dirtyfrankd
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How Do The Top Airlines Do It?

Sun Aug 07, 2011 10:19 pm

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.
 
IPFreely
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RE: How Do The Top Airlines Do It?

Sun Aug 07, 2011 10:24 pm

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.
 
1stfl94
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RE: How Do The Top Airlines Do It?

Sun Aug 07, 2011 10:29 pm

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.
 
dirtyfrankd
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RE: How Do The Top Airlines Do It?

Sun Aug 07, 2011 10:37 pm

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)?
 
LAXintl
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RE: How Do The Top Airlines Do It?

Sun Aug 07, 2011 10:50 pm

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
 
474218
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RE: How Do The Top Airlines Do It?

Sun Aug 07, 2011 11:08 pm

Could it be that four (4) of the five (5) you listed are fully or partially government owned?
 
CapEd388
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RE: How Do The Top Airlines Do It?

Sun Aug 07, 2011 11:10 pm

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
 
something
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RE: How Do The Top Airlines Do It?

Sun Aug 07, 2011 11:32 pm

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.
 
saab2000
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RE: How Do The Top Airlines Do It?

Mon Aug 08, 2011 12:02 am

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
 
CapEd388
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RE: How Do The Top Airlines Do It?

Mon Aug 08, 2011 12:19 am

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
 
DualQual
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RE: How Do The Top Airlines Do It?

Mon Aug 08, 2011 12:43 am

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.
There's no known cure for stupid
 
BD338
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RE: How Do The Top Airlines Do It?

Mon Aug 08, 2011 1:43 am

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.
 
Quokka
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RE: How Do The Top Airlines Do It?

Mon Aug 08, 2011 3:13 pm

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.
 
dirtyfrankd
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RE: How Do The Top Airlines Do It?

Mon Aug 08, 2011 4:03 pm

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?
 
planeguy727
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RE: How Do The Top Airlines Do It?

Mon Aug 08, 2011 6:48 pm

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
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dirtyfrankd
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RE: How Do The Top Airlines Do It?

Mon Aug 08, 2011 11:28 pm

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?
 
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Tigerguy
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RE: How Do The Top Airlines Do It?

Tue Aug 09, 2011 12:15 am

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.
Good night, and keep watching the skis. Uh, skies.
 
planeguy727
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RE: How Do The Top Airlines Do It?

Tue Aug 09, 2011 2:40 am

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...
 
dirtyfrankd
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RE: How Do The Top Airlines Do It?

Tue Aug 09, 2011 6:22 pm

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]
 
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Coal
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RE: How Do The Top Airlines Do It?

Thu Aug 11, 2011 12:50 am

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
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burnsie28
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RE: How Do The Top Airlines Do It?

Fri Aug 12, 2011 1:33 pm

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.
 
citationjet
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RE: How Do The Top Airlines Do It?

Fri Aug 12, 2011 7:16 pm

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]
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dirtyfrankd
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RE: How Do The Top Airlines Do It?

Tue Aug 16, 2011 6:47 pm

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?
 
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longhauler
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RE: How Do The Top Airlines Do It?

Tue Aug 16, 2011 9:48 pm

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.
Just because I stopped arguing, doesn't mean I think you are right. It just means I gave up!
 
dirtyfrankd
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RE: How Do The Top Airlines Do It?

Wed Aug 17, 2011 12:55 am

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.
 
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RE: How Do The Top Airlines Do It?

Wed Aug 17, 2011 4:24 am

Quoting dirtyfrankd (Reply 24):
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.

You are correct. Yet ... is that what the Customer wants?

If tens of thousands of passengers travel on American carriers on international flights, every day .. then clearly better service is not all they are looking for. And, if loads and yields start to suffer, then the American carriers will alter their product to give the Customer what he is looking for.
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RE: How Do The Top Airlines Do It?

Wed Aug 17, 2011 5:35 am

Quoting Coal (Reply 19):
at SQ there seems to be a huge sense of pride

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 motivated and therefore simply don't care.

When you get on a Singapore Airlines flight it is not uncommon for a flight attendant to meet you at the door and *personally* escort you to your seat, place you luggage in the overhead bin for you (bearing in mind most are only about 5'2!), and make sure that everything is fine before leaving you to assist another customer. And this is in ECONOMY!!! Now, obviously not every single customer receives such treatment (with 250 passengers and 12 crew it would be totally impractical) but a significant number of passengers on each flight will be treated in such a way.

