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Thanks for Your Loyalty - Now, Get to the Back of the Line!

Airlines_2Airlines are notorious for rewarding loyalty. If you fly the same airline long enough, you earn status. This means you get to board early, get priority seating and if you fly stand by you get put to the front of the line. The airlines will also give you award tickets which you can redeem for tickets. This is a reward for your customer loyalty.

A few weeks ago my wife and I redeemed our "loyalty award" to fly on United Airlines to a weekend conference in Colorado.

The weather was bad the morning of our departure and we missed our initial flight. I find it interesting that the airlines expect customers to understand that they are not responsible for delays because of weather (thus, they aren't going to do anything for you) but they don't extend the same courtesy when you, yourself are delayed by weather. We were late for our initial flight and then were put on stand by for our connecting flights.

Because we were using the ticket they gave us as a "reward" for our loyalty, we were treated like the least important passenger that day. Faced with the choice of paying for our own hotel and having "a chance" of getting out of Denver the following day or renting a car one-way and driving to our end destination we paid the price and drove.

Somehow, it doesn't make sense to "reward" your most loyal customers only to treat them like the least important.

What do you think?

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and Matt Hintsa.

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Comments

Tom,

I have had the exact same experience -- in Denver, with United.

I don't envy the customer service people in the airline industry their jobs. Lots of angry people every day. But, what I resent as a customer is that they don't care. Even if they can't help me....they could act like they're sorry about the problem.

Demonstrating a passion for your customer makes even the most bitter pill easier to swallow.

That's quite a drive, eh?

Drew

It's almost becoming cliche to say anything about airline service right? Isn't it a shame. But we keep filling them to capacity! It's not unlike the prices of professional sports or the customer service from Dell. We simply keep voting with our dollars.

If we could just let the bad ones go out of business, reduce supply enough to spawn wonderful starts ups (or really tweak then VLJ air taxi business), and let some economic forces take over, perhaps there'd be light at the end of the tunnel.

With all of our collaboration tools and video conferencing, we're traveling in record numbers.

I haven't flown since the middle of last year. I don't miss it one bit. I'll miss it the first time I have to fly coach, in group 4, and pay $5 for a can of beer (I think I just bought a 6-pack of Sam Adams for $5.99 last night).

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