727EMflyer
Topic Author
Posts: 538
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2005 3:22 am

CO Is A Business, Not An Airline?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 8:33 am

Though I am normally a UA flyer, I recently took a ride on CO (micronesia) HNL-GUM-HNL and was quite intrigued by the atmosphere in the cabin. It is well regarded in this forum that CO is the gold standard for service among U.S. majors, and they have recently been the best off financially. I am wondering if this is because CO views/presents themselves as a strict business, selling a product, rather than an airline, providing air travel?

The things that get me curious about this range from the billboard next to the door as you come down the jetway (looks like a clear advertisement), the slogan "Work hard. Fly right." which obviously puts business first, the welcome video with Larry Kellner first "selling his product" then thanking the pax "for their business" instead of "for flying with them" and later "hoping you will come see us again" instead of flying with them again, and finally the content of the inflight magazine which lacks stories of travel interest but provides a ton of content geared toward a business traveler arriving in NYC.

So is that CO's key? Have they cornered the lucrative business market by being "one of the guy's" with the business traveler while accepting, but not catering to, the leisure market? Thanks for your opinions!
 
GUAMVICE
Posts: 140
Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2005 3:46 am

RE: CO Is A Business, Not An Airline?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 8:48 am

I've never really thought about it that way. I will be completing the same leg of travel in two days (I'm in Guam right now). As far as I'm concerned, CO has always given me the best service on my trips home. I've flown with Northwest through NRT/RJAA, and found the flight attendants exceptionally rude. I remember a time when "Continental Micronesia" graced the sides of the aircrafts. Their motto was, "Fly with the warmth of Paradise." The motto may have been changed, but the service hasn't. So whatever their strategy is, it gets them my money. After all, an airline is a business, is it not?
The two most engaging powers of a photographer are to make new things familiar and to make familiar things new. ~Thacker
 
utapao
Posts: 546
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2005 10:19 pm

RE: CO Is A Business, Not An Airline?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 8:55 am

727EMflyer -

Bingo! Whether CO, or AA or BA or CX or SG... in the 2000's, airlines are a business... period... end of story.
  • If that means some may or may not opt for IFE... they have made a business decision.
  • If they state they cannot afford to serve food, that is a business decision.
  • If they drop a route, it was a business decision
  • If they claim they cannot operate with existing costs... that is a business decision. (If there are inhouse issues with that, then they need to be made known to the public, not fist pounding on Board tables... nothing, obviously, will come of that)

They flying public will then make their choices based on what Airline A offers vs. Airline B... both cost and service.

The employees will make a decision as to whether they can work with the new rules/salaries.

The airlines...as a business... have one bottom line to account for, and one group to whom they are accountable. That is the stockholder (at least for those airlines who are public).

US carriers, for the most part, struggle because they do not "seem" to have a clear, logical business plan (over-simplified, I realize, but bear with me). LCC's know what their market and their target audience is. Charters know where their market and their target audience is. International carriers serving the US, ditto. Freight forwarders know what their market is.

US carriers, for the most part, try to be all things to all people... and that leads to deliverying nothing of value to anyone.

Instead of airlines hiring a bizillion MBA's at huge salaries with absolutely NO experience, and little/no travel experience... perhaps they would be better off trusting their old-timers who know the business and know what the traveler is asking for.

Or... God forbid... they might want to do focus groups, listen to their frequent travelers, listen to their "not-so-frequent" travelers, and decide what their market is.

If you look at the most successful business in the world, they have specific targets. They do NOT try to be all things to all people... and it seems like US carriers suffer from this more than any airline anywhere else in the world.

I am NOT a CO afficianado... but I definitely give them their ups for narrow-body service to smaller markets in Europe... ERJ's to Mexico, etc. They have listened... they have reacted... and they are winning for now.

This is all about Business 101 in school, and not Testosterone 101, which is the logic most airlines continue to operate under.
Sawasdee khrab!
 
AA737-823
Posts: 4898
Joined: Wed Mar 01, 2000 11:10 am

RE: CO Is A Business, Not An Airline?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 9:22 am

I don't want to turn this thread into a rant and rave, but here's why I fly Conti:

Two long trips in the last two weeks.
First, AA CVG-ORD-DFW-ANC.
The ERJ-140 from CVG-ORD did not have an operating lavatory sink. No water would flow. The aircraft had a loud hissing noise coming from behind the lavatory area.

The MD-80 from ORD to DFW was fine. I was frustrated with the airline for canceling my direct flight to Dallas and routing me through Chicago, though, as it really made things tight. But the flight itself was fine.

The 757 from DFW to ANC was a disgrace. The left wing flaps (N631AA) were missing large sections of paint; they were down to the primer. The flaps also had some questionable repair work done to them. Perhaps I am simply unfamiliar with the type of repair completed. But being 75% done with my school's A&P program, you'd think I'd have seen it.
The kickers were the condition of the cabin. My window frame was broken, as was the frame behind mine. And FINALLY, MY SEAT SMELLED OF URINE!!!. Not a pleasant 6.5 hour flight.
Further, I paid five entire dollars for a piece of turkey in a flour tortilla. It wasn't appealing, and was a complete rip-off. Additionally, this was the only food they offered for the duration of the 6+ hour flight.
Finally, the first movie they showed quit halfway into the feature. They messed with it for several minutes, then decided to show something else. Not the world's biggest letdown, but neither does it reflect well on the airline.


