Today, it seems an economy class ticket buys a flight and little else.
It all began with the olive. 20 years ago, in order to cut costs and gain some advantage over the competition, American Airlines announced they would be eliminating one olive from each salad given to passengers on mealed flights. From the perspective of the passenger, one olive wasn't a big deal, but it saved American Airlines a couple of million dollars a year, so it seemed like the perfectly logical thing to do.
Perhaps it was. The problem is, they fell into the cost-cutting trap: an endless spiral of lowering quality to maximize profits, at the expense of customer experience. Soon they were taking away the free pillows, the complimentary magazines, the pretzel bags, the free wine. Tomorrow, it seems, we'll feel lucky if they don't charge us for water.
You see, budget airlines are businesses that have given up a long time ago. Given up on quality service, enthusiasm, and, perhaps most importantly, customer satisfaction.
They have given up on what ultimately matters to gain a temporary, short-term edge and profits.
Will you eliminate the olives from your business as well? Or will you go that extra mile to maximize customer satisfaction to make sure they come back -- and this time bring their friends with them?
Who will you be: American Airlines, or JetBlue?