In addition to my web publishing exploits , I have a background in logistics…translation, I move stuff.
One of the accounts I used to call on was a freight company near Dallas-Fort Worth airport . The company that I worked for (I actually still do some stuff with them on occasion) would have to pick up rush items, usually aircraft parts that needed to be delivered right away to fix a plane.
What would routinely happen is the pickup would be delayed/cancelled for 1 of 3 reasons:
The pickup was already shipped.
The pickup couldn’t be located.
The pickup was at another location.
Mind you, this wasn’t an occasional occurrence. One of the three screwup’s above happened 95% of the time. And it almost always was attributed to one rep at the freight company.
We’ll call him ‘Jim’ in the interest of protecting the inept.
Also bear in mind that this rep was the one who would call in the order. So you would think Jim would know where the pickup was.
You would think.
This went on for several years.
And it always made me think: Why can’t they fix the issue, or just fire Jim?
I’m not a proponent of firing people, but there is a point where you either do your job or you do not. Jim could not do the job. But I was told Jim apparently had a ‘connection’ that ‘precluded’ him from being canned. So Jim had it easy.
This got me thinking about the airlines. To say the industry suffers from a ‘less than spectacular’ reputation when it comes to customer service is akin to saying Death Valley is a tad warm.
And this didn’t start with the ‘big flu’ either…this has gone on for years.
You could immediately think “well, mismanagement of course” …and pound your fists on the table in self acclaim at your deftness and intelligence. You’d be wrong.
Deregulation. The glut of airline competitors over the decades has spurred a ‘race to the bottom’ where everyone undercuts everyone else. (Cue Spirit Airlines)
Nope. That ain’t the reason either. (Well, that’s not totally true)
Whos’ fault is it then?
You and me.
Yep, that’s right my esteemed colleagues. See, Jim may be inept, but we created him.
In the public’s unrelenting and unbending demand for cheap air travel we’ve ‘forced’ the airlines to give us flights for 39 bucks. But wait! “Don’t you dare charge me for bags, seats or anything else!”
“And I want free booze too!”
We want it ALL. And we want it for cheap…and uh, we want it now.
“I have to get to Johnny’s Bar Mitzvah Friday…and i don’t care that jet fuel is 8 bucks a gallon. Get me on that plane, and don’t charge a penny more than 46 dollas’!”
Flying used to be an ‘event’. Something you dressed up for. Planes had damn lounges too. Hotels used to be nice. That is long gone. Yes, I know…things change. And yes, maybe the airline industry could somehow rebrand themselves in the days of yesteryear where flying was ‘chic’ and thus, more ‘premium’ (cue expensive).
That won’t happen. The ‘Wanna Get Away’ cat is outta’ the bag, and it’s not being put back in.
And that, my friends, is no one’s fault but….