I am grateful to all airlines and the services they offer me. This column is not written in anger, nor is there any malice intended. It’s just a factual observation from a very frequent customer. And a hope they can do the obvious.
On the airplane this morning, I’m watching the forced media as the plane prepares to take off. The CEO of the airline comes on a video telling me how much he appreciates my business, how much he wishes he could greet me personally, and how great the service is. Blah, blah, blah.
Meanwhile people are waiting an hour to check in and pay baggage fees (except on Southwest). They’re waiting another 30 minutes to go through security. Then they’re being warned against carrying too much on the plane, herded in like cattle, given poor to medium service and offered inedible food and undrinkable coffee. And to top it off, on this three-hour flight, there is NO Wi-Fi on the plane.
I wonder if the CEO has ever flown on his own airline before.
If you make the mistake and call the airline to book your $1,000 flight, you’re on hold for 10-30 minutes listening to their insipid messages about how great they are, and then you’re quoted random fees based on the day you fly and return, and the fullness of the plane. Should you decide to change your ticket, another 150 bucks, please.
If they send you an email, there is NEVER a way to respond directly, and NEVER a phone number for the person sending it. Rude.
Can you imagine you or one of your people sending an email message to a customer who spends $250,000 a year with you with no way to contact you back?
Draw your own conclusions about the sincerity of their message.
And they win the J.D. Power and Associates award for customer satisfaction. Hello! What’s the category: Least crappy?
Loyalty or “forced loyalty”? I have airline reward miles. Lots of them. Does that make me loyal, or am I forced to be loyal based on the city I live in, and available flights? Airlines have no idea what loyalty is, much less how to earn it.
I got a request last Christmas, er, I mean last holiday season, asking me to donate my air miles to THEIR charity. Huh? Why are you asking me to give up the ONE THING I feel is a benefit of doing business with you. Dude, you print the miles, you donate them.
Here are my fantasy airline requests and responses:
• We surveyed 5,000 flying business people, and 5,000 flying vacationers and are implementing 100 of their recommendations.