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Airlines Can't Count On Customer Loyalty  
User currently offlineBoomBoom From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (7 years 12 months 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 3111 times:

Quote:
Brand loyalty has become less of a priority as carriers believe that price is what more and more customers care about.

The decline in travelers who stick with a single carrier is a by-product of sweeping industry changes triggered by the weakening of popular frequent flyer programs, the rise of low-cost carriers and the restructuring of major airlines.

Experts say travelers are spoiled by cheap flights and that the low-fare revolution has made price the main — and sometimes only — consideration for customers.

“For the first time, this industry is consumer driven,” Mitchell said. “The consumer has said very often and loudly where the price points are.”

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12408200/from/RSS/

35 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineCkfred From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 5064 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (7 years 12 months 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 3031 times:

To some extent, consumers today have no brand loyalty at all, whether its air travel, cars, clothes, or food. The generation that fought WWII is very brand loyal. My father has driven nothing but GM cars. His business attire was Hart, Schaffner & Marx suits, Arrow shirts, and Florsheim shoes His hand tools are all Craftsman.

Growing up, families in Chicago either shopped at Marshall Field's or Carson's, Sears or Ward's, Jewel or Dominick's.

Now, people are very much price oriented. Friends of mine are loyal consumers of Japanese cars, but they aren't loyal to any one brand. One friend of mine has a Toyota and a Honda. They replaced a Mazda and a Nissan.

With regards to air travel, I do think it somewhat depends on how much people travel. For people who fly more than 25,000 a year, they are probably inclined to stay with one airline, since they can get elite status and accumulate free trips faster than if they fly several different airlines.

This article shows, though, that airlines potentially can get repeat business, if they do try to come up with a higher level of service or something that is unique.

My wife stays mostly at Marriott hotels, but it didn't matter whether it was Marriott, Residence Inn, Courtyard, Springhill Suites, or Fairfield. Since Marriott has started to replace mattresses and bedding, she nows tries to stay only at Marriotts.

Why? Because every bed has 7 pillows. I can't explain it. She can't either. But the fact that Marriott has put extra pillows in guest rooms has her staying at more expensive hotels.

The airlines ought to take a lesson from the hotel industry.


User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 22299 posts, RR: 20
Reply 2, posted (7 years 12 months 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 3017 times:

Quoting Ckfred (Reply 1):

With regards to air travel, I do think it somewhat depends on how much people travel. For people who fly more than 25,000 a year, they are probably inclined to stay with one airline, since they can get elite status and accumulate free trips faster than if they fly several different airlines.

I think you've sort of beaten around a problem that carriers are having with brand loyalty: I'm a NW elite, and I'll fly 25,000 miles this year. I'm looking at flights to Europe this summer. What incentive do I really have to book on NW over KL, AF, CO, or DL? I want my miles, so I stay away from BA, LH, AA, or UA, but if I am getting miles and miles are all that keeps me loyal, I have no incentive to choose NW specifically. This is a problem for NW, because this is the highest-revenue travel I'll do this year, but because of the lack of upgrades on international flights, my biggest incentive to fly NW is gone.

The problem, in a nutshell is this: I'm brand loyal, but the brand extends in concentric circles. There's NW. There are things I love about NW that keep my flying NW. Then there are the close partners, KL and CO. I can get upgrades on CO and seamless transfers to KL at AMS, so there are benefits. Then there is Skyteam. I still get my miles, but there are fewer benefits. In an even broader ring, there are the WorldPerks partners, like CM. Who does this "brand loyalty" indicate loyalty to?



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlineCRGsFuture From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 536 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (7 years 12 months 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 2997 times:

Well I think alliances have hindered the brand loyalty. It has gone from one airline to one alliance. Instead of saying I fly NW, most people are saying I fly Sky Team, or Star, or OneWorld. The idea of loyalty brand is disappearing and the main shift is now alliances.

