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How Do The Top Airlines Do It?  
User currently offlinedirtyfrankd From United States of America, joined Apr 2011, 196 posts, RR: 0
Posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 6144 times:

We've all experienced first hand or heard of the superior service and superior overall 'customer experience' offered by airlines such as QR, EK, MH, SQ, IT, etc.

I would like to get some thoughts from all of you as to how they are able to do it. Why is it that these airlines are able to offer such a superior product to the US Airlines while managing to remain profitable (for the most part)?

I'm very curious in hearing the a.net community's thoughts on this.

45 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineIPFreely From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 239 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 6135 times:

Quoting dirtyfrankd (Thread starter):
Why is it that these airlines are able to offer such a superior product to the US Airlines while managing to remain profitable (for the most part)?

The answer is a 5 letter word that starts with "u" and sounds a lot like onion.


User currently offline1stfl94 From United Kingdom, joined May 2006, 1455 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 6111 times:

A huge amount of investment in products and customer service training helps. Also, these airlines have comparatively smaller fleets and workforces compared to the US carriers which makes it easier to roll out new products quicker and monitor standards of service.

User currently offlinedirtyfrankd From United States of America, joined Apr 2011, 196 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 6063 times:

Are airlines in the middle east or in Asia paying less for fuel? They're all pretty much on the same playing field right (not considering those airlines that have been more effective at hedging)?

User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 26170 posts, RR: 50
Reply 4, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 6004 times:

Exacting standards and tough employee discipline to maintain those standards.

Also for the most part a energized younger workforce particularly in customer facing positions, who come in and do the job for a few years and move on, not career employees.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offline474218 From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 6340 posts, RR: 9
Reply 5, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 5945 times:

Could it be that four (4) of the five (5) you listed are fully or partially government owned?

User currently offlineCapEd388 From United States of America, joined Feb 2011, 233 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 5929 times:

I think its a combination of factors. EK and QR are owned by their governments, so they have a good amount of backing from their respective governments. Another factor might be cheaper fuel prices as someone else suggested. Most of these airlines only have an international product, which means they only need one long haul fleet and can concentrate on only one type of product. The US carriers have to concentrate on both a domestic and international product. As someone else also suggested, these airlines also have strict management system. They want their airlines to be the best and they look at every single detail to make sure that every flight is perfect, these airlines have high standards. Lastly, as stated above, unions very well are a huge factor as to why these airlines might do better then their US counterparts.


388 346 77W 787
User currently offlinesomething From United Kingdom, joined May 2011, 1633 posts, RR: 21
Reply 7, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 5824 times:

EK and EY are quite strict on their employees. QR is, from what I hear, borderline intolerable. Labor is also extremely cheap for EK. They pay their employees a relatively sorry looking wage, but provide them with accomodation, ground transport, health care, travel benefits. Additionally, there's also no income tax in Dubai. And there's a lot more on the line for them as for the average American or European airline employee. Losing their job would mean losing their place to stay, losing their source of income, losing health care, being deported from Dubai, having to go back home which for many are third world nations. And I also don't think people stay with the airline for much longer than 10 years, whereas in Europe and the US people look at the job as a lifelong profession. You would expect a person who is willing to relocate possibly 16 flight hours from home, to a desert with intolerable climate and who is fresh with the company and under constant scrutiny and with no legal protection to work more service oriented, than someone that's been with the company for 20+ years and works from home.

EK also doesn't have very many flights compared to LH, CO or AA so quality monitoring should be much easier for them and for the same reason, you can expect to see quality levels decline with growing fleet size.



..sick of it. -K. Pilkington.
User currently offlinesaab2000 From Switzerland, joined Jun 2001, 1619 posts, RR: 11
Reply 8, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 5709 times:

Quoting IPFreely (Reply 1):

The answer is a 5 letter word that starts with "u" and sounds a lot like onion.

Really..... Let's leave that out of this. In any case, that coin has two sides.

I would say the answer to why the US carriers are mediocre is accountability (or lack thereof) and commitment to service all the way from the baggage handlers and toilet cleaners and caterers to the top management. If this doesn't exist at the top, it won't filter down. It does exist at well run airlines.

