I was going to say air travel provides “unique opportunities” for service providers. I’ve had lots of friends experience it with great positive feedback. I’ve had negative experiences with bad service on a weekly basis since 2008. It’s almost like airlines are making up a rule that what works for one travel experience will only work for that one. Air carriers also know that the last minute customer is not the most lucrative customer to have. The late booking customer is an often short term customer. That’s because in today’s full service travel environment, the customer knows what he wants and exactly how much he wants to pay. Airlines tend to only want to sell on that last minute customer as much as they can until they find a new winner to adopt a long term practice for that customer. The last minute customer is not always the customer the carriers want to have.
Air carriers need to listen to consumers. Sure, the 20MB free Wi-Fi in the sky allows the savviest of passengers to know they can probably just use it to browse something like some of the best casino bonuses and nothing more, but what can anybody do with 20MB? Customers are requesting the same service. The difference in service between the two airplanes is that the first airplane will get there quickly and have things ready for the flight. They will receive the customer to their rooms and on their way in less than half the time. On the last minute customer, the customer is going to get there at the time they’ve scheduled in their reservation. That’s why air travel is more expensive than getting to a destination by car. You’re not going to wait for five hours for your car to arrive after it’s been delayed in traffic. Air travel is expensive because of time.
If you want unique customer service opportunities, look into how Airline’s make their last minute customer service policies. Airlines are moving away from basic industry practices that make passengers wait for time.
After you fly for the last time, if you do decide to stay with an air carrier, know that airlines are making it more difficult than ever to move your accounts to your preferred service. Some companies offer one free flight of transportation for free to your current flight. Others offer free trips that put you on an earlier flight. They call that a customer retention program. That’s a great example of consumer driven marketing. Most people who stay with a hotel or a car rental service want to stick with those companies that provide them great service. If that company is offering more flexible service, people will stick around. Air travel is beginning to move away from that model. You will have to pay to fly on a flight that is outside of your preferred flight. I recently talked with a United Airlines flight attendant who said they are dropping free flights and free trips for passengers who have stayed with the company more than three times. They won’t give people free travel just because they stay.
Now airlines are using the opportunity to tell passengers who are opting to leave air travel that they will have to pay for a new air carrier to provide the same last minute opportunities.
Air travel has become a great marketing opportunity for companies. I say most of the time. When airlines take consumers for a ride, which is usually the case at the end of the last month of the year, people want to know that they can’t get out of it. So they go with a last minute flight provider. There are a lot of very good reasons to do that. But you know, there are also a lot of great reasons to stay with a reliable company that provides the last minute services you need. If you know which one you want, by all means, stay with that company. Do not fall for the last minute airlines marketing.