Last time I got on a domestic flight in America, in comparison, there was *nobody* at the aircraft door to great the passengers. The gentlemen in front of me actually looked around for someone to say hello to him before finally shrugging his shoulders and finding his seat.

Two very stark contrasts. And the SQ experience did not cost the airline 1 cent more to implement than the DL experience.

And so that goes to every level of the customer service experience. In June my mother flew US for the first time. She was EK Gold for 5 years and is now SQ Gold, so is used to 'superior' service. Rather than a smiling and attentive flight attendant inquiring as to what she might prefer to eat, she described a "thwak" as the meal tray got unceremoniously dumped from a great height onto her tray table. It would have cost the airline nothing for the flight attendant to have exercised a bit more customer care in distributing meals. But the FA did not care, and neither did the airline.

Last month I went to SFO with my sister to see her off for her flight back to Australia. Thankfully I have never had the dubious pleasure of flying UA and after how rude the check in agent was I have no desire to go near one of their planes any time soon. The check in process was not out of the ordinary, except that the agent could not have been more unpleasant if her tried. It would have cost nothing to the airline had he smiled. But he didn't care, and neither did the airline.


Price sensitivity goes a long way, but a lack of pride among front line staff resulting in a terrible customer service experience is far and away the biggest killer (and the cheapest to fix).

It's a culture thing...
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RE: How Do The Top Airlines Do It?

Wed Aug 17, 2011 8:55 am

Quoting dirtyfrankd (Thread starter):
I would like to get some thoughts from all of you as to how they are able to do it.

Easy. Compare the fares.
Simple. You pay for what you get.
 
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RE: How Do The Top Airlines Do It?

Wed Aug 17, 2011 1:09 pm

Quoting RyanairGuru (Reply 26):
Price sensitivity goes a long way, but a lack of pride among front line staff resulting in a terrible customer service experience is far and away the biggest killer (and the cheapest to fix).

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 airlines they want. Delta Air Lines (for example) of 1975 is not the same as Delta Air Lines of 2011 ... and that is why they are still around. They are evolving to suit the Customers demands.

The change started in North America with deregulation. Price over service. It has spread to Europe, and Lufthansa (for example) of 1975 is nothing like Lufthansa of today.

Look at Qantas and Jetstar. Qantas is a 4 star airline with excellent service ... and going bankrupt. Jetstar is definitely NOT a 4 star airline and it is profitable. It is interesting to see this trend spread to Asia. It is only a matter of time before the world is like North America.
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RE: How Do The Top Airlines Do It?

Wed Aug 17, 2011 1:42 pm

Quoting RyanairGuru (Reply 26):
Two very stark contrasts. And the SQ experience did not cost the airline 1 cent more to implement than the DL experience.

And so that goes to every level of the customer service experience. In June my mother flew US for the first time. She was EK Gold for 5 years and is now SQ Gold, so is used to 'superior' service. Rather than a smiling and attentive flight attendant inquiring as to what she might prefer to eat, she described a "thwak" as the meal tray got unceremoniously dumped from a great height onto her tray table. It would have cost the airline nothing for the flight attendant to have exercised a bit more customer care in distributing meals. But the FA did not care, and neither did the airline.

Last month I went to SFO with my sister to see her off for her flight back to Australia. Thankfully I have never had the dubious pleasure of flying UA and after how rude the check in agent was I have no desire to go near one of their planes any time soon. The check in process was not out of the ordinary, except that the agent could not have been more unpleasant if her tried. It would have cost nothing to the airline had he smiled. But he didn't care, and neither did the airline.


Price sensitivity goes a long way, but a lack of pride among front line staff resulting in a terrible customer service experience is far and away the biggest killer (and the cheapest to fix).

It's a culture thing...

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 years ago she was able to visit SQ's HQ in SIN. She was able to see the training, food preparation, and other parts of their operation. One example of an SQ requirement is that the cabin crew is expected to respond to a passenger call button within 35 seconds. That short response time costs the airline nothing - it is an expectation, a cultural thing as you say. To test this out on our carrier, I pushed the call button on AA, and waited 15 minutes, and no one responded.
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RE: How Do The Top Airlines Do It?

Wed Aug 17, 2011 8:49 pm

Quoting airport1970 (Reply 27):
Quoting airport1970 (Reply 27):
Easy. Compare the fares.
Simple. You pay for what you get.

I disagree. The fares on the superior airlines isn't any higher than the fares of US Carriers.
 
