Should Customer Experience Matter to Budget Airlines?
September 11, 2017
One of the top concerns when traveling via airplane would be the airfare. Nowadays, airlines have reduced the price of plane tickets, making travel more available and accessible. Alongside improvements in aircraft technology, the rise of low-cost carriers (LCCs) have contributed in allowing more people to afford air travel, especially overseas.
With these LCCs revolutionizing air travel, have you ever wondered if these companies still consider the quality of travel experience they provide to their customers? Is customer experience being sacrificed to allow LCCs to operate with their business model?
LCCs or budget airlines use a different type of business model compared to full-service airlines. To come up with low-cost airfares, flight packages offered traditionally are customized in such a way that checked-in baggage, meals, in-flight entertainment, and on-board amenities may be availed at additional charges. Even the interior style of budget airplanes is different from full-service airlines. Cushions are sometimes firmer, seats may be smaller, and you may notice some advertisements posted on walls. This service can be considered as running along the lines of the a-la-carte approach where you only get services that you think are necessary, making airfare available at the cheapest price possible.
Several reviews and discussions about these budget airlines are emerging over the internet. Some insights showed travellers’ positive considerations to take budget airlines for their next travels. In fact, one budget airline was named the World’s Best Low-Cost Airline for its responsive customer service, friendly cabin crew, and efficient operations. Another budget airline was judged as the World’s Best Low-Cost Airline Premium Cabin and World’s Best Low Cost Airline Premium Seat.
Yet, there are still reviewers who talk of bad experiences with budget airlines. Comments usually include unorganized and filthy equipment in airplanes, few charging stations, and no in-flight entertainment or menus.
Despite these criticisms, most cabin crew were observed to have good relationships with passengers. Apparently, there are budget airlines that strive to provide quality services and great value for money.
On another note, aside from booking a trip directly from the airline’s website, there are other flight search and booking sites that can help people choose the best deal that fits their needs. This makes it easier for people to compare deals between different airlines. However, some budget airlines may not be available in these sites.
After studying how LCCs react to customer feedback, it is clear that each airline brand has their own level of experience considerations.
Another question to consider is: Does enhancing the customer’s experience have to be costly?
Start With a Customer-Centered Approach
The answer to that starts with understanding what the customer really wants. Getting customers to provide them with information on the minimum enhancements they expect can be a big step to understanding how much LCCs really need to spend.
Design Thinking can help airlines with that. Taking a customer-centered approach to designing programs that can improve on customer feedback is a cost-effective way to planning what needs to change.
What’s your take on this matter? Do you think budget airlines should still consider providing quality travel experience despite the limitations of their business models?
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