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Statistics and Studies

I often see headlines such as this, “Travelers not too satisfied with Sea-Tac airport: study”. It seems rather damning at first glance. However, I’m left to wonder. What does this really mean? Does this mean that Seatac has a problem? I’m not too sure. As I read the study (at least the little bit reported here), one of the first things I notice is the small range of scores (top: 690, Seatac: 656, bottom: 647 range: 43 points). Being last is not that much worse than being first. Also, this seems to be, in its sum, a customer satisfaction survey. It isn’t a sample of the same group of people experiencing all 19 of the airports. There’s a huge amount of subjectivity to this.


Of course, I’m one of those folks who distrusts the “wisdom of the masses”, which (I’m sure) colors my perspective on surveys such as this. I also tend to work hard to find logical inconsistencies and other “issues”. Perhaps I’m more cynical than I thought.


Anyway, I find this sort of stuff more annoying than informative. It’s not like the airports in question really need to modify any of their offending behaviors. It’s not like there are other options. Well, not without serious aggravation.