Trip two:
Continental ANC-IAH-DAL
The ANC-IAH leg was serviced by a 737-824 with winglets. The cabin was comfortable and clean. I tried my hardest, but found no urine odor anywhere. Everything was in working order, including the lavs and the passenger service units. They showed TWO movies, free of charge. They served TWO MEALS, FREE OF CHARGE. Granted, they were smaller than meals once were. But the salad on my dinner (the flight was listed as a 'snack' flight) was larger than the turkey wrap AA charged $5 for.
I had an amazing flight. It was one of the best in recent memory.

The flight from IAH to DAL was okay. There was a delay on the ground with the ERJ-135... seems the APU had a problem. But we got off the ground, and made it to Love Field quickly- almost on time. My baggage was delivered in a timely fashion.

Now, after reading all that, you can say it's all about a business decision. And I appreciate this new perspective. I had not considered this to be CO's angle at marketing, but it makes sense.
THAT SAID, I feel like a valued customer at Continental, and I feel like a burden to American Airlines.
So it's not a business decision for me- it's a matter of being respected.
 
planesailing
Posts: 563
Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2005 4:57 am

RE: CO Is A Business, Not An Airline?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 9:24 am

Quoting 727EMflyer (Thread starter):
I am wondering if this is because CO views/presents themselves as a strict business, selling a product, rather than an airline, providing air travel?

I suggest you read "From Worst to First" by Gordon Bethune. You hit the nail on the head about their business attitude, its all outlined in the book.

I am currently reading it and it is a very informative and easy read.
 
BostonGuy
Posts: 484
Joined: Fri Jul 21, 2000 5:49 am

RE: CO Is A Business, Not An Airline?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 9:30 am

Interesting observations you had on CO's communications to it's customers.

Frequently really small details count for a great deal with customers. Being very strategic with the words used in customer communications is one small detail many companies overlook.

Not sure if what you observed is making a difference, but it sure wouldn't surprise me if it was.
 
User avatar
garpd
Posts: 2308
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 9:29 am

RE: CO Is A Business, Not An Airline?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 9:32 am

I flew CO from EDI to EWR then to PBI and onwards to NAS, operated by 757, 757 and B1900D repsectively. I could not fault their service. Even though on arrival at EWR I found I had missed mt connection to FLL. They reconnected me within 20 minutes (Everyone on my flight had connections so there was a queue).

Onboard service was fabulous, terminal services were good. You realy felt respected and treated like a paying passenger, not just another schmoe transiting through their turf.

My flights homes, NAS-FLL-EWR-EDI were also great.

All round good service, good food and happy crew/staff. I think thats part of the reason they are doing so well.
arpdesign.wordpress.com
 
ikramerica
Posts: 13762
Joined: Mon May 23, 2005 9:33 am

RE: CO Is A Business, Not An Airline?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 10:10 am

Quoting 727EMflyer (Thread starter):
Larry Kellner first "selling his product" then thanking the pax "for their business" instead of "for flying with them" and later "hoping you will come see us again" instead of flying with them again, and finally the content of the inflight magazine which lacks stories of travel interest but provides a ton of content geared toward a business traveler arriving in NYC.

Larry is continuing Gordon's tradition here of introducing himself before every flight and explaining about the airline.

As for the magazine, it varies as to business vs. travel content.

It will always focus on NYC, IAH, or CLE as well any new routes they fly. When they started mainland China service, they had articles about destinations in China, same for the added Germany services. And of course articles about golf and business advances and such, because frankly, the business traveler is the one flying the route enough to be bored enough to read the magazine. The business traveler has seen all the inflight movies already (CO doesn't vary them as much as other airlines, but they are free).

But I think the communication between staff and customer at CO is very strong. When departing late, there is almost always an explanation of why. The captain will also let you know if they still plan to arrive on time and the exact time they expect to get into the gate, as well as any further delays, all good business practice. And rebooking is so much easier at CO than I've experienced at AA and DL.
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
lincoln
Posts: 3133
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2004 11:22 pm

RE: CO Is A Business, Not An Airline?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 10:37 am

Quoting Planesailing (Reply 4):
I suggest you read "From Worst to First" by Gordon Bethune. You hit the nail on the head about their business attitude, its all outlined in the book.

After you finish from Worst to Frist, I can strongly recommend "Hard Landing: The Epic Contest for Power and Profits That Plunged the Airlines into Chaos" by Thomas Petzinger, Jr... while the book is nearly as long as the title (including like 200 pages of bibliographic references) it is an excellent history of the airline industry from the beginning through the mid-90s and gives you a very good idea of how everything is connected to everything else going all the way back to the beginning [An area where I feel From Worst to First, Nuts, FlyingHigh, etc. could be better]

To the OP's point... I don't know of any airline that doesn't at some level consider themselves a business  . Continental definately values the semi-frequent to frequent business traveler who is not as sensitive to price as a tourist and as such seems to focus on what business travelers have told them they want [hey, imagine that, an airline that actually reacts when its customers tell them what's on their mind--the reason CO still offers food in flight and why their First Class cabins do just about anything but shrink]

I had more of a point to make re: "Work Hard. Fly Right." when I started, but I got a bit long winded about Hard Landing and forgot.

