Thursday, August 07, 2008

Can It Get Any Worse? (Of Course It Can)

Did all airline executives graduate from Dumb & Dumber University? Is there anything more that U.S. airlines can do to annoy their customers? (That’s rhetorical: We know there’s a lot more coming.) We aren’t aware of any other business that tries so hard to disenfranchise their customers – their source of revenue. Not even used-car dealers, not cable companies nor mortgage brokers. Sure, we may not LIKE some of those other businesses, but they at least seem to WANT us as customers.

Fees for food. Fees for “free” tickets. Fees for changing your mind. It’s become such a joke that there are charts all over the internet of both real and bogus fees. Changed flights, disappearing routes, opaque pricing, baggage fees and hassles. It appears that the airlines really DON’T want customers. Not us, not ANY customers.

Maybe airline CEOs and executives are just in it to make their huge salaries and bonuses, biding their time and waiting to go out of business. It seems like they believe that sitting in the big office is just something for them to do for awhile, passing their time making millions a year and not really caring (or knowing) anything about their business or their customers.

Oh, yes, we forgot. It’s the evil oil speculators who are FORCING the airlines to annoy us. Yup, makes sense. Oil speculators know that airline executives are dumb as a box of rocks, and will flutter around like wounded birds in a small room, knocking over lamps and crapping on the furniture. Yes, that’s it: The smart oil speculators are trying to push the airlines out of business so Americans and Chinese will have to drive instead of fly, burning a lot more automotive gas instead of a lesser amount of jet fuel that would have been used for equivalent per-person air travel. Yea, that’s it.

Any airline that returned its service levels (and lack of “fees”) to what they were 10-20 years ago would have our lifetime loyalty – no matter WHAT the price of a ticket. We want to be loyal customers. We want an airline that actually wants us as customers.

Of course, it’ll never happen. Graduates of Dumb & Dumber University can’t read, can’t think, and certainly don’t know how to run a business and retain customers.