. It analyses mainly the experience of air travel consumers when facing disruptions that are described in the scope of the Directive 2011/83/EU on consumer rights, the Montreal Convention for the unification of certain rules for international carriage by air and the Regulation 261/2004(EC) on common rules on compensation and assistance to air passengers in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights in flights with departure or arrival in Irish airport or Irish airlines. So, this work aims to find out customers’ satisfaction in dealing with disruptions and their willingness to engage in ADR when facing a disruption in air travel. The consumers’ experience is data collected through a survey where it is analysed their profile, their level of satisfaction with the way airlines handled the disruptions, their awareness of air passenger rights and Alternative Dispute Resolution and which type of ADR they are willing to engage in the case a major disruption. This data is supported by a description of Alternative Dispute Resolution and Online Dispute Resolution and how these methods have been growing to the application in the aviation sector. There were many relevant findings in this research, such as the fact that younger consumers are more common users of air transportation than older consumers and a diversified group of participants were found to consuming the Irish service of air travel, being people from not only Ireland but also many countries in Europe and South America. Furthermore, the level of satisfaction was found related to compensation received by the participants and confirming trends observed by relevant studies that, in general, costumers are not aware of air passenger rights. It is not possible to affirm the same about ADR since the results collected were very balanced between participants that aware and not aware of ADR. Finally, it seems that, in general, once being presented the characteristics and advantages, consumers are willing to engage in ADR, mainly ODR, to resolve their disputes in the aviation sector. At the end of the work, a few recommendations were made to improve the main difficulties exposed by the participants exposed to air travel disputes, which were miscommunication and lack of information about their rights.
de Oliveira Herculano, 2020