There’s one reason that I could never, ever work in the airline industry: Because I could never knowingly provide horrible customer service. Look at the MSNBC / NYT article ‘Airline Fees That Test Travelers’ Limits‘ and just look at some of the ridiculous things that airlines get away with nowadays.
- Charging for checked luggage
- Charging for carry-on luggage
- Outrageous change fees (up to $150 or more for re-scheduling a flight)
- Charges to ride standby. That’s right, the plane has room but you’re still going to pay $50 or more to catch that earlier flight if some airlines have anything to say about it.
These and some of the other practices being put into place are obviously being instituted to raise revenues. The revenue part makes sense. Businesses are in it to make money. But the part I have a problem with is that these things are being blatantly done at the expense of customer satisfaction, customer service, and really, the customer in general.
Many businesses would certainly love it if they could make more money. But does McDonalds charge you for refills on their soft drinks? No, you get free refills. Does Kohls charge you to exchange a piece of clothing for a different size? Of course not. Does the guy that comes to clean the windows quote you a price but then add on extra charges like ‘Fee for climbing the ladder’? Never!
Why are none of these businesses doing these? Because they know that it would anger their customers and cost them business.
But, really, these are the exact things that the airlines do. Why? Because the competition is so limited (and shrinking more with every airline ‘merger’) and because nobody stops them. Plus, they know that most people aren’t going to walk away from flying and choose a sixteen hour car ride over a three hour car ride. They have somewhat of a captive audience.
Still, I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t look someone in the eye and tell them that they’re being charged for the things that the airlines charge for. I couldn’t ignore passengers needs. I couldn’t ruin vacations and holidays and family get-togethers all while looking people in the eye and saying ‘too bad’.
Really, now that I think about it, how does anybody in good conscience work in the airline industry?