A recent experience trying to get a standby seat on an American Airlines flight left me baffled. What does it say about a company if they could treat you well, but don’t? Does such a company value your business or take it for granted?
- The plane had available seats.
- I had a ticket on a later flight.
- The gate agent said that American Airlines’ policy was that I couldn’t get a free standby seat. (Not a friendly policy, but I can understand that they might want to charge a “change fee” to take a different flight.)
- BUT adding insult to injury, the policy also prohibited the option of paying a change fee to take the earlier flight. Huh? Are they afraid they’ll run out of peanuts?
It used to be that customers could take an earlier flight, if space were available. Now, even when space is available you can’t buy a seat?
From a customer experience perspective this policy is, well… stupid. The policy is just as detrimental from a business perspective because customers have choices. In this case, I walked further down the terminal to a rival airline (Southwest) and paid $250 for a ticket. What did/will the policy cost American Airlines?
- An unsatisfied customer who will relate the poor experience via word of mouth
- A nominal change fee
- Approximately $75,000 (future value of my air travel)
The pivot point is that companies should seek ways to serve customers and earn their loyalty instead of implementing policies that alienate customers. Last I checked the airlines weren’t so healthy that they could look down their noses at customers. But if American Airlines chooses to implement such a policy, then consumers can certainly choose to take their business elsewhere – I did and I will.
What companies have earned your scorn and lost your business?