The top airlines are committed to running top airlines. The others are committed to 'shareholder value' and management compensation. Somewhere in there, service and commitment to excellence is lost.



smrtrthnu
User currently offlineCapEd388 From United States of America, joined Feb 2011, 233 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 5626 times:

I think many carriers, especially the American carriers, have lost the vision that once existed in aviation. Back in the 1940s and 1950s, flying was a luxury. It was like going to the theater or to a 5 star restaurant and airlines worked very hard to provide 5 star quality service to customers. Airlines cared very much to provide a great flying experience. The aircraft were clean, the crew looked as if they had come of the runway (fashion runway) and the meals were actual meals with actual plates and real silverware. Eventually things changed and US carriers stopped caring, they stopped envisioning. That is what we are left with today, just mediocre service. Flying isn't an adventure anymore, its just another thing that most people consider a hassle. That is what EK, SQ, QR, and other carriers are doing, they are trying to bring back the excitement of flying. They are trying to prove that flying can be fun and enjoyable.


388 346 77W 787
User currently offlineDualQual From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 794 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 5552 times:

Quoting saab2000 (Reply 8):
The top airlines are committed to running top airlines. The others are committed to 'shareholder value' and management compensation. Somewhere in there, service and commitment to excellence is lost.

I'll second that. The top airline in the US (arguably SWA) is committed to who they are. Take care of the employees (wages, show you care, give them the tools to do their jobs) and that will take care of the operation, which takes care of the customers, which takes care of the bottom line, which takes care of the shareholders. Far to many airlines are concerned with "the numbers" or what the spreadsheet says instead of listening to what the customers are saying and the employees who work directly with the customers are saying. The airlines and CEO's that embrace that succeed. Those that don't, well, look in the history books.


User currently onlineBD338 From United States of America, joined Jul 2010, 740 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 5488 times:

Quoting DualQual (Reply 10):
Quoting saab2000 (Reply 8):
The top airlines are committed to running top airlines. The others are committed to 'shareholder value' and management compensation. Somewhere in there, service and commitment to excellence is lost.


I'll second that. The top airline in the US (arguably SWA) is committed to who they are. Take care of the employees (wages, show you care, give them the tools to do their jobs) and that will take care of the operation, which takes care of the customers, which takes care of the bottom line, which takes care of the shareholders. Far to many airlines are concerned with "the numbers" or what the spreadsheet says instead of listening to what the customers are saying and the employees who work directly with the customers are saying. The airlines and CEO's that embrace that succeed. Those that don't, well, look in the history books.

I think that's a very accurate analysis in my opinion. Unless you are buying a business class ticket most US airlines couldn't really care less about you. You're just a number wanting to go from A to B. They are driven to create shareholder value by going for the cheapest product and cutting costs. Taking the risk of creating that same value by investing in their staff/product to provide a different experience is deemed to risky, cost too much in the short term which would upset the Wall St folks who seemingly think only by each quarterly result and cannot grasp the concept of a long term investment, so airlines don't even bother. Then a viscious circle of cost trimming, perceived/real indifference to employees follows and the whole experience drfits downwards. WN, B6 and VX are probably the exceptions to this at the moment as they do seem to 'give a rats' about their staff and their customers.

I'm flying to Singapore next month, I had a choice of carriers from SFO, no prizes for guessing which one I chose.


User currently offlineQuokka From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 5426 times:

In every industry that I have worked I have always maintained, and still do, that standards are set by those at the top. When I ran my own business I thought the same way (OK, it wasn't an airline). If the board of directors and the senior management responsible to them don't care about quality, why would any one else?

Some airlines have tried to win customers by "being different". This means offering more than just a flight from A to B and has included additional services that benefit passengers and may influence choice of airline. Others have gone the other way: offer a simple product at the lowest price and if anyone wants anything beyond carriage charge like a wounded bull without apology. Others still have continued along the same old way, failed to innovate, failed to offer what passengers want but in the absence of choice may accept.

Cost structures will vary from airline to airline and country to country. It is too simplistic to talk of union, as if this the hex on any operation. Some carriers have good working relationships with unions: others don't. Even in the absence of unions airlines may end up paying more to attract staff than appears to be the case if you simply quote salaries. Some airlines need to offer accommodation, health care, education for children and other ancillary benefits that are covered by taxation in other countries. So one airline pays more benefits but no tax, another pays tax and no benefits.

But paying no tax means nothing if you are offering a crap product. An airline can survive for so long with once in a lifetime travellers, but to grow it needs repeat custom. You don't (unless there is absolutely no alternative) give repeat custom to a business that rips you off and serves you crap. If the customer feels that he or she is getting what they want at a reasonable price they will come again.