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RE: How Do The Top Airlines Do It?

Wed Aug 17, 2011 8:51 pm

Quoting longhauler (Reply 28):
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 airlines they want. Delta Air Lines (for example) of 1975 is not the same as Delta Air Lines of 2011 ... and that is why they are still around. They are evolving to suit the Customers demands.

The change started in North America with deregulation. Price over service. It has spread to Europe, and Lufthansa (for example) of 1975 is nothing like Lufthansa of today.

Look at Qantas and Jetstar. Qantas is a 4 star airline with excellent service ... and going bankrupt. Jetstar is definitely NOT a 4 star airline and it is profitable. It is interesting to see this trend spread to Asia. It is only a matter of time before the world is like North America.

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 to charge the customer?
 
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RE: How Do The Top Airlines Do It?

Thu Aug 18, 2011 4:11 am

Quoting longhauler (Reply 28):
And if it made a difference on the bottom line it would be fixed. But it doesn't, so it isn't.

I'd say it was hurting the bottom line. If BD338 doesn't mind me using him as an example...

Quoting BD338 (Reply 11):
I'm flying to Singapore next month, I had a choice of carriers from SFO, no prizes for guessing which one I chose.

Personally, I can say for myself that UA would have to be *substantially* cheaper than QF for me to consider them. I have seen UA SYD-LAX for $1000 less than QF and in that case I probably would fly them (reluctantly), but at that point they are only chasing the bottom of the market. QF can command a price advantage because people (everywhere) know that they are a better airline for a 14 hour flight (although I concede that they are in dire straights!).

Admittedly I am now loyal to OW through QF but I would apply the same logic to BA vs any American airline for a TATL flight

If they were better they would get my money. They're not, so they don't
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RE: How Do The Top Airlines Do It?

Thu Aug 18, 2011 11:00 pm

Quoting RyanairGuru (Reply 32):
I'd say it was hurting the bottom line.

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 shareholder what they want.

Quoting RyanairGuru (Reply 32):
QF can command a price advantage because people (everywhere) know that they are a better airline for a 14 hour flight (although I concede that they are in dire straights!).

You said it yourself, they are in dire straits. United isn't.

Qantas also announced that they are trying to make themselves more like Jetstar. It is sad, as I agree, Qantas is a fine airline, but if people prefer a cheap seat to Qantas, they best change their game plan.
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RE: How Do The Top Airlines Do It?

Fri Aug 19, 2011 1:49 pm

Quoting dirtyfrankd (Reply 30):

Quoting airport1970 (Reply 27):
Quoting airport1970 (Reply 27):
Easy. Compare the fares.
Simple. You pay for what you get.

I disagree. The fares on the superior airlines isn't any higher than the fares of US Carriers.

Since the ''free market'' USA doesn't really give away 5th freedom traffic rights, there's no comparison on a domestic level but internationally, American carriers are rarely to never among the cheapest options. EK, QR and even LH frequently undercut their American counterparts in pricing and yet seem perfectly capable of sustaining higher service levels.

It is almost naive to believe that low service levels in a service industry have any form of justification. They don't, and especially not the price. That is simply an erroneous belief. Otherwise, Southwest would be among the worst customer experiences and Delta should be among the best. Air Asia would be awful, China Southern would be the finest stuff around.

It has a lot to do with corporate identity and how much you care about your own employees. You can alternatively orient your bottom line to the shareholder's value, but shouldn't be too surprised then if at one point you simply will have alienated from all your customers and that sharehold value drops to zero. Which is why successful companies keep their business in tact and reap the fruits of their labor and the others want to harvest without all the work from spring to fall beforehand and expect the same result.

To me it seems like most American companies have stopped caring a long time ago. There are a few overly powerful CEOs that can't get their pockets full enough and don't care about the state of the company after they've left it, and then there is a huge number of people who support them doing that because their economic understanding is as profound as 1+2= 9. Hence, the amazing success of most American industries. But why take failure as an indicator when 1+2= 9 is all you know.
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Lufthansa411
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RE: How Do The Top Airlines Do It?

Sat Aug 20, 2011 5:56 am

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 tailoring them to the market. Almost any carrier could offer world class service akin to the best airlines in the world, but the fact is that their home markets aren't demanding it and so they don't. Knowing what the market wants is the key to success.

