By Anne Arriëns
Have you ever heard of a high cost carrier? High cost doesn’t imply high quality (service). If you fly on a low cost carrier you’re subject to a new kind of “Cattle class”. There is a quality difference between low cost carriers (LCC’s); where as I’d rather fly with Transavia because I think they still apply the Montreal Convention 1999 to their passengers more, than Ryanair. Low cost carriers gave aviation the boost after the crisis 2008, but inform yourself of your passenger rights before choosing to fly any airline. There are big multiple differences between a big renown airline and a low cost carrier, but they don’t seem so obvious anymore..
Economy tickets aren’t very profitable for big airlines; innovating Strategy and Technology are the key elements of surviving in this politically regulated, lion pit of airports and airlines. The world population is growing and so is air travel. The existing main hub airports are growing to expectancy, resulting in some Airlines’ monopoly being threatened. This is why it has become more important to fill up their wide bodies’ economy class and better personalized services for the passengers, in order to survive.
Due to rising costs (oil, taxes) airlines shifted to the paying customer for more income, reaching economy to first class travelers. I welcome the food improvement of in-flight meals and its packaging, and even more, the pampering at the exclusive airport lounges. Often after a lounge visit, you go through the economy boarding process, that’s disappointing. Customer service and in-flight meals are the two emotional elements that should be most prioritized by an airline. The human factor is the biggest inconsistency when it comes to service; (even though it’s incomparable) upgrading the quality of (presenting) the meals has more affect on customer satisfaction.
Big airlines have been promoting their Frequent Flyer Program in order to lure back passengers from the low cost carriers. A few downsides of the program are the multipliers of airmiles have been reduced or even disappeared and new members pay for check-in baggage (which used to be free). The majority of new members don’t fly frequent enough, just holiday travelers.
As an Aviationist, I love to fly, and also share the feeling of disappointment when traveling as a passenger of an airline. When you’ve checked-in, past the scrutinizing security, boarded the plane and hear: “cabin crew arm slides”, at that point, you have been captivated inside of the aircraft… No turning back, possibly a diversion, but that’s it for fresh air and freedom. The airline will do almost anything to get you from point A to point B.. or C, in that same plane I might add, but as you’re reading this, you may not have had any experience with charming flight attendants, jet engine exhaust and pilot error. I still can’t find a ticket making my return to point A… unless, I would be working for an airline…