Different airlines may obtain the fuel in different countries but it should not be concluded that they are necessarily better off. The UAE may drill for oil but EK buys much of its fuel from Singapore - does Singapore offer EK a discount not available to SQ or QF? The price of aviation fuel in the US may be lower than in the EU. Does this mean that US carriers are "subsidised"? Far from it: it simply reflects different tax regimes in different countries.

It does help if the Governments of the countries in which an airline operates are supportive of the industry. By that I do not mean offering subsidies or placing obstacles in the way of competitors. I mean if the Governments create a climate where aviation is welcome and where competition is welcome. Subsidies and restrictions (other than those for safety) inhibit the growth of airlines. Of course in such an environment there will be losers. That is the nature of any industry. Capitalism has at its core competition and if you can't compete you go out of business. Governments should not place barriers in the way of competition but they equally should not subsidise or protect the inefficient. Doing so may save a few jobs in the short term, but in the long term it adds additional costs to transportation.


User currently offlinedirtyfrankd From United States of America, joined Apr 2011, 196 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 5419 times:

Lot of good thoughts on here. So why aren't we seeing US Airlines make a bigger push towards enhancing the customer experience. AA is arguably doing that with the new fleet order, DL has arguably been doing that since the merger, and UA...well, that remains to be seen.

Either way, whether our airlines are trying to get better or not, they are nowhere near to offering a product that is on par with the other airlines mentioned at the top of this thread. So, what will it take? Can we figure out a way to offer a top notch customer experience AND remain profitable AND grow every year?


User currently offlineplaneguy727 From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 1258 posts, RR: 1
Reply 14, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks ago) and read 5392 times:

IMHO I put this back on the American people.

If you make purchasing decisions only on price then you can't be surprised when those businesses provide only what can be sustained for that price (and yes, one can argue that prices today don't really sustain the airlines). You simply don't get things for "free."

The bag fees are an example. Airlines saw the price of business rise (fuel, labor, supplies, etc) yet customers would not go for fare increases and, to avoid folding, many airlines chose this route to make up the revenue. Checking bags was never "free." It was, however, built into the price of the ticket. Now it is separate because people would not accept an increase in the price of the ticket.

When US domestic carriers have tried to differentiate on product it has not worked (Legend Airlines; More Room Through COAACH; and the list goes on). Use the AA example, they offered more legroom because people said they wanted it, the same people that then decided to fly other carriers if the fare was $5 cheaper.

I agree that we have a few airlines that don't fit this trend - B6 and WN being the prime examples. But as many know, they focus on consistency and don't always try to compete on fare. Frequently a.netters talk about WN not being the lowest in a market and it should be noted that WN never claimed to be. WN offeres a limited number of fare classes to have a reasonable, consistent product that is generally sustainable. They play the I pay $39 you pay $499 game less than others.

Following that line, remember when a few legacies tried to cap walk up fares? It didn't last because they were losing the major income that compensated for the "I fly the airline with the lowest ticket price" passengers. The airlines were simply leaving money on the table because they were trying to change the culture for the airline and it's passengers - something that can be done, but is very expensive for awhile. WN and B6 started with a different culture - thus not needing to go there.

As I have explained it to many of my non-av friends that come to me for travel advice, ticket booking, help, etc., "America, you did this to me."

PG727

PS - I do think there are also other variables at play. But I get annoyed when we leave the traveling public out of the conversation on why declining standards



I want to live in an old and converted 727...
User currently offlinedirtyfrankd From United States of America, joined Apr 2011, 196 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (3 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 5362 times:

Quoting planeguy727 (Reply 14):
Quoting planeguy727 (Reply 14):
IMHO I put this back on the American people.

If you make purchasing decisions only on price then you can't be surprised when those businesses provide only what can be sustained for that price (and yes, one can argue that prices today don't really sustain the airlines). You simply don't get things for "free."

The bag fees are an example. Airlines saw the price of business rise (fuel, labor, supplies, etc) yet customers would not go for fare increases and, to avoid folding, many airlines chose this route to make up the revenue. Checking bags was never "free." It was, however, built into the price of the ticket. Now it is separate because people would not accept an increase in the price of the ticket.

