The travel industry likes to describe itself as “family friendly.” But some customers and family travel experts claim the travel industry preys on families as much as it pampers them, broadsiding these helpless customers with junk fees and surcharges.
This Sunday we ponder important questions. Just how much data does an airline need to provide us with prices and customer service? Do we need to be able to speak on our cell phones while hiking in the Grand Canyon? And, we expose the secret life of squirrels on the National Mall in Washington, DC.
Southwest Airlines reaps customer satisfaction by keeping in simple. Dogs find a school to help them train for the problems of flying. Don’t we wish we had such lessons? Google glass may be coming to an airport or other customer service systems bringing information and face-to-face contact closer.
The permutations of different overall prices for airfare grows to astronomical numbers when a family of four books tickets separately and decides to include baggage fees and seat reservation fees in their comparison shopping deliberations across airlines. The system needs to be developed so that consumers who are footing the bill can understand what they are buying and have the ability to comparison shop across airlines.
No one knows exactly how many passengers pull a no-show when their change fees exceed the value of their ticket credit, deliberately depriving an airline of its ability to resell their seats. But by almost all accounts, their numbers are rising, as airlines continue to raise the price of changing a nonrefundable airline ticket.
In Washington, the Consumer Travel Alliance is looking at different approaches to the problems of change fees for the sick and at the increasingly cramped seating in coach. Instead of petitioning the airlines for redress, perhaps the best avenue is to use medical and safety regulations against airline policies. Afterall, airline income shouldn’t trump health and safety of the flying public.
Some airline passengers take great exception to passengers in front of them, reclining their seat back, and are asking the airlines to eliminate seat recline. Sometimes, these passengers complain loudly while in flight and take other actions when they believe the passenger in front of them, has invaded their space. Ned Levi discusses the issues of airplane seat recline.
When did American become the land of the elites? When did the common man begin to be treated like a second-class citizen? What has happened to our publicly-supported airports and airlines that receive so many perks and operate on an infrastructure provided by the public? Why are 70-plus percent of the travelers treated worse than dogs?
Rising cancellation fees, unaffordable refundable tickets and misleading travel insurance marketing have become hallmarks of the airline industry’s growing drive to profit from life’s unpredictable events. Findings in a new National Consumers League (NCL) report suggest that the airlines are supplementing cancellation/change fees revenue with commissions from the sale of travel insurance policies that are often misleadingly marketed to consumers.
That’s the several million dollar question these days. Airlines are convinced that passengers want WiFi even though the usage rates are far lower than predicted. The Internet providers served up analysis that claimed 70 percent of passengers would log into the Web. But, history is showing far less — more in the 20 percent range.