The root, though, of Continental's success is that they do not take the customer for granted (most of the time). If the customer is unhappy, they at least pretend to be unhappy...they plaster their customer service contact information absolutely everywhere (and who can forget a phone number like 1-800-WE-CARE-2?).

I think the resaon for the customer satisfaction and success is due to the fact that (from what I understand) CO places a very strong emphasis on "Make the customer happy, including bending or breaking rules if you feel that it would be best for the situation" vs. "Here is the rulebook and you will be terminated if you don't follow it to the letter"

They instantly became my favorite airline for in-flight service (I've flown AA, AS, CO, DL, NW, US, UA, WN and others I can't think of at the moment) the first time I flew them and their response to my customer service issue made them my #1 preferred airline. I would be willing to make a nearly infinite number of connections to stay on-line with CO and avoid DL, AA, or even NW.

In short: CO is sucessful because they realize that at the basic level there is nothing forcing the customer to chose CO's product over anyone else.

Lincoln
[The agents I dealt with at CLE the first time were awful... so I wrote a letter. Two weeks later I got a telephone call from "Mr. Kellner's Office" appologizing for the problem and assuring me that I should not expect that in the future and gave me a direct number to call "should I have any further concerns". The funny part was I didn't include my phone number in my letter, meaning that not only did someone take the time to READ the letter they also took time to pull up my reservation (or however they found my phone#). I love CO. Long Live CO!]

[Edited 2005-08-22 04:03:04]
CO Is My Airline of Choice || Baggage Claim is an airline's last chance to disappoint a customer || Next flts in profile
 
jetdeltamsy
Posts: 2688
Joined: Tue Nov 14, 2000 11:51 am

RE: CO Is A Business, Not An Airline?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 10:54 am

Gordon Bethune and his Go Forward Plan created a new airline from the inside out.

Continental Airlines is a business, and very much a full-service, global airline.

The people at Contiental have found their niche and figured out how to run an airline profitably. They're just going like hell over there!

Continetal will survive because it is a very well run company.
Tired of airline bankruptcies....EA/PA/TW and finally DL.
 
CO757bos2iah
Posts: 78
Joined: Fri Aug 12, 2005 1:37 am

RE: CO Is A Business, Not An Airline?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 11:01 am

After 9/11 Gordons thought was ..ok..it may cost money to continue meals,but how much will it cost you NOT to ( you may take a chance on customers leaving )

And yes all airlines are a business,all of them have a bottom line when it comes down to it. It's up to each airline on how and what kind of service ,product, etc they put forth.

Finally....I can say it's not lost on the employee's as to how people view us,from your Captain,to the maintenance guy,to the ramper,to the res agent.

I'm sure it's the same with the other airlines. Everyone must feel some sense of pride in their company no matter the difficulties.
Continental Airlines. We span the globe,because the world is your workplace.
 
lincoln
Posts: 3133
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2004 11:22 pm

RE: CO Is A Business, Not An Airline?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 11:27 am

Quoting CO757bos2iah (Reply 10):
I'm sure it's the same with the other airlines. Everyone must feel some sense of pride in their company no matter the difficulties.

No, it isn't, this is what makes Continental somewhat unique. I would venture that the vast majority of employees at the other legacy airlines feel absolutely no sense of ownership -- and therefore have no reason to have pride in -- their airline.

At just about every other legacy airline I've delt with recently, I get the very distinct impression that the employees would be just as (un)happy bagging groceries or washing cars and do not feel like it is *their* airline. If policy says to smile then they smile. If policy doesn't say to smile... I think the majority feel like a cog in a giant machine.

At CO, I get the sense that the vast majority of employees beleive it is their company, and they are empowered to satisfy the customer. This shows in so many ways...Specific examples elude me at the moment, but next time you have a few hours to kill at an airport, spend some time sitting next to a CO podium and listening to the agent-traveler interactions. After an hour or so, move on to another legacy carrier's podium and do the same thing.

I'm doing CLE-EWR-CLE in a week and CLE-IAH-ONT-IAH-CLE a week after that... And I'm actually looking forward to it. Not for any of my usual reasons -- equipment type, new airport (although it will be my first time through both EWR and IAH...Looking forward to both, and I hope the IAH-ONT or IAH-CLE segment is overbooked so I have a bit more time to wander around), new airline...or any of the other reasons I have when flying somewhere else but because CO makes traveling enjoyable.

Sure I would love to be an elite (Right now it looks like I'm going to be about 5k-8k miles short because I didn't really get started until June) or get upgrades to First, but even coach is plesant on CO. I've flown for 15 years without a clear preference of airline...just whoever can get me there at a reasonable fare. Now I look CO first-- and usually last.

Lincoln
CO Is My Airline of Choice || Baggage Claim is an airline's last chance to disappoint a customer || Next flts in profile
 
slider
Posts: 6806
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2004 11:42 pm

RE: CO Is A Business, Not An Airline?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 12:34 pm

Quoting Planesailing (Reply 4):
I suggest you read "From Worst to First" by Gordon Bethune. You hit the nail on the head about their business attitude, its all outlined in the book.

