Wednesday, June 13, 2012

It's all about the bags really.....

On every survey that I've seen for airline customer satisfaction the results usually boil down to one key factor:

Customer ratings rise for low-cost airlines. Susan Carey, WSJ.com
Stuart Greif, vice president of global travel and hospitality for J.D. Power, said half of the point difference between the discounters and the traditional carriers reflected views of their costs and fees. Passengers who paid to check their bags showed satisfaction 85 points lower than those who didn't have to pay, the poll said.

It's not so much that Southwest, JetBlue or the other discount carriers are doing a better job in customer service, it's that they're not charging for checked bags.  Given that the media (and some admittedly good ad campaigns) have made this a hot-button issue, it's natural.

One question not being asked (except by travel bloggers) is whether or not the moniker "low cost airlines" even applies any longer?  Southwest probably has a cost structure that's in line with the legacy carriers, and JetBlue seems to struggle every Quarter to turn a profit.

On a lark, I've compared several domestic runs on United to Southwest over the last few days to see if any cost savings materialized.  In most cases, the price of tickets were about even.  I'm planning a larger post for this later that will detail my findings.  I would have thought someone might have done that to see if Southwest is bringing down the price where they compete now.  Unfortunately, I haven't seen that.

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