Travel can be a huge cause of stress for most people. One study found that Americans have 240 stressful travel situations in a lifetime. And perhaps nowhere is more stressful than the airport. Airlines and airports have a huge opportunity to provide great customer experiences and relieve some stress, but it doesn’t always turn out that way. This week brought three stories of customer experience in the aviation industry—both good and bad.
Jet Blue Adds “Basic” Fare Option
A growing number of low-cost, no-frills airlines have gained popularity in recent years, and now an existing airline is joining the fray. JetBlue recently announced it will start offering “basic” fares that come with cheaper price tags—and fewer amenities. The reduced fares can’t be refunded or changed. Passengers get one free carry-on bag and personal item and have to board the plane last, but they have access to the same in-flight amenities of all passengers, including Wi-Fi access and seat-back entertainment.
The growth of the low-fare airline market in recent years shows that passengers want a good deal and are willing to give up some perks to get it. JetBlue’s entrance into the world of discounted fares shows that it is willing to offer customers what they want. A number of other airlines offer similar ticketing levels, which could signal a change in aviation to accommodate passengers of all budgets.
Are You Flying Out Of The Worst U.S. Airport?
Anyone who has suffered a delayed flight or had a long layover knows the importance of a good airport and the difference in experiences between a great airport and a sub-par airport. The Wall Street Journal recently released its annual airport rankings, with Phoenix, Denver, Fort Lauderdale and Detroit taking the top spots. At the other end of the spectrum, Philadelphia, New York JFK and Newark were named the worst large airports in the country. The scores are based on a number of factors that matter to travelers, including friendliness, food availability, security wait times, service and cleanliness.
Numerous aspects contribute to overall customer experience, and they are all showcased in airports. The difference in the service and environment greatly impact a customer’s travel and can either start their trip off on the right foot or the wrong foot. Airports that excel in customer experience are recognized and show there is so much potential for innovative service and experiences at all airports. To create an environment where customers actually want to spend time, the worst airports need to listen to travelers and re-vamp their entire experiences from the ground up.
Flight Crews Don’t Want To Get Back On Boeing 737 Max
Flight attendants from most major airlines said this week that they are scared to get back on the Boeing 737 Max when it is cleared to fly again, and Southwest pilots blasted Boeing for its faulty planes. The 737 Max was grounded earlier this year after being linked to fatal crashes, but it could be re-certified to fly as soon as December. Flight attendants said they are scared to get on the plane, and Southwest pilots sued Boeing for $100 million in losses from grounded flights.
Customer experience and trust is just as important in B2B as it is in B2C. If a product is faulty and can’t be trusted by the companies and employees that will use it, how can customers feel safe? After a crisis—especially one as dramatic as fatal plane crashes—companies need to go above and beyond to apologize and re-build trust with customers. Boeing needs to create a safe environment and right its wrongs so that its B2B customers and their end users can have a safe customer experience and feel confident in the plane.
Customer experience is crucial in all industries, but especially in aviation and travel. These stories show the huge potential companies have to build strong experiences and the negative feedback and consequences they can receive when they ignore customers.
Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist, keynote speaker, and the author of two books including her new book The Customer Of The Future. You can learn more by signing up for her newsletter here.