Amen- a classic tome, albeit in Gordo folksy speak. But the general business philosophy is very sound.

Quoting CO757bos2iah (Reply 10):
After 9/11 Gordons thought was ..ok..it may cost money to continue meals,but how much will it cost you NOT to ( you may take a chance on customers leaving )

Or, "You can make a pizza so cheap no one will want to eat it."

My department still invokes the old "we're taking cheese off the pizza" line frequently.


CO really has a lot of it figured out. While it's not perfect, the push is usually there to keep striving for it. CO communicates with its employees more extensively than any other company I've worked for, and more than any other airline as well, based on my colleagues I talk to at other carriers.

I think the Go Forward Plan really sums it all up:

Fly to Win-- PRODUCT
Fund the Future-- $$
Make Reliability a Reality-- OPERATION
Working Together-- PEOPLE
 
Tornado82
Posts: 4662
Joined: Thu May 26, 2005 10:19 am

RE: CO Is A Business, Not An Airline?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 1:23 pm

Quoting Lincoln (Reply 11):

Sure I would love to be an elite (Right now it looks like I'm going to be about 5k-8k miles short because I didn't really get started until June) or get upgrades to First, but even coach is plesant on CO. I've flown for 15 years without a clear preference of airline...just whoever can get me there at a reasonable fare. Now I look CO first-- and usually last.

Wow, to the amount of miles you're short, to your start date in OnePass, to your theory of picking your airline... you sound like my clone!  Smile
 
masseybrown
Posts: 4424
Joined: Wed Dec 11, 2002 2:40 pm

RE: CO Is A Business, Not An Airline?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 1:49 pm

Quoting 727EMflyer (Thread starter):
accepting, but not catering to, the leisure market?

That's a fair description. CO intentionally doesn't go after the whole market, just the profitable part, and they schedule accordingly.
 
sidishus
Posts: 488
Joined: Mon Oct 25, 2004 1:45 am

RE: CO Is A Business, Not An Airline?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 2:16 pm

Quoting 727EMflyer (Thread starter):
The things that get me curious about this range from the billboard next to the door as you come down the jetway (looks like a clear advertisement), the slogan "Work hard. Fly right."

Bethune's first career was the navy, and there is a long tradition of painting an "E" on the side of aircraft (and bridgewings of ships) after the Excellence Awards (for battle efficiency, etc.) that are given out anually to the highest scoring unit. Bethune's early days were in "Heavy Attack" and the competion in that world for the "Battle E" was particularly intense. His squadron (VAH-11) won the E when he was attached to it.
Anyway, he borrowed from that tradition and did the same with the JD Power awards on the side of CO's aircraft. Lately, I've noticed they've been putting their advertisements up.

Here is an example of a squadron (this is the Pacific Fleet "Heavy" winner, Bethune's squadron was the Atlantic Fleet winner) proudly dispalying their Battle E...
the truth: first it is ridiculed second it is violently opposed finally it is accepted as self-evident
 
centrair
Posts: 2845
Joined: Thu Jan 13, 2005 3:44 pm

RE: CO Is A Business, Not An Airline?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 2:48 pm

I am convinced that I must fly them. I would love to fly an American carrier and not have material for a comedy skit.

It takes creativity, vision, purpose and a goal to get any business done. Obviously NW, UA, US, AA and DL have done poorly in this department. Maybe they should learn that high quality at a low cost with maximum profit is not bad. Low Quality at a low cost and maximum profit doesn't make good business it makes mediocrity.

Apple computers have always been known as expensive, but the quality and the company's focus has always been well defined. Now they have become popular and they are making some cost reductions to expand their business but they are not losing sight of quality and the vision.

In my business (study abroads)we have stepped back from the "traditional" type attitude and gone with an economically conservative but fun, enjoyable, creative and challenging business model. We have not lost our vision and goals but are far more capable of creating something original that people will buy. Supply and Demand are the basics but if you supply something better at a lower cost it will meet the demand better.
Yes...I am not a KIX fan. Let's Japanese Aviation!
 
AR385
Posts: 6742
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2003 8:25 am

RE: CO Is A Business, Not An Airline?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 3:01 pm

I was sometime ago a gold elite member, and needed to go IAH-NYC over the weekend. I browse through that site (I don't remember the name) where you bid an amount of money for a fare and if you get it you get the fare. Well I got my fare at 55 USD roundtrip IAH-NYC dep.Friday evening ret. Sunday midday.

Call me ambitious but after I got my ticket I called reservations and asked if my seat was upgradeable. The guy "Mike" who took the call, was so rude and sarcastic that it seemed surreal, and, he hung up on me. I was so enraged that I called immediately 1-800-WECARE2 and got a woman on the phone. Right now I don't remember her name but she was sympathetic and nice and UPGRADED me to BUSINESSFIRST, since it was a 777. So, I went to NYC on Businessfirst for 55 USD on a 777.

