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Frontier Airlines took 2 Hours From Me

Ok, I'm having trouble letting go of my recent flight delay. My new job requires me to travel most weeks. For the bulk of the summer I will be back and forth between Denver and Portland. I am enjoying Denver, sneaking up to the Rockies, starting to explore the downtown, etc. But when it is time to head for Portland, all I can think about is getting home, spending time with my wife, sleeping in my own bed, using the BBQ, walking in my park, heading to the coast. So......... When I show up at the airport and I find my flight home has been delayed, I get a bit irritated. 10 or 15 minutes I can handle, but yesterday it was over 2 hours. 2 hours of wasted, non productive time. Sure I could have pulled out my lap top and sent a few more emails, but my focus was on getting home, enjoying every precious minute I get at home before jumping another plane back to Denver.

To make matters even worse, instead of eating dinner at home I had to shell out a few bucks for dinner in the airport. Getting home at 6:30 pm is dinner with my wife, Arriving at 8:30 pm means me eating in the airport. Say good bye to $10 for a $5 meal. Pulling out of the long term parking I was hit with an additional $10. Seems I stayed just long enough to be considered a 6 day stay instead of 5. With all the added fees for bags, to the new Frontier fee of $1.99 for a can of coke, I am beginning to think there is a better way.

Many industries have a "Fee for Performance" payment system. Why not airlines? My thinking is simple, I pay a fee for an expected service, to be performed as advertised. The airlines advertise via their schedules an expected take off and arrival time. That is what I am paying for. I make my plans on either side of the schedule, based on their published schedule. I am paying for them to meet my expectation. The problem is there is no penalty for the airlines if they fail to meet my expectation. Sure I can take my business elsewhere, but does that cause the airline to think about doing things differently in the future to meet my expectations? The current system does not force them to think about quality in this area. In fact, everything about the airline industry has moved away from customer service to herding people from one airport to the next. They are no longer trying to win customers because they know that for many of us we have no choice but to fly in order to meet deadlines and expectations of our own.

So I make a simple suggestion. For every minute late to the gate, the customer, whose expectation was not met, is returned $1. Hotels comp rooms, restaurants will discount meals, products get returned to stores for refunds, when expectations aren't met. I can not return an airline ticket if it did not meet my expectation, no one offered to comp me my ticket due to my disappointment, even though I will fly each week, at least 10 more round trips, over the rest of the summer. A simple $1 per minute would get them to think about their performance, to really think about how to meet expectations. Not once was I told why there was a 2 hour delay. We all just sat nicely in the airport and waited and waited and waited. At some point a back up plane could have been rolled up to the gate, or some plan B put in place. Plan B seems to be "make the customer wait."

Looking up Frontier's flight 793 from Denver to Portland, shows on average they are 20.83 minutes delayed. Out of 106 flights from January 1 through July 5, they have a 56% on time rate. That is a little bette than 1/2 the time the do it as they planned. If I hit my financial or quality targets only 56% of the time, if I meet customer expectations only 56% of the time, I am out of a job or out of business. I get that there are things outside of their control, but isn't it their job to manage my expectations? As you can tell I am just a little frustrated because I lost 2 hours of my life yesterday, and 6 hours in 4 weeks, flying Frontier (that is both directions - to and from Denver). To bad they are the only airlines flying direct flights in the time frames I need. I obviously need them enough to keep flying despite all my lost hours.

Hoping for a change in the future.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

1 comment:

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