Airline Brands: Currently Worthless.
I am a frequent flyer with more than one carrier. A Premier Executive. A Gold Member. I fly for business. I am their best customer. But instead of rewarding me for spending tens of thousands of dollars on their 'services,' they treat me as if I am expendable -- as if I have no option but to go along with their rules and policies. Recent events have proven them wrong.
The airlines -- not their customers -- have created a business in which their most valuable/profitable customers are the most unhappy.
They make me pay the highest fares while casual customers are offered outrageous discounts. Many times I have sat in my $1,100.00 coach seat only to discover that the person sitting next to me paid $370.00 for their seat.
They want me to stay away from my home in order to 'qualify' for a cheaper fare. Is that their way of trying to make my life easier? What possible difference can it make whether I stay a Saturday night or not? I weigh about the same on Friday as I do on Sunday. Their fuel prices must be pretty close to equal on both days. I occupy one seat no matter what day I fly. If there is a seat available, why don't they sell it to me at a reasonable price so I can get home to my family?
They insist I pay the highest possible fares for booking travel close to my desired departure date. As a business traveller I have little control over the timing of most of my trips. The airlines see this as an opportunity to gouge me even more.
They make me pay before they provide their 'service' -- and if they decide not to provide that 'service' I am stuck with little recourse. I don't pay cab fare a month in advance, then hope a car shows up.
They feed me mediocre food at best -- although recent decisions to cut down on food service come as welcome news.
They often sell more seats than their aircraft contain, then ask me to give up my seat and take a later flight in exchange for a round trip ticket. I'm sure that makes economic sense to them.
They tell me that my safety is their primary concern, then hire poorly trained, underpaid people to take care of me.
I've heard the 'it's a complicated business' excuse before. It must be complicated indeed if a few days with no business means the airlines need the taxpayers (me again) to bail them out. I disagree totally with that scenario. Airlines are not an essential service. If four or five days with no business are all it takes to trigger their failure, shame on them.
Survival of the fittest is a powerful concept.
Maybe it's time for airline customers to show who is really in charge. A very short boycott would probably be enough to get rid of the weaklings completely. That would open the door for those providers who place the customer first to pick up the slack. There are a few out there. Others would surely emerge.