When I came back I wrote a letter to the airline talking about that woman and how helpful she had been. Two weeks later I get a letter from CO's customer service thanking me for the letter and telling me that they had shared it with the woman and her supervisor. I'm sure she got a nice remark on her file, or maybe even a bonus.

Yes CO is a business that EMPOWERS its employees to actually DECIDE how to resolve a situation. It is not a clone producer. I have a couple more stories but I don't want to bore people

That's why I always fly CO
 
ikramerica
Posts: 13762
Joined: Mon May 23, 2005 9:33 am

RE: CO Is A Business, Not An Airline?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 3:24 pm

Quoting Centrair (Reply 16):
I am convinced that I must fly them. I would love to fly an American carrier and not have material for a comedy skit.

well like most US carriers, economy is 31-32" pitch and no PTVs on the 757, so on a very long flight, I'd be unhappy (I'm tall). But shorter flights, and Business First of any length, is well done on CO. Not luxurious, just comfortable and functional. Food in Y is filling and tasty if not "cuisine" and the food in Business First (and longer First class flights) rivals International First class on many other carriers, though the wine list isn't as long. Doesn't matter to me, as I prefer cocktails to wine.

Anyway, to best get a sense of why people who fly CO are loyal to them, fly them on a 3 hour US domestic flight on a 757 or IFE equipped 737. You'll get a meal, multiple drink runs, a free movie, and a clean airplane. Few carriers in the world can claim all the same for shorter narrowbody flights anymore.
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
Joost
Posts: 1841
Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2005 8:27 pm

RE: CO Is A Business, Not An Airline?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 3:25 pm

Quoting AA737-823 (Reply 3):
I tried my hardest, but found no urine odor anywhere.

Is that a hobby of yours?  Wink
 
MX757
Posts: 495
Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2005 5:38 pm

RE: CO Is A Business, Not An Airline?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 8:01 pm

As a CO employee I would like to thank everybody for there comments and for flying with us. We will keep it up on our end. Thanks.
Is it broke...? Yeah I'll fix it.
 
Tornado82
Posts: 4662
Joined: Thu May 26, 2005 10:19 am

RE: CO Is A Business, Not An Airline?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 9:56 pm

Quoting AR385 (Reply 17):
Well I got my fare at 55 USD roundtrip IAH-NYC dep.Friday evening ret. Sunday midday.

Call me ambitious but after I got my ticket I called reservations and asked if my seat was upgradeable. The guy "Mike" who took the call, was so rude and sarcastic that it seemed surreal, and, he hung up on me. I was so enraged that I called immediately 1-800-WECARE2 and got a woman on the phone. Right now I don't remember her name but she was sympathetic and nice and UPGRADED me to BUSINESSFIRST, since it was a 777. So, I went to NYC on Businessfirst for 55 USD on a 777.

You should have been hung up on for asking for an upgrade on a $55 round trip. They should have "upgraded" you to the cargo hold in my opinion. Actually, you should have never been given that ticket at that price from the get-go. The additional fuel burned because of your ~180 lbs (Operational estimate) weight probably didn't pay for the actual "Fare" CO got out of that after taxes and whatnot.
 
CO757bos2iah
Posts: 78
Joined: Fri Aug 12, 2005 1:37 am

RE: CO Is A Business, Not An Airline?

Mon Aug 22, 2005 10:11 pm

And a big thanks to MX757. Our safety record speaks volumes.
Continental Airlines. We span the globe,because the world is your workplace.
 
Lemurs
Posts: 1320
Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2005 5:13 am

RE: CO Is A Business, Not An Airline?

Tue Aug 23, 2005 12:38 am

Quoting Tornado82 (Reply 21):
You should have been hung up on for asking for an upgrade on a $55 round trip. They should have "upgraded" you to the cargo hold in my opinion. Actually, you should have never been given that ticket at that price from the get-go. The additional fuel burned because of your ~180 lbs (Operational estimate) weight probably didn't pay for the actual "Fare" CO got out of that after taxes and whatnot.

Just because someone else screwed up in the pricing area, or you're envious of his great airfare, doesn't mean he deserves to get treated like crap. Paying customers are just that. Now I agree it seems unlikely he would get upgraded, but that doesn't justify treating him like a burden, ever.

This is what customer service is about. It's a really damned tough job, and people take it for granted.
There are 10 kinds of people in the world; those who understand binary, and those that don't.
 
AR385
Posts: 6742
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2003 8:25 am

RE: CO Is A Business, Not An Airline?

Tue Aug 23, 2005 12:58 am

Tornado82,

Precisely because of what you rudely state, I took the time to write a letter to the airline basically thanking them. The name of the agent who upgraded me was Esther Thorp, by the way.

I really do not understand your reaction.
 
ARGinLON
Posts: 550
Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2005 6:26 pm

RE: CO Is A Business, Not An Airline?

Tue Aug 23, 2005 1:19 am

Quoting AR385 (Reply 17):
was sometime ago a gold elite member, and needed to go IAH-NYC over the weekend. I browse through that site (I don't remember the name) where you bid an amount of money for a fare and if you get it you get the fare. Well I got my fare at 55 USD roundtrip IAH-NYC dep.Friday evening ret. Sunday midday.

