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Airlines Are Trying Something Different. Did You Notice?

Airlines Are Trying Something Different. Did You Notice?

Reading about airlines treating customers poorly has become sadly commonplace. In fact, in 2017, the airlines industry was given 75 out of a 100 points according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index. It’s an average at best score, which is sadly a few points above what the industry scored in 2016. There were viral videos, some of them violent and disturbing as well as numerous reports of bad treatment. It seems that the airline industry is feeling ashamed of itself these days and trying a new approach with customers, according to The airlines are trying to be nice.

A writer for USAToday reports that recently he has received several reports from people being treated well at airports—from Delta passing out donuts and coffee during a massive power outage to a flight attendant taking time to be courteous to a mother and her mentally disabled son. Other incidents of “niceness” include reseating a very tall passenger in an area with more legroom—for no extra charge.

There are other things that are happening behind the scenes as well. Although airlines are known for being very hard-nosed when it comes to changing travel dates, it seems that a few passengers that have had personal troubles, ranging from missed flights to deaths in the family have all been resolved with minimal hassles and no additional fees, courtesy of caring customer service reps.

A representative for Worldwide Airlines Customer Relations Association (WACRA), an international group of airline customer service professionals, says that being nice and accommodating is part of airlines trying to acknowledge their PR problem and do something about it.

It would be nice if airlines were just being “transparent and caring” without it making the news, but there are things that you can do to try to receive better service. Ask for upgrades politely, be cool and collected and present facts, not dramatics. And don’t make demands like full refunds or first class tickets—instead, be reasonable and ask for resolutions that are more likely to be met.

View Comments (7)


  1. skidooman

    February 9, 2018 at 5:33 am

    It would be high time for US airlines to start treating their customers decently. Because make no mistake: not all countries had problems on that account. Each time I flew with, say, a Japanese airline, I was well treated, even in Y. And my expectations weren’t very high: a smile, politeness, decent food. No free upgrades or anything. Just what we should be expecting as a matter of business.

    US airlines (and others) have allowed themselves to provide a lesser degree of service. And perhaps it finally started hitting them where it hurts – the bottom line.

  2. frobozzelectric

    February 9, 2018 at 6:06 am

    My flight got delayed 2 hours, PR gave us $4 to find something to eat. Thanks PR.

  3. ykish

    February 9, 2018 at 3:10 pm

    Folks forget the good stories and only write about the bad ones.
    Christmas day last year, we were too late to check in to our super early flight to Quito, Ecuador on United. I thought I was going to have to shell out a fortune but the agent put us on the next day’s flight for NO extra charge after I told her what really happened. It blew my mind that she did that and I was so thankful. Smile, be truthful, hope for the best and never demand anything. Airlines are not always terrible.

  4. sltgolf

    February 16, 2018 at 4:35 am

    My mother recently passed away when i was in Phoenix. Delta got me to the funeral (Fla) and got my husband back home (NY) with no additional charges. They also helped me with my flight back to NY. I was flying on points for all legs of this trip. and I’m not Platinum. They were very very nice and helpful and i appreciated that.

  5. Danwriter

    February 16, 2018 at 6:57 am

    Worldwide Airlines Customer Relations Association

    I’m stunned that something like this even exists.

  6. CEB

    February 16, 2018 at 8:51 am

    Are airlines doing better? Or is the media being more equitable? Or is this all just a PR job on both ends over the past couple of years?

    Having traveled more than 5 MM miles on various airlines over the past 30 years I surmise it is the latter. When you have thousands of flights per day and hundreds of thousands of employees handling millions of passengers on a world wide basis not everything is going to go perfectly. And sometimes when they go bad they can go really bad.

    Do the airlines make mistakes? Sure they do.

    Do they make them all the time? Nope.

    Do they make some each day? Of course.

    I find that almost all airline employees want to do the best they can, but everyone has a bad day and sometimes those bad days align with others’ bad days and things get out of hand. But all in all over thirty years of air travel have taught me a little (not much I admit) patience and understanding goes a long way toward a pleasant trip!

  7. Ronlap

    February 18, 2018 at 1:53 pm

    Every time a United employee does something nice for me, I recognize them on Twitter and possibly 1KVoice.

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