Saturday, April 01, 2006

The Basics 

To paraphrase (badly) the frustrated manager of the minor league team in the movie, Bull Durham, baseball is simple. You throw the ball. You catch the ball. You hit the ball. I wish the same could be said for airlines. You take off on time. You land on time.

Instead, airlines continue to battle bad PR for their terrible service, and they don't seem able to get out of the mire in which they have immersed themselves.

Our travel on Friday last was typical. We were flying through Chicago where O'Hare was backed up because of bad weather (again). That was understandable. But the airline, which shall remain nameless, herded us onto a small Embraer commuter jet, pulled away from the gate and parked on the tarmac for more than an hour waiting for clearance. We should have stayed in the terminal for all that sitting in a cramped jet did for us. When we took off, the ride was bumpy but not terrible, but O'Hare was a nightmare. There was no plane to bring us back to Newark when we got on the ground. There wouldn't be a plane for another hour and a half. O, a plane did pull up to our gate and let passengers off but then, it went out of service, we were sent to the next gate down where there was no plane and we waited again. And waited. And waited.

What I noticed about this exercise in futility is that passengers are becoming inured. Most sat in their chairs mutely. Only one man began swearing loudly. American flyers are where airlines want them to be -- sheep to be led passively about.

What the airlines are forgetting is that sheep will turn into tigers if and when they get a chance to take off on time and land on time. They will patronize the airline that goes back to basics and avoids excuses. Increasingly, I believe American airlines have shattered their relationships with the public and for many, there is no way to retrieve trust.


Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?