Airlines need to either do one of two things.
1) Get rid of alliances, make every airline focus on their customers and a few supplementary airline partners.

2)Have alliances have seem less integration all the way around, to allow people to choose that brand of alliance and their carriers.



Flying you to your destination; your girlfriend to her dreams.
User currently offlineZvezda From Lithuania, joined Aug 2004, 10511 posts, RR: 64
Reply 4, posted (7 years 12 months 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 2961 times:

The decrease in brand loyalty is a good thing. It means increased competition, which results in better service and lower prices. Instead of competing only for new customers, airlines must increasingly compete for every flight. Of course, the airlines don't like that, because it narrows profit margins, but it's great for consumers.

User currently offlineHPRamper From United States of America, joined May 2005, 3963 posts, RR: 8
Reply 5, posted (7 years 12 months 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 2795 times:

Quoting Zvezda (Reply 4):
It means increased competition, which results in better service and lower prices.

The lower prices occur at the EXPENSE of better service.

The only loyalty the customers have anymore is to the almighty dollar. Or Euro, or what have you.


User currently offlineDartland From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 642 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (7 years 12 months 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 2784 times:
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Quoting Ckfred (Reply 1):
The airlines ought to take a lesson from the hotel industry.

Exactly -- hotels are beating airlines at their own game! Loyalty marketing started 25 years ago with AAdvantage and now hotels have much better loyalty than airlines. Look at the stats -- it's unbelievable. Since Starwood Preferred Guest program, the number of repeat customers at Starwood hotels has gone up dramatically!

Part of the problem is that price has become more of a factor in choosing airline -- yes. As a result, FFPs have become less effective at keeping customer share of wallet. But that has led to airlines investing less on FFPs to keep costs down, which in turn, reduced the impact of FFPs, and so on. It is a negative feedback loop.

That doesn't mean that it can't be reversed. It is possible (note I am postulating here, not predicting) that if 1 airline reversed their actions, invested in their FFP to make it differentiated from the others, they could reverse the trend by wooing back frequent fliers who would choose them due to loyalty.

But -- surveys show that the number 1 factor in chosing airline is price, followed by schedule, and only #3 is loyalty/FFP -- so there you go. How much that is changeable is up for debate.

Personally, I think the advent of the internet forced this along (for all industries). It used to be much more difficult to find out who the cheapest provider of any service was -- so you were more inclined to go with whoever you were used to and loyal to. Nowadays, it is so easy to price comparison shop, that it is easier to allow price to be the #1 factor (e.g. if the so-called "loyal" generations could do what we can do today, they may not have been as loyal either!)


User currently offlineCongaboy From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 352 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (7 years 12 months 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 2784 times:

Two major factors from the perspective of someone who travels alot:
1/ As the article points out, what good are the miles if you cant use them in a manner that's convenient to traveller? So I can accumulate 2000 miles on my next business trip and get to 60,000 to travel to Asia...but there are no seats available for months. Now the miles dont really mean squat, so price wins.
2/ For those who travel on business, the choice is being made more so now by the corporation, and not by the individual through travel policies that mandate cost savings...so if UA is more expensive, and you are Mileage Plus, too bad. You will fly the LCC that has the lower fare.

Bottom line: loyalty is not enough by itself



"Joey, you like movies about gladiators?"
User currently offlineJcavinato From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 519 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (7 years 12 months 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 2766 times:

My defections from airlines I had built up miles on and had elite status was usually driven from sudden drops in service quality. Too, I was Chairman's Preferred on US continuously from the year they started it. I never sent letters to companies, but I was quite upset with a couple of things that happened on US in winter 2001/02. I wrote to the then president (R. Gangwall). My letter was friendly with two major complaints (in very nice words) and constructively things that could be considered for the company to correct them for travelers. I never got a return reply. I later sent a copy to Consumer Affairs, and here, too, I did not get even a stock letter of thanks/apology, etc. In 2000 and 2001 my revenue for that company was $110,000 and $105,000 respectively.

