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 9news.com. 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.