The Games People Play

Traveling to San Francisco today I witnessed a fascinating strategy airlines employ to turn us from “the customer is always right” travelers into “OMG I am so thankful you allowed me on your plane” travelers.

Months ago I purchased a ticket and was unfortunate enough to not be able to check in online. From Bucharest to London all was well and as soon as I got to London I found out I am on “stand-by”. Needless to say, after the 3rd person I talked to I was really distraught and by that time I had understood that:

  • purchasing an airplane ticket does not mean you have purchased a seat on the plane, it means you have purchased the right to potentially obtain a seat on the plane
  • when in a situation as the one I was in today, it is not you who is doing the company a favor by not throwing something at their customer service, it is them who “are doing their best to find you a seat”; yes, the seat you paid for
  • the quickest way to be discouraged to complain is to use the company’s site to do it; the amount of checks and pages and information that you have to put in will surely discourage anyone

I am sure there are financial considerations behind this but still … I see a great shift from the “reign of the paying customer”. Or maybe it is just me …

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