Wednesday, October 26, 2011

If I Ran an Airline...

If you are a fairly frequent traveler, one of the things that probably frustrates you the most is flying.  Most airlines have done a successful job of making it a huge hassle from start to finish.  Now granted some of the aggravation has nothing to do with the airlines and more with the security process we all most go through now.  But you would think that at least one airline would grab a clue and see that airline passengers are becoming increasingly hacked off well before they ever step through the door of an airport.

From the time you click on an airline’s website, you immediately feel tension because nothing is simple anymore.  Do you want to pay for “coach-flexible?”  Or how about the “super-triple-saver-web-only” fare?  If you have a bank account in the Caymans with a few million in it, you may even want to buy the “business class-flexible-early fare.”  That is just the beginning.  Now that you have selected the time you want with the fare that is going to require a new mortgage on the home, it is now the time to decide if you want to actually select your own seat.  Most likely there will be a charge for that so don’t tally up the final cost quite yet.  Or how about wifi or luggage?  Do you plan on actually changing clothes on your trip?  That’s gonna cost ya.  Ugh!  I am getting frustrated just typing this.

To top it all off, we still have to listen to airlines whine when their quarterly reports come out showing that they are still losing money.  So here it is, here is what I would do, if I ran an airline.

First...I would do away with different fares across all flights and all times.  Each valued guest would pay only one fare of $250 for a roundtrip ticket.  How many times have you boarded a plane and sat down and wondered what the person next to you paid for the same exact flight in the same exact row of seats etc?  If you are like me, you are afraid to ask.  You don’t want to know that you maybe paid double of what that person paid.  So away with varying fares. Away I say!  One fare only.  And if you want to sit in first class (I would do away with business class), you all pay one fare of $500 for a roundtrip flight.  No more upgrades.  No more using mileage to get bumped up.  Just pay the fare and the seat is yours.

Second, you would only be able to book a flight via the internet. You could still go through a travel agent or tour company, but they too would have to book via the internet.  That would significantly reduce the number of employees needed and would allow me to properly staff and train the customer service department which would still be accessible by phone. My customer service staff would be the best of the best to handle any form of issues that might come up during travel and they would be able to handle existing reservations etc.

Third and finally, No more nickel and dime’ing the passengers.  There would be no charge for 2 checked bags per person.  Each flight would offer free wifi.  Each flight would offer complimentary snacks and non-alcoholic beverages.  Each flight would also offer fresh baked cookies and satellite radio for free.  

Think about that now...each flight, no matter of where it flies and at what time, would all be the same flat fare of $250.  That would fill up the flights with the most desirable times and connections quicker.  If someone knew what they were going to pay, they would want to book further ahead of time to ensure they get the best times etc.  No more last minute sales to fill seats.  

So the question is, would you fly with my airline if it was structured that way?  Would you be willing to pay the $250 knowing that you were going to get great service and no more “extra fee” surprises?  Would you be more willing to buy in advance when planning a vacation?  Would the extra $250 be worth it to upgrade to first class?

Now I just need to come up with a catchy name...