Look at US airlines. In domestic F most airlines throw a tray down that could easily be bought at a cheap grocery store- cheerios, a bit of milk, a rubbery bagel and some pats of generic butter with canned fruit served in a bowl if you are lucky. If they wanted to they could be serving fresh waffles with real maple syrup, free range sausage, freshly squeezed orange juice, and fruit cut that morning- all from a trolley in an elaborate multi-course presentation. But the average US F customer is not demanding it, so they don't.

I remember a while ago LH tested a new C class service concept that if successful, would have been rolled out with the new C seats early next year. They added 1-2 business class flight attendants and split up the business class cabin so that everyone always had 1 flight attendant that was exclusively for a much smaller section. They also sampled C service only from a trolley as well as several other service enhancements. Although the new service was getting rave reviews, customers were also mentioning that they would not be willing to pay the several hundred dollar/euro premium on the tickets that would be required to maintain such service levels.

The key comes down to mix: get the right service levels for the right price for the right schedule and you will have a winning airline- whether LCC or full service. UA could put in SQ style suites tomorrow. But if the corporate customers are only still willing to pay the same amount they do now, the investment is not worth it.
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something
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RE: How Do The Top Airlines Do It?

Sat Aug 20, 2011 1:48 pm

Quoting Lufthansa411 (Reply 35):
I remember a while ago LH tested a new C class service concept that if successful, would have been rolled out with the new C seats early next year. They added 1-2 business class flight attendants and split up the business class cabin so that everyone always had 1 flight attendant that was exclusively for a much smaller section. They also sampled C service only from a trolley as well as several other service enhancements. Although the new service was getting rave reviews, customers were also mentioning that they would not be willing to pay the several hundred dollar/euro premium on the tickets that would be required to maintain such service levels.

Stipulating there are 40 paying business class passengers on a flight, how would 2 additional flight attendants cost ''several hundred Euro'' per passenger? If you increase the ticket price by only 50 Euro on a 80 passenger load factor of the A380 business class, you'd take in an additional 4000 Euro. Let's say 300 Euros account for labor, you'd still be left with roughly 3700 Euro to pay for more food or other additional services. That's a lot of money. And that, at €50 per ticket. Not several hundred Euro.

Quoting Lufthansa411 (Reply 35):
The key comes down to mix: get the right service levels for the right price for the right schedule and you will have a winning airline- whether LCC or full service. UA could put in SQ style suites tomorrow. But if the corporate customers are only still willing to pay the same amount they do now, the investment is not worth it.

SQ, EK, KE, QR, EY etc. aren't more expensive than US airlines. They have a lower cost base, but service attitude doesn't cost money and the flight attendants account for probably less than 1% of the entire operating cost of an airplane.
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Quokka
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RE: How Do The Top Airlines Do It?

Sat Aug 20, 2011 3:42 pm

Quoting something (Reply 36):
the flight attendants account for probably less than 1% of the entire operating cost of an airplane.

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 employees costs were 15.9% of total operating costs. That cost figure includes all employees and not just flight attendants, but even so it would suggest an industry figure higher that 1% - particularly if we accept the A.net belief that employees costs in the Middle East are so much lower that in Europe, Australia and the US.

I do agree that attitude doesn't necessarily cost extra. I smile costs nothing. A simple please and thank you costs nothing get often gains much. Sadly, both passengers and carriers sometimes don't really care about that which costs nothing. People may want things for nothing, but they also don't want to give for nothing - even if it costs them nothing.
 
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RE: How Do The Top Airlines Do It?

Sat Aug 20, 2011 4:35 pm

Quoting Quokka (Reply 37):
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 employees costs were 15.9% of total operating costs. That cost figure includes all employees and not just flight attendants, but even so it would suggest an industry figure higher that 1% - particularly if we accept the A.net belief that employees costs in the Middle East are so much lower that in Europe, Australia and the US.

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 747 from JFK to LAX. If you look at all costs involved - capital cost, fuel, maintenance, pilots, atc, taxes, landing fees, ground handling, catering, washing of the aircraft, cleaning, depreciation, interior etc. - the flight attendant salary becomes a very negligible figure. That is even more true for domestic flights where the airline doesn't even have to provide transport, accomodation, and per diem for the crew rest time etc. but only pays for the hours on board.

Quoting Quokka (Reply 37):
I do agree that attitude doesn't necessarily cost extra. I smile costs nothing. A simple please and thank you costs nothing get often gains much. Sadly, both passengers and carriers sometimes don't really care about that which costs nothing.