Call me ambitious but after I got my ticket I called reservations and asked if my seat was upgradeable. The guy "Mike" who took the call, was so rude and sarcastic that it seemed surreal, and, he hung up on me. I was so enraged that I called immediately 1-800-WECARE2 and got a woman on the phone. Right now I don't remember her name but she was sympathetic and nice and UPGRADED me to BUSINESSFIRST, since it was a 777. So, I went to NYC on Businessfirst for 55 USD on a 777.

55USD RTN IAHEWR? And you got an upgrade? Hmmmm....(sounds fishy)

Give me an idea on when you flew to try to believe what you are saying.
 
Tornado82
Posts: 4662
Joined: Thu May 26, 2005 10:19 am

RE: CO Is A Business, Not An Airline?

Tue Aug 23, 2005 1:37 am

Quoting AR385 (Reply 24):
I really do not understand your reaction.

It's simple, you screwed the system to every extent of the meaning in getting that upgrade. I know damn well that when I'm flying discounted fares that still cost $300ish I'm not worthy of an upgrade, because I didn't earn it yet (not elite yet, just like you) nor did I pay the $800ish upgradeable fare. It's the "Get something for nothing" mentality that you are expressing to the fullest extent.
 
AR385
Posts: 6742
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2003 8:25 am

RE: CO Is A Business, Not An Airline?

Tue Aug 23, 2005 2:15 am

Tornado82,

Stop being so patronizing. I did not buy my ticket at CO, but through a legal website where you bid. When you use that website if you get your bid and can't travel then you lose your money. I did not screw anybody and It was not my intention to do so. I suggest you take all your complaints to the website, I merely used it. On the other hand, I'm used to pay outrageous fares for trips to Mexico. Last time I paid 800 USD for a one way ticket DFW-MTY on AA coach so don't tell me I'm screwing anybody or " the system" Fact is the "market economy" the Western world so much looks a the solution for everything, sometimes works in a way we don't like.

Please stop being so rude to me. This is not personal, it's an anecdote I am relating. I cannot do anything about it but to tell you not to be rude.

ARGinLON

I never lie. It's part of my ethical upbringing. It would be disrectpectful to the other members on the site to tell lies just to get attention. I do not have a scanner, I would put up the letter if I did. The date was some weekend in November 2001
 
avpilot01
Posts: 81
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2005 2:28 am

RE: CO Is A Business, Not An Airline?

Tue Aug 23, 2005 2:16 am

Quoting GuamVICE (Reply 1):
The airlines...as a business... have one bottom line to account for, and one group to whom they are accountable. That is the stockholder

Bingo!!! Nicely said, welcome to my respected list. You know your stuff.
 
planesailing
Posts: 563
Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2005 4:57 am

RE: CO Is A Business, Not An Airline?

Tue Aug 23, 2005 2:20 am

Quoting Lincoln (Reply 8):
I think the resaon for the customer satisfaction and success is due to the fact that (from what I understand) CO places a very strong emphasis on "Make the customer happy, including bending or breaking rules if you feel that it would be best for the situation" vs. "Here is the rulebook and you will be terminated if you don't follow it to the letter"

The book comments on how they went into the car park with the employee hand books and burnt them, ingenious!!
 
positiverate
Posts: 1543
Joined: Thu May 05, 2005 10:35 pm

RE: CO Is A Business, Not An Airline?

Tue Aug 23, 2005 2:23 am

Quoting AA737-823 (Reply 3):
The flaps also had some questionable repair work done to them. Perhaps I am simply unfamiliar with the type of repair completed. But being 75% done with my school's A&P program, you'd think I'd have seen it.

How do you know it was "questionable"? That's your opinion...
 
acidradio
Crew
Posts: 1595
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2001 3:19 pm

RE: CO Is A Business, Not An Airline?

Tue Aug 23, 2005 2:35 am

Quoting 727EMflyer (Thread starter):
The things that get me curious about this range from the billboard next to the door as you come down the jetway (looks like a clear advertisement), the slogan "Work hard. Fly right." which obviously puts business first, the welcome video with Larry Kellner first "selling his product" then thanking the pax "for their business" instead of "for flying with them" and later "hoping you will come see us again" instead of flying with them again, and finally the content of the inflight magazine which lacks stories of travel interest but provides a ton of content geared toward a business traveler arriving in NYC.

If you want to court lucrative business travelers, why not speak to them like businesspeople?

Quoting 727EMflyer (Thread starter):
So is that CO's key? Have they cornered the lucrative business market by being "one of the guy's" with the business traveler while accepting, but not catering to, the leisure market? Thanks for your opinions!

Businesspeople go on vacation too sometimes! If we can prove to be worthy of their business for work, why not also take them to play? Getting there is half the fun  Wink
Ich haben zwei Platzspielen und ein Microphone
 
ikramerica
Posts: 13762
Joined: Mon May 23, 2005 9:33 am

RE: CO Is A Business, Not An Airline?

Tue Aug 23, 2005 2:41 am

Quoting Acidradio (Reply 31):
If you want to court lucrative business travelers, why not speak to them like businesspeople?

You mean names like Ted and Song and FunkyJet (gotta be coming soon) and "Gee, aren't we cheeky" Air are condescending to the business traveler?  Wink
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
ARGinLON
Posts: 550
Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2005 6:26 pm

RE: CO Is A Business, Not An Airline?

