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# In 1998 the United States Department of Transportation

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Joined: 07 Jun 2014
Posts: 1821
GRE 1: 323 Q167 V156
WE: Business Development (Energy and Utilities)
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Kudos [?]: 606 [1] , given: 120

In 1998 the United States Department of Transportation [#permalink]  06 May 2016, 16:17
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In 1998 the United States Department of Transportation received nearly 10,000 consumer complaints about airlines; in 1999 it received over 20,000. Moreover, the number of complaints per 100,000 passengers also more than doubled. In both years the vast majority of complaints concerned flight delays, cancellations, mishandled baggage, and customer service. Clearly, therefore, despite the United States airline industry’s serious efforts to improve performance in these areas, passenger dissatisfaction with airline service increased significantly in 1999.

21. Which of the following, if true, most seriously weakens the argument?
A Although the percentage of flights that arrived on time dropped slightly overall, from 77 percent in 1998 to 76 percent in 1999, some United States airlines’ 1999 on-time rate was actually better than their 1998 on-time rate.
B The number of passengers flying on United States airlines was significantly higher in 1999 than in 1998.
C Fewer bags per 1,000 passengers flying on United States airlines were lost or delayed in 1999 than in 1998.
D The appearance in 1999 of many new Internet sites that relay complaints directly to the Department of Transportation has made filing a complaint about airlines much easier for consumers than ever before.
E Although the number of consumer complaints increased for every major United States airline in 1999, for some airlines the extent of the increase was substantial, whereas for others it was extremely small.

[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
D

Practice Test Questions
Question: 21
Page: 453
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

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SVP
Joined: 07 Jun 2014
Posts: 1821
GRE 1: 323 Q167 V156
WE: Business Development (Energy and Utilities)
Followers: 38

Kudos [?]: 606 [1] , given: 120

Re: In 1998 the United States Department of Transportation [#permalink]  06 May 2016, 16:19
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Explanation

The passage describes two different year-over-year increases in airline passenger complaints: both the absolute number of complaints and the rate of complaints more than doubled from 1998 to 1999. From these facts, the author of the passage concludes that passenger dissatisfaction with airline service significantly increased in the same period.

Choice D is the correct answer: it weakens the argument because it presents a scenario in which the increase in complaints and in the rate of complaints could merely be the result of an easier means of filing complaints, not an actual increase in passenger dissatisfaction.

Choice A and Choice C are incorrect because neither presents a scenario that bears directly on the claim that passenger dissatisfaction increased from 1998 to 1999.

Choice E is incorrect: the fact that some airlines experienced a smaller increase than others does not change the fact that all airlines experienced an increase and thus cannot weaken the argument.

Choice B could be correct if the passage discussed only the change in the absolute number of complaints, since more passengers could account for
more complaints without entailing an increase in dissatisfaction. But the passage also says that the rate of complaints increased, making Choice B incorrect.
_________________

Sandy
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Re: In 1998 the United States Department of Transportation   [#permalink] 06 May 2016, 16:19
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