So, a full fare revenue trip to Rome on them with my wife last time flew on USAirways. I let our children work through my 1.5 million miles.

I defected from NWU purely from poorer and poorer service of flights, aircraft condition, and decreases in inflight things on their international first class.


User currently offlineDartland From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 642 posts, RR: 2
Reply 9, posted (7 years 12 months 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 2699 times:
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Quoting Jcavinato (Reply 8):
My defections from airlines I had built up miles on and had elite status was usually driven from sudden drops in service quality. Too, I was Chairman's Preferred on US continuously from the year they started it. I never sent letters to companies, but I was quite upset with a couple of things that happened on US in winter 2001/02. I wrote to the then president (R. Gangwall). My letter was friendly with two major complaints (in very nice words) and constructively things that could be considered for the company to correct them for travelers. I never got a return reply. I later sent a copy to Consumer Affairs, and here, too, I did not get even a stock letter of thanks/apology, etc. In 2000 and 2001 my revenue for that company was $110,000 and $105,000 respectively.

So, a full fare revenue trip to Rome on them with my wife last time flew on USAirways. I let our children work through my 1.5 million miles.

I defected from NWU purely from poorer and poorer service of flights, aircraft condition, and decreases in inflight things on their international first class.

Actually, your story refutes the theory of this thread. Never once did you mention price. You changed your preferred airline based on service quality.

So there you go, folks. There ARE things that determine who you fly besides price. For Jcavinato it started as loyalty, and then became service quality.


User currently offline9252fly From Canada, joined Sep 2005, 1381 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (7 years 12 months 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 2662 times:

I don't fully understand why comparisons are made between hotel and airline loyalty. It seems to me that most consumers would be happy to spend a hundred dollars or more for a night at a nice hotel without comparing price so much,yet pick an airline based strictly on price. A few dollars is enough to swing the decision. It seems that most consumers view a flight not so much as an experience,rather it's just a way to get from A to B,like riding the bus to work. A room in a hotel is something very different,you will sleep a bed(perhaps not alone),bath,use the toilet,watch television,etc,. So I find it hard to believe that airlines can garner the same loyalty.

User currently offlineDFORCE1 From Canada, joined Jul 2005, 505 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (7 years 12 months 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 2644 times:

Quoting 9252fly (Reply 10):
So I find it hard to believe that airlines can garner the same loyalty.

WestJet did despite Jetsgo's ridiculously cheap fares and AC fare wars....it's all about customer service.


User currently offlineZvezda From Lithuania, joined Aug 2004, 10511 posts, RR: 64
Reply 12, posted (7 years 12 months 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 2626 times:

Quoting HPRamper (Reply 5):

The lower prices occur at the EXPENSE of better service.

Of course, it's easy to cut costs and prices by cutting service. When that's what consumers want, the airlines that provide it win. That trade-off has nothing to do with how loyal customers are to a brand. When customers are fiercely loyal, a company can have higher prices and worse service but still survive. In an environment when customers are not loyal, a company with higher prices and worse service will not long survive.

Quoting HPRamper (Reply 5):
The only loyalty the customers have anymore is to the almighty dollar.

For some customers that's true. Obviously, it's not true for all customers. CX and SQ still have quite a bit of brand loyalty.


User currently offlineYYZYYT From Canada, joined Apr 2005, 923 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (7 years 12 months 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 2617 times:

Quoting Dartland (Reply 9):
Actually, your story refutes the theory of this thread. Never once did you mention price. You changed your preferred airline based on service quality.

So there you go, folks. There ARE things that determine who you fly besides price. For Jcavinato it started as loyalty, and then became service quality

I read Jcavinato's point as being that airlines are losing loyalty, because they are so blinded by price / cost savings issuess that they lose sight of what makes the FF programs work. Give loyalty and treat customers fairly, and you will get loyalty in return.