When US domestic carriers have tried to differentiate on product it has not worked (Legend Airlines; More Room Through COAACH; and the list goes on). Use the AA example, they offered more legroom because people said they wanted it, the same people that then decided to fly other carriers if the fare was $5 cheaper.

I agree that we have a few airlines that don't fit this trend - B6 and WN being the prime examples. But as many know, they focus on consistency and don't always try to compete on fare. Frequently a.netters talk about WN not being the lowest in a market and it should be noted that WN never claimed to be. WN offeres a limited number of fare classes to have a reasonable, consistent product that is generally sustainable. They play the I pay $39 you pay $499 game less than others.

Following that line, remember when a few legacies tried to cap walk up fares? It didn't last because they were losing the major income that compensated for the "I fly the airline with the lowest ticket price" passengers. The airlines were simply leaving money on the table because they were trying to change the culture for the airline and it's passengers - something that can be done, but is very expensive for awhile. WN and B6 started with a different culture - thus not needing to go there.

As I have explained it to many of my non-av friends that come to me for travel advice, ticket booking, help, etc., "America, you did this to me."

PG727

PS - I do think there are also other variables at play. But I get annoyed when we leave the traveling public out of the conversation on why declining standards

So, are you saying that Americans need to be willing to pay more for a ticket in order to receive a better experience? What should that experience include? More room through coach, better IFE?


User currently onlineTigerguy From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 1002 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (3 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 5355 times:

Quoting dirtyfrankd (Reply 15):
Quoting planeguy727 (Reply 14):
IMHO I put this back on the American people.

So, are you saying that Americans need to be willing to pay more for a ticket in order to receive a better experience? What should that experience include? More room through coach, better IFE?

In part, I'd say that's certainly the case. People who just want to get from A to B for as little as they think they can get it, NK is the most attractive option. See:

Quoting planeguy727 (Reply 14):
If you make purchasing decisions only on price then you can't be surprised when those businesses provide only what can be sustained for that price (and yes, one can argue that prices today don't really sustain the airlines). You simply don't get things for "free."

I'd prefer not to be a sardine on an A320 where I have to pay for absolutely everything, even if it costs me a little more in the long run. Thus, I am willing to pay for what I perceive to be better products. Even so, that "little more" is still lower than what we probably ought to pay. See also: above, and

Quoting planeguy727 (Reply 14):
When US domestic carriers have tried to differentiate on product it has not worked (Legend Airlines; More Room Through COAACH; and the list goes on). Use the AA example, they offered more legroom because people said they wanted it, the same people that then decided to fly other carriers if the fare was $5 cheaper.

In many cases, we are fortunate to have these (generally) affordable fares. Now, I'm not saying that fares should skyrocket across the board. However, the principle should apply that I can't pay a bargain-basement price and then moan and groan when I'm not given a Mercedes. As has been said above, this is a two-way street.



Flying friendly for a while, but is that a widget I see in the rear-view mirror?
User currently offlineplaneguy727 From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 1258 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (3 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 5336 times:

Quoting dirtyfrankd (Reply 15):
So, are you saying that Americans need to be willing to pay more for a ticket in order to receive a better experience? What should that experience include? More room through coach, better IFE?

Yes I am saying exactly that. Airlines make money based on fare & load (yield). If potential load goes down because of more room between seats (fewer total seats), then fares should go up to compensate. Take hotels, higher end hotels tend to provide a better guest experience (also a time limited commodity). There are price driven challenges in that industry too, but they've done a better job of using offerings to differentiate (including breakfast, free wifi, etc).

What should be included is not up to me. I choose to spend my money with a primary airline. When they don't fly to my destination I choose an alliance partner. I know that I am paying more than the lowest fare the vast majority of the time, but I am paying for a consistent and fair experience as a passenger. I find value in what I get for what I spend and thus vote with my wallet. I demonstrate my loyalty to a product I know and trust, even if it costs more than another. I also know that I am not the typical passenger in this regard. I find it odd that the public will demonstrate total value over price with other types of products.

I believe that if you want food, end of bag fees, more leg room, more toys because you are easily bored (known as IFE to others), etc. then I believe you need to be willing to pay for it. Nothing in life is free. The airlines realized that they will lose passengers during the booking process based on price alone, so they added fees for these items post booking. Passengers have largely been consistent that ticket price is the sole factor in choosing flights and the airlines have become locked into a vicious cycle with the pax on this. Speaks to my point earlier about culture of value for the cost.

