In the normal world of business, companies are supposed to treat their customers with kids gloves. And customers are supposed to be very partial to the brands that they buy. It's all supposed to be a love love relationship .
Not so in the airline industry. Customers absolutely loath airlines. The act of flying is considered by most flyers, especially the regular ones, as next only to root canal surgery. And airlines (mostly) hate their customers. They are little more than cattle, in their eyes. And everybody associated with the act of flying hates everybody else. The security folk are hated by all. Most airports in the world are glorified cattle pens. And yet the industry is booming. The rash of incidents being reported from the US will simply pass over. The hate hate relationship is alive and kicking and will simply continue thriving.
Why is this so ? Two reasons primarily, in my view
- One, there is no option but to fly.
- Two, customers care for nothing else but price. All the talk of wanting service is humbug.
We all moan about how seats have become cramped, food has disappeared altogether, everything costs extra , security lines are impossible, etc etc. And yet , if there was a flight that costed $1, but required you to stand on one leg throughout the flight, we'll cheerfully take it. And therein lies the problem.
Take India and the case of New Delhi . I had the misfortune of flying from there a couple of days ago and hence this post.
There are two domestic terminals in Delhi. One is swank, large, with lots of space, small security lines and can compare favourably with the best in the world. The three airlines that use this as the base are very good, serve complimentary food, are generally on time and don't charge ridiculous extras. The other terminal is a disgrace - crowded worse than a train station, no place to even sit, and a close approximation of a pig pen. The airlines that are based here charge extra for everything, offer no complimentary food and bus you to the plane worse than a Mumbai local. But this lot are generally cheaper than the other lot by say Rs 500; maybe Rs 1000. Absolutely no prizes for guessing which one the passengers prefer.
We really should stop complaining about how airlines treat us. Until we are prepared to open our wallets a little more.
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