Customer Service and the Airline Industry? Not So Much!

Recently, I had a speaking engagement in a small town in Iowa. Let me tell you, it was not the easiest place to get to. I flew into Chicago O'Hare's airport where I had a layover. I then flew into Moline, IL and then had to drive to the seminar location in Iowa.

Well, my two-day Leadership seminar went great and I made my way back to Moline for my flight. I got to the airport earlier than expected so I went to see if there was an earlier flight to Chicago. There was. I thought "Great. I'll get an early flight back to Chicago where I can get a nice meal before my flight into Dayton." Great thought, but that is where it died.

I went up to the counter and asked if I could take the earlier flight. Guess what, there was a seat available. Guess what, it would cost me $ 75 to get it. I tried to get them to wave the fee. They were taking me to Chicago anyway. What is the big deal. Just put me on the earlier flight. Should be a no-brainer, right? Wrong!

It is only a no-brainer for a company who values ​​its customers and believes in serving them. I felt sorry for the young clerk at the counter. She was in a tight place. She wanted to serve me, but was not allowed. She said, "We get in trouble when we waive the $ 75 fee."

Here is the focal point of the entire problem. Leadership. Lousy Leadership. Now, I am not going to mention the name of the airline because most of them would do the exact same thing. There is only a few airlines like Southwest Airlines who know what service is. Unfortunately, I was not flying Southwest.

The airline industry is so short-sighted and so desperate for money that they would rather charge me an extra $ 75 (for a seat that was going to go vacant anyway) and risk my future business. Will I think twice before I book another ticket with this airline? You bet your great grandmother's dentures! If I have a choice, why would I choose to fly with them when they treat me like that.

Well, long story short, I refused the pay the $ 75 and went and ate a lousy meal at the snack bar and took the later flight.

As we close out our message today, I remind you and myself of my Dad's wise words, "The customer is our life blood." Provide extra service for your customers and before you know it, more customers and more profitability will be headed in your direction.

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