Back from a short stay in the Dominican Republic and innovation is on my mind. Of course most of my thoughts are on travel, in general, and how it can be made better/easier/more convenient. If you missed my post last week on innovative travel service ideas from the road, check it out.
A lot has been said about the struggling airline industry. And, with a few crashes in the past month, they obviously have some important things to look at. But they still have yet to really get the business right. In a recession, people are looking to the companies that help them out.
It was my first time flying JetBlue, and overall I had a very good experience. Their terminals are big and comfortable and come with many amenities. The planes are roomier and more comfortable than other airlines that I have flown in the past. Overall, I see a lot of people praising JetBlue, but they do lose some of us. Here is where they lost me, or at least their business model lost me.
They advertise special services that you can pay for on the flight. You can pay $5 for an in flight movie, but they only have 2 choices, and I can’t start and stop it whenever I like. You can pay $5 for special food or beverages, except they don’t take cash. And finally, you can pay $7 for a pillow and blanket which they claim is a “State of the art, most comfortable pillow and blanket set ever”. Are you kidding me?
First of all, thanks to the guy sitting in front of me, I got to see this “magical set” first hand. Let me tell you this, if you have ever gotten a pillow or blanket on a plane, this was the same or worse. It was, in no way, more comfortable. And second of all, the stewardess, along with the advertisement in the brochure, make a big deal out of the fact that you can take it with you when you leave. Awesome! I remember when you could take the free ones with you.
A note to all airlines, you’re trying to scam your customers. I know you operate in a tough industry, but it is one that will always be there. Air travel is a modern day necessity and it’s not going anywhere. Figure out how to model your pricing so that you can afford the amenities we want. Cut down on costs that are dragging you down, perfect the processes that are costing your employees time and money, and get the business back on track. Some airlines are moving in the right direction, but others are moving backwards. Wake up.
Readers, take your shot at the airlines that have caused you trouble in the comments section below.