The past few months the number of e-mails that we have gotten with people wanting to vent their frustrations about air travel has increased by five-fold and the number of press articles has skyrocketed on this topic.This got my antennae up and I started adding this topic to my conversations with reporters and airline analysts and I found it absolutely fascinating what Wall Street thinks vs. Airlines vs. U.S. Government vs. Air Travelers.The question I had in my mind was Will people travel less because of the hassles of air travel or are they resigned to poor service and its just part of the gig from now on?
When it came out in the most recent Consumer Satisfaction Index that all but one airline is rated lower than the IRS, I new it was time to start jotting down bits of information related to customer service that I thought might shed some light on the issue. After chatting with our new editor we came up with an article on the subject, Death of Airline Customer Service, which I think captures where things are today…
Thought I would share some of the things I jotted down during the past few months that formed the basis of this article:
- Wall Street only cares about the bottom line; airline customer service is not on their radar, they want fewer planes with more people which will keep prices high. They only thing that keeps them awake at night are disasters like crashes; terrorism and oddly enough JetBlue media nightmares (guess they care a tiny bit about customers). Look for more capacity cuts and less deals as Wall Street continues to get its way. With margins still razor thin, dont expect the airlines to put a lot of money in trying to sort out customer service issues anytime soon.
- The airlines in the U.S. are special, like mail and telephones; air travel is part of what makes the country tick. The airlines share a unique symbiosis with the government on safety, security, flight control, number of employees in politicians districts and airport authorities. I just read an article yesterday about how much of the flight delay issues could be solved with 40 billion from the government for equipment that is available now want to guess where that goes in the congressional handout pecking order?
- I just cant believe airline employees come to work each day with the plan to upset air passengers. It doesnt make sense why would anyone want a job where all they hear is complaining all day. There must be a way to make air travel a win-win for passengers and airline staff/executives
- As usual there are always a handful of passengers that cause issues as well. After chatting with several flight attendants I am pretty sure they never signed up for 100% full planes day in and day out
- The summer peak season traditionally slows down at the end of August, so maybe this is just an aberration me thinks not