For my final 2008 post, I wanted to do something fun. And what is more fun than predicting the demise of an industry I don’t know that much about (except as a customer)?
I was reading Wendy Perrin‘s 2009 predictions in Conde Nast Traveler over the weekend, and the outlook isn’t good for airline passengers who value an excellent customer experience. She discussed how the name of the game today–as anyone who has flown in the last year knows–is nickle and diming customers to death. Most amenities have disappeared (like American adding back all those seats they removed a few years ago to give everyone in coach more room), and the few that remain you must pay for (pillows, blankets, food).
I’ve flown well over a million miles in the last decade, so I consider myself a savvy traveler. I am a happy survivor of the tech boom, when money flowed like water, and everyone flew across the country for one hour meetings without a second thought. Since that travel boom started in the 90s the airlines have competed on price not service, demand has continued to climb from leisure travelers taking advantage of low fares, and after a decade of this model, today’s flying experience is about on par with a cross country bus trip. If the airlines continue down this path, they are doomed. Why? (more…)