Tue Aug 23, 2005 4:07 am

AR385

You flew on a Friday eve to EWR on a 777? Are you sure? Unless the IAHEWR schedule in 2001 was different than today, I believe all CO 777s would deployed to longhaul destinations at that time (Just a few 777 are used on EWRIAH but only during the day)

[Edited 2005-08-22 21:08:09]

[Edited 2005-08-22 21:09:13]
 
AR385
Posts: 6742
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2003 8:25 am

RE: CO Is A Business, Not An Airline?

Tue Aug 23, 2005 5:04 am

Whatever ARGinLON if you are going to attack my credibility there is nothing I can do.

The flight on Friday evening was on a TU-134, but I confused it with a BOEING 777...now I remember!
 
N270FT
Posts: 78
Joined: Tue May 31, 2005 8:32 am

RE: CO Is A Business, Not An Airline?

Tue Aug 23, 2005 5:42 am

Through my personal experience, I find AA to be very much on par with CO. Although all of my flying has been done in a premium cabin. (mostly NYC-LON)

I guess that it is just my opinion, but I think that AA is the best US Domestic carrier.

Quoting AA737-823 (Reply 3):
The 757 from DFW to ANC was a disgrace.

I completely agree AA's 757's are downright disgusting!!!
 
wgw2707
Posts: 1110
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2003 10:37 am

RE: CO Is A Business, Not An Airline?

Tue Aug 23, 2005 6:31 am

Every airline is a business by its very nature, and I can assure you, Continental regarding itself as such is not unique, nor is it responsible for their success. The only airlines that don't regard themselves as businesses are a few state-owned operations in the more remote parts of the world, and most of those are quickly going out of business as the governments loose the ability to subsidize them.

-WGW2707
 
klmflyer
Posts: 127
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2004 8:15 pm

RE: CO Is A Business, Not An Airline?

Tue Aug 23, 2005 7:29 am

As a European living in the US I noticed the striking difference in the concept of air travel: low or inexistant standards of service, rude airline ground and cabin staff, lack of style, good taste and sense of humor.
Flying here is like taking a bus and the passenger do not seem to be interested in the style and standard of flying, rather is a faster alternative to a bus ride.
Also domestic business and first class lack the sense of secluded and upscale cabin environment and service.
I have put the word end in using AA both for business (I'm in the travel industry) and pleasure because they way they treat you, especially if you are a foreigner, the lack of basic service and in-flight comfort, and the old aircrafts in the fleet, can only be compared today to old-fashioned Russian Aeroflot before the new trend of upgrading the fleet and the service.
My favorite, and unique, US airline I do wish to fly is CO because they truly had a vision, a strategy, a working business plan, and an attention to details totally unknown to other US airlines.
I fly CO only on domestic sectors (I'm a loyal Air France passenger when I fly back to Europe every 2 months because their Espace Affaires and Espace Premiere have no competition across the Atlantic, and a loyal Singapore Airlines passenger when I fly to South-East Asia) but I really enjoy each single moment of the flight, either when it's a simple MIA/EWR/MIA or MIA/EWR/SFO/IAH/MIA (these are my two domestic routes).
CO translated into practice what customer service really means: e-ticketing, checking-in on-line, very easy-to-surf website, great lounges in EWR and IAH, excellent service in First class, good food presentations, friendly cabin and ground staff, clean cabin environments, excellent B737's, very informative in case of delays, great hubs (EWR and IAH) for connecting flights (and also excellent route network from MIA/FLL to the Bahamas and Key West, for a short hop to tropical resorts).
Of course nothing to compare to old-fashioned first class travel at the time when Pan Am operated the B747 between NYC and California, but PA is no longer in life, all the other major US airlines are struggling with financial and operations problems and CO is setting a pace ahead of the competition (but AA or DL cannot be considered competitors because they pretend to be a premium airline but offer the service of a low low low-cost carrier and even WN or B6 is better then them), delivering positive financial returns, increasing their network by adding new cities and training their staff to be the best on the ground and in the air.
Thank you CO for providing me, and fellow passengers, with a seamless and smooth travel experience.
For sure the CEO's and Board of Directors of the other "majors" should come to CO for training and for learning how to run an airline.
 
mkirch72
Posts: 152
Joined: Sat Aug 20, 2005 10:00 pm

RE: CO Is A Business, Not An Airline?

Tue Aug 23, 2005 9:19 am

CO will continue to be my airline of choice because they are one of the few businesses that actually implements their business plan in conjunction with a set of precepts (mentioned earlier....fly to win, fund the future, etc.). I fly them for both business and pleasure. I had Gold Elite status for 1 year and Silver for 2 years, and while I REALLY miss the perks given to me, I still think CO's economy service is by far the best among the Legacy carriers. Larry (and Gordon before him) sum it up well on the video they present at the beginning of most flights -- their customers expect newer, clean planes, with meals at mealtimes and they expect to get to their destination on time.

