2007/04/10

Failing at Business, Lesson 1: Piss Off Existing Customers

Feeling a little put upon by businesses who've forgotten what customer service means? Me too, and nowhere is this more evident than with the airlines. We're all familiar with the trials and tribulations of handling our bags. You've got one of two choices: Don't check your bag; get hassled by TSA; and wrestle for overhead storage space. Or be courteous and check that bag; add anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour to your trip waiting for it to come back; and risk losing it altogether.

Well the airlines not only do not feel your pain, at least one, Spirit Airlines, is going to make things worse for everybody. They've decided to attack their lost baggage problem by adding a surcharge ($5 to $10) for every checked bag--force you bag checking slackers into a manly struggle for overhead bin space.

Way to go Spirit! Piss off the leisure travellers as well as the business travellers. Smart thinking.

13 Comments:

I heard of this about a month ago. Believe you me, the other airlines are going to pay very close attention to see how this goes. If there's even a hint the general flying public will put up with it, you'll see all of the others adopt the same fee.

The airlines are desperate to get money any way they can.
This is good to know. Next time I fly, those following Spirit air's example will be weeded out of my choices early.
SA... Yeah, me too. But it wasn't like I was likely to fly Spirit anyway. They have like 2 flights a day out of SFO.

f there's even a hint the general flying public will put up with it, you'll see all of the others adopt the same fee.

Hari... And therein is the point, if American tried this, it would have a much greater chance of being adopted across the industry, but Spirit is just going to succeed in slitting their own throats with stunts like this.
Aren't these the same folks who left an entire airplane full of passengers out on the runway for 13 hours or something and refused to let them use the lavatories just recently?

Spirit of Bu$hCo Airlines it should be named...
You would imagine with the state of things, there would be a good opportunity for good service airlines to jump in and make money ;)
Sewmouse... I think that was JetBlue not Spirit, but you'd think that JetBlue would be an airline that Spirit would under the circumstances try to emulate.

As Denisdekat points out, the opportunity for a better level of service exists. Spirit (like JetBlue), with a presumably lower cost labor structure, would want to fill that niche. I'd think.
A fictional company I have written about before seems to think that they can ignore the questions or concerns of their customers and still be successful because the name of the fictional company should be enough to keep people buying. For about the past 5 years, the fictional company's share of the fictional earnings has gone down
According to the article:

"Spirit will charge $5 each for one or two checked bags if the ticket was booked online and $10 each for passengers who do not book online."

This plan looks like a failure even before it's implemented. Way too many passengers will arrive at the airport with bags that won't fit in the overhead bins, with three bags or, because of the new fee, too many people will attempt to bring bags into the cabin. The ensuing traffic jam will lead to enraged air travelers rebelling against an insane plan.

If the airlines need to yank a few more bucks out of passengers, they can simply raise ticket prices $5. No one will notice.
What Spirit is this - Scrooge? Shish! Maybe they should change their name to Spit.
Kvatch,

You must be on every Airline mailing list...and you must read the letters.

Good work
Scott... Knowing where you live that wouldn't be a fictional company who shall remain nameless, but whose initials are NWA?

If the airlines need to yank a few more bucks out of passengers, they can simply raise ticket prices $5.

no_slappz... That was my first thought as well--don't go through the hassle. Just raise the ticket prices.
What Spirit is this...

Peacechick... The spirit of companies past. ;-)

Aaron... Not really, but airline stories whenever I see them always catch my attention.
As much as I adore flying, as I have said before - from now on when I must travel, I think I'll take a train.

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