Quoting Tigerguy (Reply 16):
In many cases, we are fortunate to have these (generally) affordable fares. Now, I'm not saying that fares should skyrocket across the board. However, the principle should apply that I can't pay a bargain-basement price and then moan and groan when I'm not given a Mercedes.

Yes. We have been spoiled by fares that are loss leaders. Passengers have developed a culture of false expectations and then regularly whine. It has also contributed to unreasonable demands.

Here are a few examples of things that the public has brought us:

1) Super complex number of fares/rules/restrictions. It's about the psychology. I need to think I am getting a better deal than you. A fair product for a fare price doesn't work much in this industry (exceptions noted in my original post).

2) Complain about the food when it was offered. Complain when it went away. You don't walk into an NYC restaurant, eat a meal, and walk out in LA. Airlines are about transportation, generally not places you go to eat. I will stipulate to the need to offer food for flights over a certain length, etc.

3) Increased challenges redeeming FF miles. Because a huge number of miles are earned via non-flight activity you've got tons of people wanting to redeem miles (and always at the lowest rates - we like our "free" stuff). I know the airlines make money on selling the miles to affiliated businesses, but the redemption has to have limits to keep balance in the program. Plus the idea that started as a way to build loyalty in truly frequent flyers has now become another psychological game. If you earned 100,000 miles without stepping on a plane then you aren't a frequent flyer.

4) Slightest delay and pax think they are entitled to a full refund. Not so much. I know you are important, but the world does not actually revolve around you.

We can't let the passenger off the hook as a key variable in this discussion.

As I said to introduce my original post - IMHO.



I want to live in an old and converted 727...
User currently offlinedirtyfrankd From United States of America, joined Apr 2011, 196 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (3 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 5279 times:

I think you guys have made some excellent observations.

But, for the moment, let's disregard domestic travel for argument's sake and just focus on international travel. AA (an airline that I actually like and fly on every week), has a very inferior Y product on their international fleet, especially on the 752s and 763s. I've flown international on UA in their 772 or 77E (can't remember which one it was now), and I've flown in their 763s as well and thought the overall experience was very subpar. Haven't flown CO international in a decade and have never flown US international.

As far as I can tell, our US Airlines don't have fares that are necessarily lower than the EYs, EKs, SQs, etc., but the product is very much worse. So, is the average US Consumer still to blame for the fact that our international product is so crappy, or is it that US Airlines need to spend more time and money investing in the overall customer experience for interntional travel (impactful IFE, better meals, etc.)

Thoughts? Let's just stick to international travel for now. This is a very interesting conversation to me, want to keep your ideas flowing.

EDIT: This post was mainly a follow-on to Tiger and Planeguy's observations.

[Edited 2011-08-09 11:23:55]

User currently offlineCoal From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 2131 posts, RR: 10
Reply 19, posted (3 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 5206 times:

I doubt this is the case at EK and QR (having had a chat to FAs on a few flights), but at SQ there seems to be a huge sense of pride. I really cannot remember the last time, if ever, I heard an employee of a US airline being proud of what they did (incidentally, some of the best crews I found on UA were the SIN-based crews). I think if you are not passionate about what you do for a living, it will definitely show.

Cheers
Coal



Nxt Flts: SQ SYD-SIN-DEL-SIN-SYD | VA SYD-DPS-SYD
User currently offlineburnsie28 From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 7565 posts, RR: 8
Reply 20, posted (3 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 5119 times:

A lot of it has to do with the size of the airline as well, as all those mentioned above are no where near the size of the likes of DL, UA, BA, LH etc.


"Some People Just Know How To Fly"- Best slogan ever, RIP NW 1926-2009
User currently offlineCitationJet From United States of America, joined Mar 2003, 2469 posts, RR: 3
Reply 21, posted (3 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days ago) and read 5094 times:

Quoting dirtyfrankd (Thread starter):
Why is it that these airlines are able to offer such a superior product to the US Airlines

The exact same question can be asked in the cruise industry.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 4):
Exacting standards and tough employee discipline to maintain those standards.

Also for the most part a energized younger workforce particularly in customer facing positions, who come in and do the job for a few years and move on, not career employees.

I have taken over 20 cruises in my life (Carnaval, Holland, Royal Carribean, Disney, Regent, Sea Dream, Princess). 19 of the cruises involved foreign destinations, which means that the ship's crew do not have to be Americans. The foreign employees consistently provide a high level of service. Philippean cabin stewards are the best.

