Frequent flyers are “frequently frustrated” when redeeming miles, according to the Safe Harbor Travelers Poll, an online survey conducted by Safe Harbors Travel Group, Inc., a travel management services company.
More than 1400 visitors to the Safe Harbors Travel Group Web site (www.SafeHarbors.com) were asked about experiences redeeming frequent flyer program points. Only 15 percent of respondents said they received their “first travel option” from the airlines, and only 23 percent said they received their “second option.”
“You do not have to be a mathematician to identify another source of frustration with airlines,” said Jay Ellenby, president and CEO of Safe Harbors Travel Group, “it’s quite clear that the 62 percent of survey respondents said their first or second choices weren’t being met. When frequent flyers become the frequently frustrated, the very programs the airlines created to build and reward loyalty may well be doing the exact opposite.”
Ellenby believes “it has become the norm – the unacceptable norm – to see poor service and lack of attention to customers by airlines. We hear from our customers that many of the low-cost carriers have a much better grasp of what their passengers want than do the better-known industry leaders.
“If only 15 percent of our clients received their first choice from us, most would probably look for another travel management company,” said Ellenby. “I know I wouldn’t continue to give business to an unresponsive, so-called ‘service’ organization.”
Ellenby said that “just being dissatisfied with mileage redemption options isn’t the only hurdle facing the business traveler, the most loyal users of an airline.
“With a number of airlines in financial difficulty – some even filing or re-filing for Chapter 11 protection – who can blame loyal customers for asking what’s going to happen to their miles? One of our clients with some 800,000 miles in his Delta account, told me he ‘doesn’t know’ if the miles will ever get used because of doubts created by the airline’s fiscal problems.”
Ellenby said the current Safe Harbors Travelers Poll is a frequent flyer follow-up. “We’re asking ‘On which of these major airlines (AirTran, American, Southwest and United) are you most successful at redeeming frequent flyer points?'”
Results are expected soon.