I too have bailed on the FF program and airline I used to fly with religiously - over cuts to service and benefits and over the "nickel & diming" customers - including FF's .

I am apparently not the only one who thinks that... there at present two more threads by people who are annoyed:

United's $75 Fee For Using Mileage Plus Miles (by Quickmover Apr 21 2006 in Civil Aviation)

The Great Fuel Surcharge Ripoff! (by Jetfuel Apr 21 2006 in Civil Aviation)

So, if airlines want to treat customers this way, they lose loyalty.

And by the way, I am a person who WILL pay more when I perceive a reason to do so. I have now developed new loyalty to a different airline, that doesn't treat me like crap. It has received my business, even though other airlines have often matched and occasionally beat their price.

Quoting DFORCE1 (Reply 11):
WestJet did despite Jetsgo's ridiculously cheap fares and AC fare wars....it's all about customer service.

exactly. you can still run a cost effective business while providing service.

[Edited 2006-04-21 22:43:56]

User currently offlineBroocy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (7 years 12 months 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 2545 times:

Interesting in that the loyalty, or lack of it, comes from a US consumer's perspective. True, airline travel has become a commodity, but airlines that offer superior customer service do have loyal customers. When I was a travel agent, SQ had a loyal following of customers. The quality of service has been a strength that has got SQ through crisis after crisis by continually attracting repeat customers. They could attract a small price premium as well for their product.

When the product is paired back to the bare minimum, which is what is happening in the US, there are fewer discernable differences to chose an airline and thus price becomes one of the leading considerations. To me the mainline carriers have become indiscernable from each other in the US. Only Jetblue, Southwest and some of the exotic smaller airlines like Aloha or Alaskan seem to offer anything truly different.

US airlines seem to be forgetting an important business fact. People like buying from people (or companies) they like. Customers may appreciate lower costs, but what they really want is value for money. There is a difference.


User currently offlineBond007 From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 5341 posts, RR: 8
Reply 15, posted (7 years 12 months 1 day ago) and read 2531 times:

Quoting 9252fly (Reply 10):
I don't fully understand why comparisons are made between hotel and airline loyalty. It seems to me that most consumers would be happy to spend a hundred dollars or more for a night at a nice hotel without comparing price so much,yet pick an airline based strictly on price.

Correct, there are just too many factors in deciding a hotel and price is just one of many. There are rarely 2 or more hotels that compare exactly except for price...for airlines the one comparison is often price. Service and location are much more important factors in choosing a hotel - For airlines, often level of service is not even taken into account.


Jimbo



I'd rather be on the ground wishing I was in the air, than in the air wishing I was on the ground!
User currently offline9252fly From Canada, joined Sep 2005, 1381 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (7 years 12 months 1 day ago) and read 2494 times:

Quoting DFORCE1 (Reply 11):
WestJet did despite Jetsgo's ridiculously cheap fares and AC fare wars....it's all about customer service

Don't forget that Jetsgo contributed to Westjet's loss last year. Again I stand by what I said. Consumers a loyal to their pocket-book first. I'm surprised how many people I know fly Westjet purely based on price and fall for the perceived gimmick marketing. When asked if they compare prices,the answer is no,because Westjet is the always the cheapest. They are surprised to find that a competitor will just as often sell them the same fare for less. A common complaint about Air Canada seems to be the cuts in service. The reality is that times have changed and LCC have created an expectation of low fares,to which AC has no choice but to respond(consumers loyalty is to themselves!),so they must and need to change their products and services to be in-line with the fares consumers are willing to pay. The biggest problem is many of services effected by cut-backs,are a throw-back to a different era and consumers still expect the same services for less money. It's a bit of a no-win situation for the old legacy carriers.