The one cruise I took that was entirely domestic itinerary was an inter-island cruise within Hawaii on NCL-America. Because the itinerary did not include a foreign port, the laws require that the ship's crew be all Americans. It was the worst cruise experince of any cruise I have been on in 20 years. Poor service, not very clean ship, the dining room staff and waiters looked like Walmart greeters. I will never take a cruise ship that has Americans as cabin and dining employees ever again. We were escorting a business incentive group on this trip, and none of the details in the group contract were met. We had to complain to the onboard group coordinator and ship's officers to get things done correctly and per the group's signed contract. We have never experienced that with foreign (non-American) crews.

[Edited 2011-08-12 12:21:00]


Boeing Flown: 701,702,703;717;720;721,722;731,732,733,734,735,737,738,739;741,742,743,744,747SP;752,753;762,763;772,773.
User currently offlinedirtyfrankd From United States of America, joined Apr 2011, 196 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (3 years 4 months 1 week 6 days ago) and read 4973 times:

Having asked so many questions, I guess it is time that I finally offer some type of solution or ideas.

One idea that I have would be for airlines to follow some of the steps that Domino's pizza has started following recently. For those of you who are not familiar with what Domino's is doing...everytime you order a pizza, you now have the ability to go online and "track" that pizza as well as give feedback on the whole process (ordering experience, timeliness of delivery, taste of pizza, etc.). I would assume that the ratings that are sent back are now built into the performance metrics of all of the employees.

I think it would be great for airlines to follow this practice. What they could do, is for every flight, allow the passengers to go online, enter in the flight number, and then give feedback on the whole experience. From the cleanliness of the flight, to the timeliness, ground service, service on board, etc. These ratings should be built into people's metrics and their performance ratings should be driven, to a certain extent, by these metrics.

In the US, and I'm guessing in other places, everything is based off of seniority. I'm not saying that we should scrap that system altogether, but there should definitely be a performance component that determines 'promotions', raises, bonuses, etc. And yes, this means that airlines would definitely have to re-think the way they compensate their employees.

Thoughts?


User currently offlinelonghauler From Canada, joined Mar 2004, 5164 posts, RR: 43
Reply 23, posted (3 years 4 months 1 week 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 4931 times:

The Asian carriers you mention certainly have an excellent reputation for service. That is expected from a passenger right from the point of booking to the point of baggage retrieval. They are giving the Customer what the Customer wants. That is good business.

The same thing for North American carriers. They are giving the Customer what the Customer wants .... a cheap, safe flight from A to B. That is why I agree with this statement:

Quoting planeguy727 (Reply 14):
IMHO I put this back on the American people.

If you make purchasing decisions only on price then you can't be surprised when those businesses provide only what can be sustained for that price (and yes, one can argue that prices today don't really sustain the airlines). You simply don't get things for "free."

As well noted above, several North American carriers have offered a (more expensive) better Customer experience, but it did NOT result in either a higher yield, or a consumer preference. It is price .. by a very wide margin.

But.

Looking at your age, I am guessing you are not familiar with one hard fact. There WAS a time when US carriers offered the best service on the earth. Yup! I remember excellent service in American or United on domestic flights. Great coach experience (Coach Lounges) and absolutely first rate First Class service. I remember the International product of Pan American and TWA that was better than any one ... yup, BETTER than BOAC, Air France, Singapore, Cathay, etc!

The "boutique" concept of some US domestic carriers made them very unique. Braniff doesn't need explanation, but how about the high end Coach service of .. say Republic, Ozark and Midwest Express. All first rate.

So what you don't know, is that it is not that US carriers can not provide 5 star service, they most certainly can, and have ... it is that is NOT what the Customer wants. Coach lounges, full meals, lots of leg room, large seats are very very expensive, and lets face it ... the average American wont pay for it.



Never gonna grow up, never gonna slow down .... Barefoot Blue Jean Night
User currently offlinedirtyfrankd From United States of America, joined Apr 2011, 196 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (3 years 4 months 1 week 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 4908 times:

Quoting longhauler (Reply 23):
The Asian carriers you mention certainly have an excellent reputation for service. That is expected from a passenger right from the point of booking to the point of baggage retrieval. They are giving the Customer what the Customer wants. That is good business.

