The Travel Factory Blog
Traveling By Air
I have the hardest time defending the airlines........of course my main reason is that for the past twenty-plus years, they have not paid the travel agents who sell their product one red cent!!! We still provide that service, and for the longest time, we continued to provide that service without charge. Currently when we do sell an airline ticket, depending on whether it is a domestic or international ticket, we charge a very minimum service charge. But...most of the airlines do the same thing, charge a service charge to sell their own product.
We have several folks who depend on our courtesy because they don't have a computer, or if they have one, they are uncertain about how to navigate an airline website to get an itinerary and purchase a ticket. And they are fearful of making a mistake, and wonder how they will get a “ticket”.
Many come in from other countries and have no other place to go to purchase a ticket....the airport maybe, but those folks are too busy to sell a ticket on Delta or United because American doesn't go there!!
On the other hand, traveling by air is still the best way to get from A to B or from A to C through B. And I think the intent is to provide good service but again they are depending on a lot of folks making the right decisions and contacts and just downright pure customer service.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University conducts an annual rankings report on the state of the domestic airline industry every spring. They recently named Delta Air Lines as the best carrier in the country. How do they determine that? They have four key factors that are observed: on-time percentage, denied boardings, mishandled baggage, and customer complaints. Each of the categories are weighted with on-time performance getting the highest precedence while the volume of customer complaints is the least important factor.
Delta moved up to the top because they made hitting the on-time performance goals a priority within the company, and obviously everyone bought in. They get measured by their performance monthly by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
Interestingly Jet Blue Airways ranked second, Southwest Airlines was third, and in fourth place was Alaska Airlines. Alaska Airlines had held the number one position for the past two years, and my guess is that their merger with Virgin America might have caused some disruption, and trying to merge their culture might take a little time. One positive thing as far as I'm concerned, Alaska Air has always been very helpful to me over the years with our Travel Factory Gang trips to Alaska. Their courtesy desk for travel agents is the best ever.
Oh....you were wondering about American? Of the nine carriers surveyed, they came in eighth, edging out Frontier Airline for last place.
Again, in today's world, we can't do without them, no matter what Ms. Cortez says, so the best approach I've found is to just go with the flow, and do your best not to get too uptight about how they treat you. It's better than driving that 1,200 miles there and back!!!
The experienced travel advisors at The Travel Factory will be happy to help you with all your travel needs so give us a call at 698-1421 or drop by our office at 4150 Southwest Drive.