Archive for July, 2009

Losers vs. Leaders – Add American Airlines to the list

An MSNBC article published Friday, July 24 read: “It’s going to cost you more to check bags on an American Airlines flight. American said Friday that checking the first bag will cost $20, up from $15, and a second bag will cost $30, up from $25. The change takes effect on tickets bought after Aug. 13 for travel within the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands on American and its regional affiliate, American Eagle.”

They can’t sell their sloppy customer service (Yeah, I’ve flown American a time or two) so they penalize the customers they have by charging them more for doing business with them.

How about treating people with dignity and respect? How about asking your customers what they want you to do for them to make them happy? Again, why is Southwest turning a profit? They treat their employees with respect and their employees make their customers happy. It is a disappointment to get on a major carrier like American and be told, “It’s company policy – not my fault.”

I always try to treat attendants with respect because it is a tough job. It’s like a waiter or waitress in a cramped place with more diners than you planned on. But on a flight last April I was sitting in the front seat – stationary, not moving and not in the way. An attendant who had passed me several times bumped into me. She complained that my feet were too big. Then she complained that she was going to bruise. I said I was sorry but that didn’t stop the berating. She had had a lousy day and this was the last straw.

I can understand a tough day but hearing her complain about the airline, the customers and her job made me wonder why they got into the people moving business in the first place. Maybe she needs to be reminded who she really works for.

Way to go, American, raise those baggage fees and then complain to the government that you couldn’t turn a profit with your overbooking, late departures and miserable customer service attitudes. Maybe they will tell you to look at Southwest.  OR maybe they will tell you to go home and get your house in order this time.

Losers vs. Leaders: Are You Punishing Your Customers?

How are you punishing your customers for doing business with you? Delta recently decided to join the other airlines who are losing money and charge their coach customers $15 per bag for flying with them. Platinum and gold flyers are exempt but their families traveling with them aren’t. Most of you know that Delta who lost over 4 Billion in the first quarter of 2008, purchased Northwest, who also lost several billion in the same quarter. It celebrated by charging fees it never charged before.

Meanwhile Southwest Airlines, the industry leader still has no luggage fee for first bag. In a recent poll from Michigan State University, southwest still ranked above the other airlines in customer service and satisfaction by over 11 points while Delta ranked near the bottom.

Question: How are YOU punishing your customers for doing business with you?  Wouldn’t it make sense to go out of your way to accomodate your loyal fans or customers?

It makes as much sense as states who are raising taxes on their wealthiest residents, then watching them move out of state. We raise “Sin Taxes” to not only punish those who participate but curb their adctivity.then we are surpirsed when people are over charged or over taxed and they quit living in the state or using the airline.

Prediction: Delta and it’s friends will lose more money, overbook flights and charge more until they go bankrupt again – and they WILL go out of business. All Southwest has to do is keep doing what got them there.

In a recession the smartest thing you can do is re-invent your business model and income stream scheme. Delta is doing the same thing that got them broke in 2007 and will get them broke again. Who cares about the customers? Make’em pay! That’s what they get for doing business with us!


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