The problem with many industries is that the CEOs at some point lose touch with reality. If you have a small company you sit down and outline your corporate identity, think about what you as a company want to do, stand for and deliver. You think about your product first and foremost. But a CEO of AA doesn't do that anymore. He doesn't care about the individual flight experience on a xxx-xxx flight. I've caught myself falling victim to the same problem. You end up in a world that consists of numbers and pressure only and lose touch with your actual product. It's about saving money to you, not about how well flight attendant number 21098 feels with your company. Normally, this type of reality-distant management results in decreasing quality and is answered with dropping sales. In the airline industry however, your choices/alterantives are very limited and not necessarily better, so airlines can actually afford to neglect the quality of their product.
..sick of it. -K. Pilkington.
 
Quokka
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RE: How Do The Top Airlines Do It?

Sat Aug 20, 2011 6:42 pm

Quoting something (Reply 38):
He doesn't care about the individual flight experience on a xxx-xxx flight. I've caught myself falling victim to the same problem.

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 actually meet the passengers. Even the most dedicated crew can, in these circumstances, feel why should I bother, I have more important things to worry about. Particularly when management don't convey any appreciation of the staffs efforts to those who do try to do their best.

It works the other way. People often say that passengers are driven solely by price, but unless there are alternatives passengers may simply think, "why complain? It doesn't make any difference." Catch 22. I do make a point of providing feedback to the airlines, both where I feel things can be improved and where I thing commendation is due. Some do respond by email but others don't, which clearly indicates their attitude to passenger feedback.
 
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RE: How Do The Top Airlines Do It?

Sat Aug 20, 2011 8:23 pm

Quoting Quokka (Reply 39):
Because the CEO and the top level don't really care about the whole experience it travels down to those who actually meet the passengers.

The problem is that many companies in America don't feel any obligation or responsibility towards their employees. The dictum is ''shareholder value''. Everything else is labeled 'socialism', or 'communism'. It traces back to catholic and protestant beliefs. It's about profits, happiness has no place in the business.

Other companies have understood that a company needs core values to abide by. That intangibles such as ''happiness'' is something that little gestures can buy, but that can have a tremendous effect on the economic output. People don't work harder because they're miserable, they work incentive-based. Similarly, you give your dog a treat for performing and don't let him starve to death to jump through the roof.

Research has shown that if employees are happier, customers are happier and that a strong company culture drives business results and that those businesses tend to outperform their peers in the longrun.

Quoting Quokka (Reply 39):
Even the most dedicated crew can, in these circumstances, feel why should I bother, I have more important things to worry about.

There's a strong link between employee engagement and employee productivity. Perceived progress, control and being part of something bigger than yourself. All those things have meaning to employees and will in end reflect in how the business appears to their customers.

And I think that's the core difference. SQ, EK, QR, EY have been founded under a premise and for a reason. DL, AA, CO/UA have just always been there and are only money-machines. It's not a business model, it's just a company where people come and go but have nothing to do with each other but just perform required tasks in the most uninspiring way possible. Barely enough to keep the job will do -> mission accomplished.
..sick of it. -K. Pilkington.
 
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RE: How Do The Top Airlines Do It?

Sun Aug 21, 2011 9:46 am

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 wrong but I'm under the impression that airlines in US don't have special training for the chief of cabin position and it's merely filled by the most senior crew member on the flight? If this is true the chief of cabin could lack confidence to enforce uniform and service standards. In Europe and Asia the CSD, Purser, In-charge crew etc. always works in the semi-managerial position and must be more experienced and confident in ensuring good CRM and enforcing those standards than someone who only seldom works that position and has had little to no extra training.

However I must note that the SQ style "escort passengers to seats"-thing does cost more money. European and American airlines usually have less crew on their flights and shorter turn around times meaning that the aircraft is more often than not still being re-fueled while passengers board meaning that the crew can't move from their doors. Secondly, American airlines don't pay their crew for the time before push back and usually require them to report to work later than in other parts of the world. This means that the crew could only have time to do the safety checks before the passengers board and have to do the catering checks while the passengers board resulting in the common "crew doesn't even look at the passengers when they board"-phenomenon.
 
dirtyfrankd
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RE: How Do The Top Airlines Do It?

Tue Aug 23, 2011 10:32 pm

Ultimately, everything has to get tied back to compensation, because that is really what employees think about. So start a customer survey type program that every passenger can do from each flight, and then tie those reviews back to the employees' bonuses or something.
 
Quokka
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RE: How Do The Top Airlines Do It?

