Wednesday, June 10, 2015

News You Can't Use: Airlines Struggle to Please the Modern Passenger

I'm all about providing those client-based solutions and by that I mean solving their problems, not somehow grinding them down to use in alchemical processes. The problem is today's modern world is so full of complexity that it's become a bitter struggle to fulfill the ever-changing whims of human units that were primarily raised and educated by various glowing screens. Is there an answer to this problem of societal alienation and atomized selfishness? The answer is no, but let's talk about overhead compartments and pretend it's helping.

What does the modern air traveler want?

It's a question we're all trying to answer, but sometimes a 747 flying into the Grand Canyon is just a 747 flying into the Grand Canyon.

Is it the perfect sized carry-on?

Now perfectly suited to all your "Do you even lift?" frailties.

A wearable device that tells you how to avoid jet lag?

Beep boop Get lots of sleep bop boop bleep.

Free Wi-Fi? Cheap flights? Better service?

Groping and radiation baths for the elderly? A can of soda you can bring on board? Leg room? Who knows.

Airlines are struggling to keep pace with the finicky desires of today's passengers, many of whom are constantly connected to a mobile device and want something special on each trip.

If you're expecting your flight to Wheeling to have a "happy ending" you're in for a disappointment.

During a panel discussion Tuesday at the annual meeting of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the largest trade group for airline executives, hundreds of industry representatives were asked in a quick informal poll how many think airlines are doing a good job meeting passenger demands.

This quick informal poll consisted of yelling "Ey, how you doin'?" at their suit-clad backs.

Fifty-five percent pressed "no" on their handheld devices.

The other 45 percent were dead drunk from the complimentary Mixx Tails.

"Don't give me a vanilla experience," said panelist Lee McCabe, a former executive with Expedia who is now Facebook's head of travel.

Cater to my travel-based kinks. Handcuff me to the seat. Call me a terrorist and hit me. Put a black sack on my head and drop me off in a Cuban military base. So, so hot.

"Make the information you give me very personal," he said. "Make my life easy."

"Remember when you got caught paint huffing in junior high? Or your childhood nickname, "Binky?" Here's your peanuts."

Alex Cruz, CEO of the low-cost Spanish airline Vueling, said his company strives to keep it simple. "They want a nice, reliable experience at a normal price," he said.

This is clearly crazy talk. We want special "apps" and the full boyfriend experience.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said "every customer wants something different."

Every happy flier is happy in the same way, while every miserable one is unique in their misery.

According to Jen Durkin, CEO of Project Travel, millennials don't want healthy snacks or free Wi-Fi.

I heard "healthy" and immediately became hostile.

"Millennials are curious, and because there are so many things that distract our attention we need help understanding what we should put our attention to," she said.

They're like crows fascinated by shiny objects, but far, far less likable.

"I want to know what my bag is doing from the time it goes in the conveyor belt little door to the time it comes out of the conveyor belt," Durkin said.

If my bag is secretly coming to life and bad-mouthing me, I want to know.

"We will be able to learn more about our passengers and be able to offer them more tailored information to their needs," he added.

Well, it's working great here on the internet where my tailored profile gets me endless commercials for finishing schools and med-alert jewelry.

During the conference, Windmuller announced a new industry-wide standard for carry-on bags, an idea that aims to resolve bickering and delays over whether any given suitcase is too big to fit in the overhead bin.

Finally, an honorable peace to the Suitcase Wars.

Many airlines have different size requirements for carry-ons, which can lead to confusion.

Me no like use brain.

You been working out?

But whether this standard will please consumers remains to be seen. It requires travelers to buy a new carry-on bag, which may be smaller than what they already own.

You can spend more money on an inferior product. Who would have a problem with that?

The new bags will made by different manufacturers and will be marked with a special label, "IATA Cabin OK." The label is not available to be placed on an existing bag.

Yeah, I know you were thinking it. Don't even try it, we're on to you.

Komment Korner  

I want lower fares.

I don't want to take my belt or shoes or hoodie off, or take out my laptop, or my personal effects, or get irradiated

I finally got the coffee and it was literally the WORST coffee I have EVER had.

the most objectionable thing about flying today is the inane, useless, arrogant TSA goons, drunk with their own power and importance

This guy came down the aisle who looked like Mr. Creosote from Monty Python's Meaning of Life

Aaron Zehner is the author of "The Foolchild Invention" available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.

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