The U.S. Airline Industry and the Mishandled Baggage Incidents: A Multiple-Case Study Using Data Mining

The U.S. Airline Industry and the Mishandled Baggage Incidents: A Multiple-Case Study Using Data Mining

Author: 
Gustavo A. Varon
Program of study: 
D.M.
Abstract: 
This is a qualitative, multiple-case study of the handling of checked baggage which led to uncover themes in the mishandled baggage cases reported by customers of U.S. airlines using the qualitative Data Mining research software Nvivo9. The size of the sample is 69 cases collected from information voluntarily released by members of airlinecomplaints.org who shared their mishandled baggage experiences. Information similar in content, commonly needed by an airline to provide customer service for passenger claims at the airline mishandled baggage center, was also gathered. Data was analyzed using the qualitative Data Mining research software Nvivo9, developed by QSR International. Five major themes emerged during the analysis of the cases relating to mishandling of baggage by U.S. airlines: (a) Airline responsible, (b) airport used, (c) baggage handling, (d) system in operation, (e) employee involvement. The research showed specific relationships among these themes in mishandling of baggage by U.S. airlines which could be the subject for future researchers. Although the passenger involvement was not the focus of this research, the qualitative Data Mining research software Nvivo9 identified the role of the passenger (“Passenger” node, theme “Passenger”) as another major issue having an impact on mishandling of baggage. The themes identified by the qualitative research software Nvivo9 suggest dysfunctional procedures during the handling of checked baggage by the U.S. airline industry which leads to the occurrence of mishandled baggage for U.S. airlines. There is a need for continued investigation of U.S. airline industry procedures or passengers involvement with mishandled baggage incidents.
Dedication: 
This dissertation is dedicated to my wife. Her support, sacrifices and continuous encouragement to persevere allowed me to graduate. The time invested during the dissertation process, the frustration for the academic endless reviews and the slow progress made during the past years are just memories vanishing with the time as they are rapidly replaced by the joy of the celebration for this academic achievement. To the others, who are my heroes behind the curtains, I thank you for the help and contribution made to my success.
Acknowledgements: 
I would like to acknowledge the people who supported the research. Dr. Miriam Masullo contributed to my success with her unconditional technical expertise and academic support. You knew the technicalities of this research and guided me throughout “the roads on construction” becoming my right side advisor. As my advisor, Dr. Masullo always refocused and reoriented my efforts towards the final result. Mr. Andres Kello supported the research by promoting the access to the collected data, without him and airlinecomplaints.org, this research would not be possible. Thanks to my committee members, Dr. Ify Diala, and Dr. Prasad Palacharla for the guidance, knowledge, and time to complete this study. Dr Ashraf Esmail, my Chair, thanks for your patience, recommendations and time. Carolina Zapata, your determination to obtain Mr. Kello’s ink signatures in Barcelona, Spain was beyond expectations.