An Expectation-Experience Analysis of Service Quality of Business Travelers in Low-Cost Airlines



A number of low-cost airlines (LCA) are repositioning their brand strategy to attract business travelers. This requires first understanding and then meeting business traveler's service quality expectations. Unfortunately, most studies on service quality attributes of LCAs have focused on leisure travelers. This formed the motivation of this study, which aims to examine the gap that exists between expectations and (actual) experience with the services received across the various dimensions of service quality (SERVQUAL) among international business travelers. A total of 142 responses from business travelers were collected using a structured questionnaire comprising 23 SERVQUAL items. An expectation-experience analysis (EEA) was then performed on the survey data to categorize each item in the EEA grid as 1) High priority (high expectation but low experience) 2) Keep up the good work (high expectation and high experience) 3) Low priority (low expectation and low experience) and 4) Possible overkill (low expectation but high experience). The results show that the LCAs should focus more on the 'reliability' factor as most of its items emerged in the high priority grid while low priority should be given to 'empathy'. Overall, an all-around improvement is required to narrow the service quality gap, given that none of the service quality attributes have met or exceeded business travelers' expectations. The results are useful for practitioners to prioritize service quality improvements and develop tailor-made marketing and branding strategies.

Author Biographies

Jacinta Dsilva, Modul University Dubai

Jacinta Dsilva is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at Modul University Dubai. She chas a PhD from Coventry University in Marketing and Service Quality. An educator for 20 years and have worked for several well-known universities. Her research interests are Marketing, Service Quality and Sustainability.

Sreejith Balasubramanian, Middlesex University Dubai

Sreejith Balasubramanian is a Senior Lecturer in Supply Chain Management and Chair of the Research Committee at Middlesex University, Dubai. Sreejith completed his PhD from Middlesex University Business School, London and has several years of experience in teaching, research, consultancy and project management.

Shalini Ajayan, Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government

Shalini Ajayan is the Institutional Effectiveness Specialist at the Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government. Shalini is also pursuing a Ph.D. in Educational Research at the Lancaster University. Shalini has over a decade of experience working in the UAE higher education sector specifically in the area of institutional effectiveness and quality assurance.

Cody Paris, Middlesex University Dubai

Cody Morris Paris is the Deputy Director for Academic Planning and Research and Associate Professor of Social Science at Middlesex University Dubai. He completed his PhD from Arizona State University, and is a research fellow at the University of Johannesburg.




How to Cite

Dsilva, J., Balasubramanian, S., Ajayan, S. and Paris, C. (2021) “An Expectation-Experience Analysis of Service Quality of Business Travelers in Low-Cost Airlines”, e-Review of Tourism Research, 18(3), pp. 375–392. Available at: (Accessed: 24 September 2023).