Nationally-owned airlines don't care what the customer experience is because they are subsidized by the government (and ultimately the tax paying citizens). The complete lack of interest in the customer is apparent from baggage handling to arrival and departure times. My most recent example of dreadful service was on Air France (I won't bore you with the details, we've all got horror stories), and they couldn't have cared less when i tried to comment on my experience. I wasn't looking for a refund but some attempt to be civil and pretend to care would have changed my overall opinion immensely. And that doesn't cost a thing. I may get bare service on easyJet, Ryanair or Southwest but at least it's not hostile and I really feel that I've gotten what i've paid for.
Abused Passenger - December 30, 2002
the issue is not national airlines - most of which by now are at least partly, and in the US fully privatized - vs. private low cost carriers. The real issue is old model airlines with their inherently more expensive business models and the corresponding high cost structure, vs. new model, low cost base carriers. As a passenger on both models, I can't categorically state that service is dependent on the model but on competition in the marketplace. Nothing unique here compared to other service industries.
Another key factor that works against the high cost carriers is today's total transparency in the fare display brought about by the rapid increase in web based bookings of air travel. No traveler wants to pay any longer a fare that would actually allow a high cost carrier to remain profitable. The future will most likely see a further expansion of low cost carriers on high traffic routes and a reduced number of global carriers within alliances for the rest of the air service network and pricing will remain a highly complex issue for most routes. The share of web based air bookings will further increase and reach similar levels at major carriers as it has on low cost ones such as JetBlue where it is in the 80% range.
anonymous - December 30, 2002
Low cost privately-owned airlines have to compete and survive - they will become more innovative and care for customers!
anonymous - December 30, 2002
Customer & marketing-driven low-cost carriers are surely the future of the sky. They know almost exactly what passengers really want and then supply it. I would rather say most of the services and products offered by those traditional airlines are too fancy stuff which adds little value to the core product itself.
Edward Wong, Development Manager, Organization, ORBIS - December 30, 2002
I think it is interesting to observe that the airline business will continue to evolve competitively to produce exactly what the customer needs and expects. The major airlines created the discounted fares and the discount operators made it a business by putting the cost structure in place. The demand for air travel has been expanded by these new services. The seasoned traveller now has learnt also to shop around to see which service suits his real needs. We will see that the no frills airlines will eventually have to make their services more reliable and enjoyable experiences to clients. The big carriers will have to become closer to clients and more focussed giving value for money. I can't wait for the first new airline that focuses entirely on the business traveller at half the business fares, great comfort and leg room, great looking hostesses, a drink and a smile on boarding, no meals, smoking section and no discounting and bumping up and no more mileage and pseudo gimmicks that the corporations pay for at the expense of the small buiness traveller.
John Creak, Director, JALITE PLC - December 31, 2002