Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Common Sense Solution to Slow Airplane Boarding

Boarding airplanes has slowed down in recent years, and lately there’s been a lot of chatter about whether airlines can find ingenious, creative, and algorithmic ways to speed up this anxiety-producing process.

The problem is, none of them really work.

Boarding every other window seat first, then middle, then aisle; or the back of the plane first; or from the front and rear at the same time. These solutions are lipstick on a pig. But lipstick doesn’t make a pig fly.

Why? Because speeding up the slow boarding process isn’t about tinkering with the order in which you let people on the plane. It’s about the amount of time passengers spend in the aisle, hefting their bags into the overhead compartments, and stowing them under the seats. The more and bigger bags people bring on, the slower the line moves.

It doesn't help that many carriers now charge $25 for the first checked bag on domestic flights, and more for a second. That amounts to inviting people to carry on luggage instead of paying to check it. So, more passengers bring on bags, and overhead space fills up faster. When the bin space fills up, the crew begins to ask passengers to check luggage at the gate. As air travelers, we know that gate checking neither speeds things up nor calms us down.

Clever algorithms may shave off a minute or two – if they don’t completely confuse passengers first. But if the industry really wants to speed up boarding, it’ll have to stop charging for checked bags. Is that at all likely? With airlines profits under pressure, don’t expect it any time soon.

Baggage fees are what LinkedIn Influencer Fred Reicheld calls “bad profits.” These are earnings that come at the expense of customer relationships. Whenever customers feel mistreated or abused, the profits from that customer are “bad” ones. Naturally, neither accountants nor Wall Street distinguish between good and bad profits. Every dollar of revenue looks the same. But customers remember. As Reicheld points out, average firms book “bad profits” from nearly 1 in 3 customers. In the airline industry, it may be closer to 50% of customers who feel coerced, misled and ill-treated.

At JetBlue we’ve tried to stay clear of the bag charging derby. We do charge $40 for the second checked bag, but since most fliers only need to check one, we think ours is a reasonable approach. Analysts like to remind us that we leave over $100 million on the table every year for that policy. But we’re not asking for a pat on the back: We don't do it as a gift to the traveling public. We do it because we feel that having satisfied, unhurried customers, happier crews, and faster turnarounds for our aircraft will mean better profits in the long run. Plus, our customers don't have to deal with all the nickel-and-diming.

If you remove bad profits from the boarding equation, you remove some of the anxiety of air travel, too. People pay fewer fees, lug around fewer bags, and get on and off planes faster. It’s one less concern to carry on board.

Source: https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130827063031-11846967-a-common-sense-solution-to-slow-airplane-boarding

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

People Angrily Tweet At United Airlines Parody Account Thinking It’s Real, Parody Account Hilariously Responds

The @UnitedAirlanes parody account was created in May 2012 and tweeted for a month before going silent.

On Wednesday, more than a year later, the creator of the account realized something glorious.
On Wednesday, more than a year later, the creator of the account realized something glorious.
This @unitedairlanes flight crew is incompetent can't load the; plane horrible service
@nffc65 You should see our crews load a t-shirt bazooka though - Ralfio can in seconds. He can even hit business class from the cockpit!
@unitedairlanes is the true meaning of cattle class. Delays with no explanation. Food you should feed to the dog and staff that don't care!
@sarahlouisedob Oh shit, did you eat the food? You're not supposed to actually eat the food.
For those following I am stuck still at #Buffalo @unitedairlanes thanks for trying to fight the weather. You are doing well!
@sonchyADV Here at United Airlanes, we strive to not let a little thing like the fury of God prevent us from delivering tolerable service.
it amazes me that after all the advancements in planes these days @unitedairlanesstill has the worst entertainment system known to man!!!
@alexglaser101 It's a missile made of gun metal traveling at fast through space there are few amenities available inside a giant bullet
@unitedairlanes then why have all of the other airlines managed to do it?
@alexglaser101 They strike deals with purveyors of black magic. We strive to fly 100% curse-free, and pass the savings on to you!
@unitedairlanes ur full of shit, and a fucking piece of shit airline, that's it, end of story.
@alexglaser101 Next time you fly United Airlanes, whisper "GRASSY KNOLL" to your attendant to be taken to the in-flight shooting range.
@GodJamit_0216 In our defense, it's really comfortable. If a bit small.
Shout out to @unitedairlanes for stranding my wife at YWG for nearly 12 hour for a short flight to Chicago. Excellent service.
@ConorWhately After the first six hours, she technically belonged to us. You're just lucky we met our monthly quota.
@unitedairlanes is that supposed to be funny? @JetBlue for one takes tweets regarding their company serious. Might want to take some tips...
@BruPayne @JetBlue No, it's a very serious warning. We accidentally hired bounty hunters to run that desk and now we can't stop them.
@unitedairlanes how is it that you are the most expensive airline and yet don't have TVs on planes. Get with the program! #notv #longflight
@DROOOPYD TV? On a plane? We allow you to exchange worthless paper for the opportunity to ride a missile across the world. How dare you.