Monday, September 13, 2010

Everything That Is Wrong With The Airline Industry

I am a big fan of Brett Snyder over at the Cranky Flier.   Two years ago, I was even privileged to contribute a guest post on The Future Of Airline Loyalty Programs.    Last week, Brett was on vacation and had an anonymous guest write a post for his blog for his Headwinds blog at BNet.

You should read the post in it's entirety here.

In it, an anonymous airline insider says that his company just doesn't have the basic technology necessary to disseminate accurate information in the event of a delay, yet even;

...if we had “perfect” information to give, should the airlines invest in better technology or more bodies to communicate in a more timely manner? For that matter, should the airlines invest in technology that would help cultivate that perfect knowledge? Quite honestly, I don’t think so.
I simply don’t see the return on investment. In fact, I don’t see how giving passengers better information actually saves (or generates) the airline any money at all. How would it? The tickets are paid for, and most of them are non-refundable. “Everybody knows” the airlines provide lousy information, so it’s not as if customers will flee to the competition for that sole reason.
There you go.  Customer service provides no return on it's investment according to this guy because you already paid for your ticket.  I have no reason to believe his views are unusual in the airline industry.

Now personally, I enjoy flying on Southwest airlines, as they seem to be the most operationally efficient airline out there.    This guy's airline flies for United, a carrier that I have been avoiding like the plague for some time.  

As I wrote in the comments of the post, I give Brett tremendous credit for allowing this guy to share is views, which I am sure he does not agree with.  As long as there are people in the airline industry who feel the way this guy does, passengers will suffer and airlines will continue to lose money.


Cranky Flier said...

Jason - Yep, it was certainly a different and interesting take, I think. I was more than happy to post this, because it does show the type of pressure that these guys face. The guest poster wasn't a bean counter - he was just the guy who had to deal with it, but even he was able to see things the way that the bean counters view it. Personally, I want to see accurate, free-flowing information at all times, but it's certainly an uphill battle.

Jason said...

Thanks for the comment Brett. I have little doubt that his approach to customer service in not one that you would advocate.

It wouldn't surprise me if your guest's post goes viral, if only within the airline community.