Wed Aug 24, 2011 3:35 am

Quoting dirtyfrankd (Reply 42):
Ultimately, everything has to get tied back to compensation, because that is really what employees think about.

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 employees' happiness at work. It surprised the researchers that pay wasn't even rated number one. The most common causes for complaint voiced by respondents were "not being appreciated" and "being taken for granted". While money is always welcome some people rate other issues like working environment or atmosphere in the workplace as being highly important.

While customer surveys can be useful and I have filled them in from time to time, the level of service (as opposed to quality) is often outside the individual employee's control. You see this all the time: a passenger wants something that can't be provided and no matter how polite or helpful in offering alternatives the customer service personnel are, the passenger goes away ranting about poor service.
 
WN738
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RE: How Do The Top Airlines Do It?

Fri Aug 26, 2011 10:54 am

Quoting planeguy727 (Reply 17):
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.


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 Airlines, kicking and screaming all the way because they will no longer be able to hide dozens of add-on fees though confusing, and irritating websites. I honestly think when passengers are presented with an easier and clearer picture of the TOTAL price, including, bag fees, and on board services (thats going to have to be shown too with the new DOT rules), that total value will become a deciding factor for a larger percentage of passengers. Many leisure passengers are..how do i put this nicely...not that bright when it comes to shopping, looking at the ticket price only vs total cost. I for one will be very curious to see how the new rules affect revenue at some of the crappier US carriers like US Air, and weather or not WN and B6 notice increases, from new passengers.

Quoting Tigerguy (Reply 16):
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.


I think many Americans would be happy just to get service with a smile. Have a flight Attendant answer your question once in a while without being a sarcastic jack ass, or being rude, because they are on a power trip ,thanks to the FAA giving them the "greater than god" authority to remove any passenger who so much as looks at them in a bad way. I Take DL for example, i have FF with them, yet its because of necessity not preference. When i fly internationally, i have absolutely no loyalty to them; ill try going with quality SkyTeam partner like KL or KE, but not DL metal...why? Mostly because it apprently is to expensive for them to treat their employees in a way where they arent taking out their misery on the passeneger. I really don't think that (service with a smile) is asking for a Mercedes. Soft product only requires an investment in employees....but then again that's the problem with US Carriers; they only focus on the SHORT TERM.

Ultimately i think this more than anything is why US Airlines reek high hell when it comes to service; they focus on a product driven by shot term profits only. Its not a winning strategy if you ask me, and its not the mark of a quality company. Noo body at US carriers, WN and B6 excluded, especially management seem, to take ownership or pride in their product.
 
WN738
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RE: How Do The Top Airlines Do It?

Fri Aug 26, 2011 8:53 pm

Quoting airport1970 (Reply 27):
Easy. Compare the fares.
Simple. You pay for what you get.


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; PLUS you get consistency, PLUS generally friendly service. The same can hardly be said about other US carriers.

I don't think its impossible to offer better (notice i didn't say 5-star) service in the US, without expecting passengers to become millionaires and pay unreasonable fares to afford to fly. You guys whine about passengers whining about price...well i got news for you...people may not necessarily be unwilling to pay the price, so much as UNABLE to. This isn't exactly a booming economy. If airlines focused on cost efficiencies (not just screwing over labor as seems to be most popular with the legacies), invested in their employees, and developed better management, instead of focusing on short term narrow minded, nickle and dimming crap, then perhaps better service could be offered. Unfortunately US air carriers seem unwilling,or unable to be innovative in creating a more efficient company. All they want to do is cut costs, screw the employee and stick it to the customer. Nothing is focused on the long term. The sad part? all these "improvements" we see lately are just ways to stick it to the customer, masked by marketing as "perks" like the "perk" to pay 100 bucks more for a measly few inches, and nothing else.

Everyone at WN takes pride in what they do and they all work together to save costs and be consistent...AND management doesnt take a hostile attitutde toward labor...it sees their employees as assets, rather than expenses. Believe me it makes a difference in productivity AND the bottom line.

Quoting longhauler (Reply 28):
It is only a matter of time before the world is like North America.


So a world where flying is a LIVING HELL, and no longer fun for anyone, except the most fanatical enthusiast to fly? Or a wold (as you seem to propose) where only the rich get to fly and we have good service? Apparently you seem to think only those two extremes are possible in the airline industry. If true it is going to be a truly depressing future for travel, one where i probably would give up flying all together.  Sad

[Edited 2011-08-26 13:56:19]

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