Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Plane Stupid

Here's an idea for your business. No matter how much your customers complain, don't change the one thing they hate most about it and see how long you prosper. That's essentially what the airlines have been doing for years by keeping passengers trapped on planes on the tarmac for up to 9 hours while waiting for takeoff clearances or open gates. A tip to the airline CEOs: If you wouldn't like it happening to you, your customers probably don't like it either.

Just because you have a functional monopoly doesn't mean you can treat your customers as if they don't matter. And no amount of industry spin about how this practice helps the majority of flights reach their destination on time, is going to change that. Is it unreasonable to provide food and water to passengers after a two-hour ground delay? Is it unreasonable to let them deplane after three? The airline industry needs to stop fighting the new regulations announced by the FAA and figure out a way to deal with it. How about holding a couple of gates at every airport for planes that are delayed? If the airlines had done this years ago, they could have shared the cost, and received PR boost by announcing that you'll never have a long wait on a plane again. Opportunity missed.


  1. Dec, 22, 2009. Government just made a ruling on this, see article.

  2. not used to this type of comment box, sorry. link: click on _na_ above.

  3. Thanks na, I saw the article and that's what sparked this post. The fact that the airlines had to be forced into this by the government shows their contempt for their customers. If they actually cared they would have fixed the problem years ago.

  4. While a case can be made regarding the disruption to the system that that deplaning can cause, there was never any excuse for not providing food water and adequate toilet facilities. These were denied simply as a cost control measure.

    Even when planes sit due to weather related issues and a window developes that allow arrivals and departures, requiring planes to be ready. Not all will leave at once, weather forecasting is accuate enough to provide an appoximate idea of when the window will arrive and how long it will remain open. Air traffic control can determine how many and which planes need to be prepared to leave.

    There is likely a special place in hell for airline executives