User currently offlineAcidradio From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 1866 posts, RR: 10
Reply 17, posted (7 years 12 months 20 hours ago) and read 2412 times:
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FORUM MODERATOR

Why should there be loyalty for the most part? What is there to be loyal to? To the consumer, the US airline product as a whole is pretty much the same from airline to airline. Same sized seats and similar kinds of service. Same kinds of aircraft. The only real differentiating aspect is PRICE. When the only differentiating factor of a product is price, it is a COMMODITY. With a commodity, everything is interchangeable and alike. For example, corn is a commodity. The corn from Farmer Bob's farm is going to be just like the corn from Farmer Bill's farm, I can use every kernel interchangeably, and there is a LOT of that corn available.

There is slight differentiation in the F product, but nothing to write home about. Years ago, yes, there were differences. Airlines, especially in the days of regulation, could only compete with service and not by price so they all had to do something to dazzle the passengers.

What could an airline do to break the monotony and NOT provide a commodity-level service? Big seats, sizeable pitch, all first-class seating, actual hot meals, actual good meals, free alcohol, attractive flight attendants, hot towels, in-flight bar, in-flight masseuse, souvenirs from the plane and even specific flight (I have some very vintage "See Manchester, Only on PanAm" highball glasses I found). Did I just dream this? Nope, it all took place back in the glory days of air travel. Some airlines have tried to recreate this, but it landed them nowhere but in financial ruin.

I hate to say, but the American airline consumer, no matter how much they hypocritically whine, has voted for what they want - cheap point A to point B transportation.



Ich haben zwei Platzspielen und ein Microphone
User currently offlineIkramerica From United States of America, joined May 2005, 21413 posts, RR: 60
Reply 18, posted (7 years 12 months 19 hours ago) and read 2399 times:

Quoting Congaboy (Reply 7):
1/ As the article points out, what good are the miles if you cant use them in a manner that's convenient to traveller? So I can accumulate 2000 miles on my next business trip and get to 60,000 to travel to Asia...but there are no seats available for months. Now the miles dont really mean squat, so price wins.

Exactly. I am seeing this more and more on all airlines. They used to only have one type of reward ticket. Then some started with 'off peak' and 'peak' to ask for more miles. Then, they increased the number of miles you'd need across the board. They made upgrades harder to use on anything but full Y fares.

Then they started with the 'unrestricted' type of award, at twice the mileage price, so you could fly whenever you wanted, since they had restricted standard FF seats so badly nobody could otherwise fly. Then they called what used to be called standard awards 'saver' and other words that were meant to imply that you were somehow getting a deal.

Then, even the unrestricted FF seats started to have capacity controls! Which really turned them into what the FF awards used to be like 20 years ago, at over twice the mileage, while the original awards are now almost impossible to get, no matter how far in advance you book, especially if you live in a major market.

Now, the only time the miles matter to me is if they can bring me to elite status. But as more and more people reach elite, upgrades get harder to get, even on elite. Though at least I can buy full Y ticket and get an F seat out of plus lots of extra miles.

Once they start restricting the perks elites can get (and it's slowly happening), watch the loyalty of even the most frequent travelers go out the window.

Quoting Dartland (Reply 9):
Actually, your story refutes the theory of this thread. Never once did you mention price. You changed your preferred airline based on service quality.

The article says that loyalty decreased because of many factors. Once a customer no longer feels loyal, then they think mostly about price. While they cite other factors, the "experts" then say the consumer is spoiled by cheep flights.

not true. they are spoiled by having the product that costs more no longer being worth more. nickle and dimed everywhere with nothing to show for it, the consumer is going to stop caring.

but if customers like the service and product, they will overpay. look at places like outback steakhouse or olive garden. always long lines, food is overpriced compared to a lot of other places, but people like the product and return.

people like the experience of starbucks and petes and coffee bean despite being overpriced, and they return.

people no longer like the experience of air travel in any way, so they are price conscious. if airlines made attempts to make the airtravel experience good from curbside to curbside like it once was, they might change their minds...

Quoting YYZYYT (Reply 13):
And by the way, I am a person who WILL pay more when I perceive a reason to do so.

so will I. I pay for quality. I hate wasting money. there's a difference.



Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
User currently offlineCkfred From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 5064 posts, RR: 1
Reply 19, posted (7 years 12 months 17 hours ago) and read 2352 times:

Quoting Congaboy (Reply 7):
2/ For those who travel on business, the choice is being made more so now by the corporation, and not by the individual through travel policies that mandate cost savings...so if UA is more expensive, and you are Mileage Plus, too bad. You will fly the LCC that has the lower fare

I tend to find that most Fortune 500 companies tend to go with the legacy carriers, because of the greater number of destinations that they serve.

You also tend to find that companies that have HQs or large offices at a hub often go with that airline for their primary carrier. My wife works for a company that is based in Cincinatti, so the preferred carrier is DL. But, only those who are based on CVG or ATL have to fly Delta.

A friend of mine used to work for Abbott Labs, which is based north of Chicago, so the preferred carrier has been either AA or UA, becasue they litterally send people around the world.

Here's another interesting point. Many companies use travel agents and have dedicated websites. My wife's company has one, and it won't pull up Southwest. Once, my wife found AA was 6 times what WN was charging, but she had to call the travel agent, and the agent had to call Southwest to book the reservation. So, the agent actually charged more, because of the "manual" work needed to make the reservation.

So, my wife had to note on her expense account that the extra $15 for the agent saved $1000 in air fare.

But remember that her loyalty to AA is not just the hard-to-get upgrades. It's the fact that she gets to board with Group 1, use the First-class check-in, and use the First-class security checkpoint, which can save a lot of time at ORD, and booking exit row seats on the website.


User currently offlineJcavinato From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 519 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (7 years 12 months 6 hours ago) and read 2218 times:

Ckfred's points are right on.

The thing about the boarding Group 1, first class check in, first class security, and exit row selection on the web site is the same as little privileges that are given to trusted prisoners (and called 'trustees' in major prisons). The environment in air travel has dropped so much with crowds, security hassles, etc., that we've been reduced to appreciate the only things left that are little and pathetic privilege trinkets.


User currently offlineDartland From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 642 posts, RR: 2
Reply 21, posted (7 years 12 months 4 hours ago) and read 2176 times:
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Quoting Broocy (Reply 14):
SQ had a loyal following of customers. The quality of service has been a strength that has got SQ through crisis after crisis by continually attracting repeat customers. They could attract a small price premium as well for their product.

The US industry can't repeat this because flights are too short and there is too much competition (especially from LCC).

That being said, I truly think this trend can be reversable -- or rather, there is room for 1 major US airline to take the "premium" approach and demand higher fares so long as the perceived value is more. I know UA has thought about going this route, and I think it's smart.

Air travel does not have to be a commodity. In fact, it is less of a commodity than people might think. Last week I was waiting for a flight at JFK (DL/Song) and this guy sitting next to me was telling someone else that last time he flew his 3-year old daughter pointed outside the window at a B6 plane and said "are we flight Jetblue? I hope so because I love their TVs". I realize the 3-year old is not paying for the flight -- but if a 3-year old can differentiate between B6 and other airlines -- that is a sign of the power that B6's differntiation has. Does that mean they can command higher fares? Who knows. I would argue maybe. Remember, they are low cost, not low fare.

And as for elite status benefits -- YES, YES and YES! Upgrades are great, but priority check-in, security and boarding are HUGE conveniences! Like was said above, loyalty still does exist if you travel enough to get elite status, and frankly, those are the best customers anyways. It turns out for many airlines that generating loyalty among occasional leisure and VFR travelers is likely not profitable. But of course would mean that airlines should drop benefits for non-elite members and INCREASE benefits for elite members. Unfortunately, not sure they are getting that message since benefits seem to be dropping across the board.


User currently offlineJcavinato From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 519 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (7 years 12 months 3 hours ago) and read 2136 times:

Dartland, well articlated.