The same thing for North American carriers. They are giving the Customer what the Customer wants .... a cheap, safe flight from A to B. That is why I agree with this statement:

Quoting planeguy727 (Reply 14):
IMHO I put this back on the American people.

If you make purchasing decisions only on price then you can't be surprised when those businesses provide only what can be sustained for that price (and yes, one can argue that prices today don't really sustain the airlines). You simply don't get things for "free."

As well noted above, several North American carriers have offered a (more expensive) better Customer experience, but it did NOT result in either a higher yield, or a consumer preference. It is price .. by a very wide margin.

But.

Looking at your age, I am guessing you are not familiar with one hard fact. There WAS a time when US carriers offered the best service on the earth. Yup! I remember excellent service in American or United on domestic flights. Great coach experience (Coach Lounges) and absolutely first rate First Class service. I remember the International product of Pan American and TWA that was better than any one ... yup, BETTER than BOAC, Air France, Singapore, Cathay, etc!

The "boutique" concept of some US domestic carriers made them very unique. Braniff doesn't need explanation, but how about the high end Coach service of .. say Republic, Ozark and Midwest Express. All first rate.

So what you don't know, is that it is not that US carriers can not provide 5 star service, they most certainly can, and have ... it is that is NOT what the Customer wants. Coach lounges, full meals, lots of leg room, large seats are very very expensive, and lets face it ... the average American wont pay for it.

I agree with you, to a certain extent, and I think what you are saying is mostly right when it comes to Domestic travel. However, when it comes to international travel, we can get a much better product with some of the foreign airlines for the same price or less than what we would get with an AA, UA, DL, US, etc.


25 longhauler : You are correct. Yet ... is that what the Customer wants? If tens of thousands of passengers travel on American carriers on international flights, ev
26 RyanairGuru : In a sense that seems to be part of the problem: customer facing staff at American legacy carriers (and to a lessor extent European ones) are not mot
27 airport1970 : Easy. Compare the fares. Simple. You pay for what you get.
28 longhauler : And if it made a difference on the bottom line it would be fixed. But it doesn't, so it isn't. Let's face it, Americans are getting exactly the airli
29 CitationJet : I agree, the airlines could do much more without spending any more money. My wife worked for AA for 12 years in the 1980's and early 90's. A few year
30 dirtyfrankd : I disagree. The fares on the superior airlines isn't any higher than the fares of US Carriers.
31 dirtyfrankd : Don't you think there is so much more that we could offer from a service perspective that doesn't necessarily drive up the price that you would have
32 RyanairGuru : I'd say it was hurting the bottom line. If BD338 doesn't mind me using him as an example... Personally, I can say for myself that UA would have to be
33 longhauler : You think so? We'll use your example of United Airlines. They posted a USD 1.6B net profit in 2010. Clearly they are giving the Customer, and the sha
34 something : Since the ''free market'' USA doesn't really give away 5th freedom traffic rights, there's no comparison on a domestic level but internationally, Ame
35 Lufthansa411 : There has been a lot of good points made so far, but to me It is all about the "mix" that an airline has between balancing demands v. cost and tailori
36 something : Stipulating there are 40 paying business class passengers on a flight, how would 2 additional flight attendants cost ''several hundred Euro'' per pas
37 Quokka : While I agree that employees yield more revenue than they cost, I wonder how you arrive at the 1% figure. For the year 2010 EK (for example) stated e
38 something : It was a rough estimate. I know what flight attendants at AB, AF and EK make effectively at the end of the month and I know what it costs to move a 7
39 Quokka : This is the saddest part about it. Because the CEO and the top level don't really care about the whole experience it travels down to those who actual
40 something : The problem is that many companies in America don't feel any obligation or responsibility towards their employees. The dictum is ''shareholder value'
41 Lucce : I think the major difference between European and Asian airlines and the American ones is the crew, as stated many times before. Correct me if I am wr
42 dirtyfrankd : Ultimately, everything has to get tied back to compensation, because that is really what employees think about. So start a customer survey type progra
43 Quokka : While there is no doubt that remuneration is important, research conducted in the UK a few years ago showed that pay is not the sole issue affecting
44 WN738 : It should be interesting to see of this remains true once the new DOT regulations regarding the display of hidden fees go into effect; the US Airline
45 Post contains images WN738 : Not Necessarily. You can often pay more ona lecagy than WN or B6 (NOT ALWAYS) and you DEFINATELY get more in Y class than with any other US carrier;
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