I think after 9/11 their employees understood what was at stake and they did what needed to be done to ensure the long-term success of THEIR company (unlike the mechanics at NW). One thing CO did NOT do was drag out the implementation of austerity measures hoping they would not need to be done. They laid off thousands of employees almost immediately after 9/11, slowed down on the delivery of new planes until it almost stopped, and immediately communicated to its employees when fuel prices were making it obvious that they needed to do more. The way they successfully communicated to their employees drove home that they needed $1billion in cost savings and all (I believe) of their workgroups agreed. I also believe that senior management took a significant cut in pay.

There has been some talk on this site about a potential merger of CO and UA. I hope that doesn't happen because I don't want my favorite airline "tainted". It's funny, but in this day and age you don't often hear people praising a US legacy carrier.

I'll end with one pet peave and one small thing they do that means a lot:

PET PEAVE: I am 6'5 and CO's pitch could use just a bit more. As soon as the person in front of me reclines, the metal tray-table supports jam right into the soft of my knees! It's painful!

SMALL THING THAT MEANS A LOT: You can spot a CO supervisor anywhere -- they wear bright red jackets and are known as "redcoats" by both employees and frequent travelers. In the rare instances I have had a problem, I have been able to find a "redcoat" immediately and my issues have always been resolved to my satisfaction.

I've never done this, but I want to thank any CO employees who read this for all their hard work and the sacrifices they have made since 9/11. I think they (and us) are now seeing that they have paid off.

Mike
 
Tornado82
Posts: 4662
Joined: Thu May 26, 2005 10:19 am

RE: CO Is A Business, Not An Airline?

Tue Aug 23, 2005 9:26 am

Quoting Mkirch72 (Reply 38):

PET PEAVE: I am 6'5 and CO's pitch could use just a bit more. As soon as the person in front of me reclines, the metal tray-table supports jam right into the soft of my knees! It's painful!

Sorry but I don't think any airline can help you at 6'5" in economy. This is one case where being 5'8" is advantageous for me!!  Big grin

Quoting Mkirch72 (Reply 38):


I've never done this, but I want to thank any CO employees who read this for all their hard work and the sacrifices they have made since 9/11. I think they (and us) are now seeing that they have paid off.

I agree 110%. Thank you CO!
 
B744F
Posts: 2927
Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2006 4:52 pm

RE: CO Is A Business, Not An Airline?

Tue Aug 23, 2005 10:52 am

All this motto and advertisement nonsense means nothing if the company doesn't actually do a good job at what they're supposed to do. All companies regard themselves as a business, Continental just seems to portray a more professional look, the "we care" routine when infact they really don't. Remember, it's a business, you're just a small time paying customer out of the millions. If you said they act like a family owned small company then that would be more accurate
 
ikramerica
Posts: 13762
Joined: Mon May 23, 2005 9:33 am

RE: CO Is A Business, Not An Airline?

Tue Aug 23, 2005 11:33 am

Quoting B744F (Reply 40):
All this motto and advertisement nonsense means nothing if the company doesn't actually do a good job at what they're supposed to do.

Well, yes and no. The mottos can mean something IF they encourage the employees to do a good job at what they do.

For instance, CO's mottos seem to resonate with their staff (except some ground staff at CLE who inhabit these boards). And CO backs them up by being consistent (no backdoor deals, etc.). Ask a CO employee, and they believe in Larry just like they believed in Gordon. And if they didn't you'd hear about it, because they have to listen to Larry speak before every single flight (except RJs, 735s and some 733s, that is).

A good example of companies not living up to their motto was spoofed a long time ago on the TV show "Green Acres." When Oliver buys the phone company, the beat up front door reads: "Hooterville Telephone Company: ervice Is ur Mott" A company who has let their standards fall to the point they won't replace the letters on their customer promise! And since it had been that way for so long, the whole town new the company motto as "ervice is ur mott!"

At CO, they could claim "Service is our Motto" but with my recent experiences at DL and AA, they'd be lucky to live up to "ervice is ur Mott"...
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
mandala499
Posts: 6458
Joined: Wed Aug 29, 2001 8:47 pm

RE: CO Is A Business, Not An Airline?

Tue Aug 23, 2005 12:24 pm

CO is an airline that doesn't forget it is a business... it is there to make money by providing a service... Unfortunately, a lot of airlines tend to forget that except when they're publishing their financial reports...

A lot of airlines (here in Indonesia) need to look at CO and think what kind of a business do they wanna be. Some try to be an airline (and forgetting the business side) and some try to be capacity traders *ie. just sell the seats, forgetting that they're selling a service*

One thing I respect CO for is that it is a business enterprise whose main business is to provide transportation service to it's customers... Screw market share, screw trying to fly everyone from anywhere to to everywhere... if a route or a route combo don't make money, dump it... What's the point of getting market share if U're loosing money trying to get it and still loose money after you get it?

Mandala499
When losing situational awareness, pray Cumulus Granitus isn't nearby !

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: 321neo, 817Dreamliiner, Baidu [Spider], compensateme, DeSpringbokke, fly2lax, frequentpete, Google Adsense [Bot], hoons90, HSVXJ, ikolkyo, JCTJennings, OMP777X, piedfly, PJ01, Planesmart, powercube, Q, reasonable, UltimoTiger777, USPIT10L, VS4ever and 329 guests