User currently offlineBroocy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 23, posted (7 years 12 months ago) and read 2098 times:

Quoting Dartland (Reply 21):
The US industry can't repeat this because flights are too short and there is too much competition (especially from LCC).

Sorry, but I feel this is a bit of an a.net myth as the facts differ. Many of SQ's regional flights are short in nature, only about 1-2 hours in the air to places like MNL, BKK, SGN, DPS, JKT etc. They operate a 40min shuttle service to KUL as well. Even their services to India, about 4-5 hours, equates to a US transcontinental service or a West Coast-Hawaii flight. SQ has always operated in an open and competitve environment and SIN is the home of LCC's in Asia. Having flown through Changi Airport many times, it is obvious that SQ has to directly compete with a greater variety of airlines than a US domestic carrier ever has to. It's an awesome place to spot a wonderful variety of airlines.

SQ has had decades of competing against government owned airlines and working in restrictive environments which have limited their ability to serve the market in ways that they wish.

They have had to compete by being totally customer focused and giving the customer what they really want or, as is often the case, more than they expect. The SQ example was not to say that good service that garners loyalty automatically equatates to a premium product. It is about attitude, offering something different and being innovative. Look at Southwest or Jetblue, they are more similar to SQ than many realise.


User currently offlineJcavinato From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 519 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (7 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 2061 times:

Attitude is very much a lot of it. And, passengers/customers are drawn to positive energy.

On many domestic flights in the US over the past few years I've had OK experiences, but the cabin crews were beaten up from recent years of pay cuts, work rule changes, etc. This now shows in so many of them who don't make eye contact with passengers, don't smile, do the required service, etc. About half the time I find no one thanking us as we deplane. I've even found this on UAL, NWA and AA on intenational business and first cabins as well.
These trips sometimes seem like high fare bus rides with nice seats, at-seat entertainment, and today only OK food.

These are a far cry from ten years ago.

I have worked in two organizations that went through severe financial trauma, headcount cuts, and more. It's tough on everyone. But, the U.S. airline industry has a way to go to regain the positive vibes it had with passengers in the recent past. If the foreign ownership requirement drops or foreign carriers come into the market, they can make a big difference with the attitude and even minor additions to the service experience. I fear the accountants in the major U.S. carriers have had too long a field day at their cutting work. As any management strategist will tell you, "You can't save yourselves into prosperity."

[Edited 2006-04-23 02:36:09]

25 Ken777 : The pressure on costs and lower ticket fares have put a lot of airlines in a position of cutting back on their FF benefits - sometimes to the point of
26 PSA727 : One thing to remember about brand loyalty and consumers, if you change your brand, don't be surprised if the consumer changes too.
27 TPAnx : Loyalty can be the process of elimination, too. My wife's "lost" reservation, and losing luggage for three people heading for a funeral makes me wonde
28 RB211-524H : I also suspect there's a case of anti/reverse brand loyalty - this is where a customer avoids a certain airline religously after a couple of bad exper
29 DesertAir : For those folks who live in large cities with fortress hubs, loyalty can be forced on them since the dominant airline has non-stops to many cities. Fo
30 Manu : I stay at hotels 1/2 of the year and any hotel that offers me a good sleep will win me over. Price is considered, but 10-20 a night doesn't matter. I
31 MD11Engineer : My girlfriend, whenever she travels back to the Philippines from Ireland, she prefers to fly with SQ, even though there are other airlines offering a
32 Airbazar : Here's how I see it. The premium business traveler segment is shrinking while the leisure segment is increasing. More people than ever are flying toda
33 Post contains links Dartland : Good point. That is why I like AC's "fare families". It puts out all the different fares you can buy on a flight and articulates clearly the incremen
34 AA1818 : I think that people tend to brand loyal if as stated above, they fly often. Same goes when booking hotels, cruises, etc. To say that Alliances such as
35 Broocy : SQ's cost position is that they have to achieve low CASK's as, in order to make their hub operation work, they have to compete against direct flights
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