Customer Service Assignment #2
Daniel E. Shalik
Instructor – Vicki Befort
Several new trends in the customer service field which have been seen and felt by consumers the most have been in the airline industry. Gas price increases, and the economic recession which started in December of 2007 have dealt the most recent cathartic blows to major airlines here in the United States and throughout the world. To thwart the rising cost of maintaining an aging fleet of carriers to insure public safety new service fees have been added recently however, “Carriers will have an easier time gaining acceptance when they find new ways to make money instead of slapping fees on existing services”. (Snyder) Paying for things that used to be included in the price of a ticket is not an enticing selling point for a flailing industry. It just does not sit well with cost conscience consumers.
Airline passengers have taken matters into their own hands and have decided that they have had enough and formed a Coalition for an Airline Passenger Bill of Rights with a hotline number of 1(877)FLYERS6 . (Hanni) This coalition has developed a passenger bill of rights with many provisions to protect flying customers from outrageous injustices that the airline industry has perpetrated primarily affecting the health and well being of paying customers. The most recent occurrence resulted in passengers being stranded on a Minnesota tarmac for 6 hours on August 9th of this year. The passenger bill of rights will be voted on by Congress when they reconvene this Fall of 2009, the main provision of this proposed bill will “Provide for the essential needs of passengers during air- or ground-based delays of longer than 3 hours, including food, water, sanitary facilities, and access to medical attention”.(Hanni)
Paid flying customers “were kept for about six hours waiting inside the cramped regional jet plane amid wailing babies and a smelly toilet even though they were only 50 yards (46 meters) from a terminal”. (Lowy) It would be fair to mention that the pilot of the aircraft pleaded with the captain of Continental Express Flight 2816 and other officials for ExpressJet, the regional air carrier that operated the flight for Continental Airlines to allow the passengers to deplane and enter the Rochester terminal on Aug. 8.(Lowy)
The lack of attention paid to customer’s basic needs coupled with the additional fees for carry-on luggage and checked baggages have resulted in a loss of revenue for major airlines by alienating new customers. Increased security measures coupled with delays on flight times and departures prolong vacationers and business travelers’ plans even further. More people have been planning vacations closer to home, and with the recent decline in gas prices people have been traveling (Mason)due to the increase in gas prices from the summer of 2007. According to the Air Transportation Association (ATA), fuel is an airline’s second largest expense; Labor is the main expense.(Company)
During the past decade the airline industry has undergone many changes especially with the way that customers book a flight. As recently as 2002 in a study done by the University of Nebraska, travel agents have been the traditional channel through which companies book travel, the internet was only used primarily by small companies.(Mason) Today travel agencies are almost non-existent and most commerce is conducted through the internet. Although business travelers continue to make up most of the airlines revenue, businesses have cut their travel expense immensely by shopping for good rates with the instantaneous price quotes online. A new service industry has emerged because of technology, primarily customer service oriented.
Loyalty programs such as the frequent flyer programs have also seen a decline in recent years because of the economic cutbacks due to the recession. Once the airline industry becomes more in tune with customers needs and wants through customer service surveys, the major airlines may survive the ever changing trends in today’s marketplace.
Company, Forbes Digital. "The Industry Handbook: The Airline Industry." 1 January 2009. Investopedia . 7 September 2009 <http://investopedia.com/features/industryhandbook/airline.asp>.
Lowy, Joan. "Pilot of plane stranded on airport tarmac pleaded for passengers to be let off." 21 August 2009. The Baltimore Sun. 7 September 2009 <http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/sns-ap-us-nightmare-flight,0,3521917.story>.
Mason, Keith J. "FUTURE TRENDS IN BUSINESS TRAVEL DECISION MAKING." Journal of Air Transportation; 2002, Vol. 7 Issue 1, p47, 22p, 1 chart, 7 graphs 1 July 2002: 47.
Snyder, Brett. "Top 10 Most Obnoxious Hidden Airline Fees ." 30 April 2008. BNET Travel Blog. 7 September 2009 <http://industry.bnet.com/travel/100046/top-10-most-obnoxious-hidden-airline-fees/>.