Flying Keeps Getting Worse, but Americans Have Given Up on Complaining

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by gregm, Apr 7, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. gregm

    gregm Gold Member

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  2. gregm

    gregm Gold Member

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  3. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    Not to worry, there's plenty of complainers to be found in certain locations - and you can count me among them! ;)

    But, does filing a complaint with the DOT actually result in any measureable changes in the way that an airline conducts business?
     
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  4. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    Now this is an interesting article! I wonder how the Airline Quality Ratings report is actually compiled ("put together by industry researchers using operational data")? At any rate, it's hard to argue with the observations made about how a crappy product and service has become the norm for coach class customers in the U.S.
     
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  5. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    Actually I would argue .. where in the world is coach class better, China?
     
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  6. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    O.K., it's a subjective evaluation. But, I would say that coach class is better on some European carriers (e.g., Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines, in my experience). And when I was once crammed into small coach class seating with non-functional video equipment on a transcontinental Air France flight, the purser made it his business to come over to me to apologize, chat and offer me an after-dinner cognac. I got out of my seat and gladly gave him tips on where to eat and what to see near his crew's overnight stop in Washington, D.C. That is a world of difference from the United Airlines crew members that hid from their passengers after serving a meal on one transcontinental flight, and the worst of them had removed their name tags from their uniforms!

    I'll also mention that my colleagues who have repeatedly flown Middle Eastern airlines (Emirates, Royal Jordanian, etc.), and at times in coach class, tell me that it's a world apart from flying coach in the U.S.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2014
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  7. gregm

    gregm Gold Member

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    One would hope that enough complaints would at least warrant the DOT to take a look and act if necessary. I suppose then an airline would have to change.
     
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  8. LETTERBOY
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    LETTERBOY Gold Member

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    The key word being "enough." I doubt a single complaint to the DOT is going to do much except add to someone's statistics. I doubt that even several complaints would do very much. I don't know how many complaints it would take to get the DOT to do anything, but it would probably be more than a few.

    And there's another word we need to consider in this - valid. How many complaints of the ones DOT gets are actually valid and legitimate? I have no personal knowledge of this and I'm not pointing fingers at anyone here, but I'd bet that a good number of the complaints DOT (or any regulatory body) actually gets are not valid.
     
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  9. gregm

    gregm Gold Member

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    I'm sure there are many considerations. Validity of complaint, frequency of complaints and magnitude of complaint, if bona fide.
     
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  10. pointshogger

    pointshogger Silver Member

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    Between complaints and profits, I think companies look at their bottom line profits more. Even if they had an increase of complaints, but an increase in profits to go with it, they probably won't do much to improve.

    I still think that the most effective way to really force a company to make changes is to not give them your business.
     
  11. gregm

    gregm Gold Member

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    I think that eventually the complaints would catch up and effect the bottom line.
     
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  12. LETTERBOY
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    LETTERBOY Gold Member

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    Only if people change their practices as a result of complaints. If people complain, but still fly the airline in question, the bottom line's not going to be affected much, if at all.
     
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  13. gregm

    gregm Gold Member

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    Agreed. That's why:
     
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  14. moongoddess

    moongoddess Silver Member

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    Chile, on LAN (from recent personal experience).
     
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  15. blackjack-21

    blackjack-21 Gold Member

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    One reason that people may have given up complaining is that for all the individual complaints that they've made over so many years, little if anything has changed as a result. So what's the point of continuing to bang your head against a wall, when all you get is another headache.

    Voting enmass with your wallets by flying on a different carrier, while not always practicable, may be the only way to hope to see some visible results, and even then there's no guarantee it will bring changes.
     
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  16. pointshogger

    pointshogger Silver Member

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    Sounds to me that airlines are content with the amount of business they have every year, so there's less and less reason to deal with complaints. That's also probably a strategy. If they ignore enough complaints, people will just stop complaining anyway. And it's not really affecting the profits anyway.

    The best complaint is still to give your business to someone else.
     
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  17. LETTERBOY
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    LETTERBOY Gold Member

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    Also, where are people going to go? With all the consolidation, there are fewer airlines to turn to.

    Yep.
     
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  18. pointshogger

    pointshogger Silver Member

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    Depends. If people are flying this often, then the economy is doing well. So it's not going to be the best time to be a consumer. All this talk about the economy doing so poorly, it certainly doesn't feel that way anymore.

    The alternatives for short haul distances are travelling by car, train or bus.

    Unfortunately, I find loyalty programs are most attractive when the economy is doing poorly and airlines need to work hard to get our business.
     
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  19. Desidivo

    Desidivo Silver Member

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    The exec at these airline understand this game much better than we do. One of the reasons for all these airline to merge is allow them to gain a captive market. In many cities, most passengers don’t have many options. The main carrier at their airport usually has the best time slots, gates, direct flights. If you chose to fly any other airline you would have to give up one or more of features. The airline know this and they take pricing advantage of it. For example, United in Newark will charge a lot more then USAir since you will always need to fly to hub USAir. For me if I choose the same destination from PHL, it cheaper than flying out of EWR.

    Each airline knows they have a few captive hubs that they have pricing advantage and thus complaints don’t matter much. They also know very few people have choice and thus can reduce service, cut back FF benefits and know that most people won’t really leave their airline.

    Our government has sold us out and there is not much we can do about it. All these mega mergers are approved by both parties so it not something we are going to win in the end.

    So suck it up and take it like the good little Americans that we are.
     

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