I’d happily pay extra to an airline to treat me like a VIP. Would you?

I recently flew Singapore Airlines’ First Class for the first time. It was a trans-Pacific flight, so I got to enjoy it for the longest time possible (23hrs!). What an amazing experience it was. Aside from the product aspects, the service was unmatched. A level I had never experienced before, not on SIA’s economy class, and not on any other First Class.

This got me thinking…the marginal cost providing an exceptional service nothing compared to that of providing a superior product in a plane. And if such a service could be offered to the masses (in Economy class) for a charge, then it might be a win-win!

What a VIP service on Economy class could be like?

Great service on-board SIA is something even other airlines talk about (Aeroflot sent their staff to be trained by SIA last year!). But not everything that’s offered on First Class can be duplicated on Economy. So, here’s a quick list of what can and cannot be done:

  1. Being addressed by name, all the timethis happens even on Indian budget airlines!
  2. Genuine smiles all over. Everytime I looked at the SIA Girls, it only made me feel happier – Probably the easiest thing to duplicate and the most lacking in the Economy cabin. Just 🙂
  3. Speed through security and immigration. Singapore Airlines offers speed-passes to their First Class passengers so that they can skip the lines/queues. Easy to duplicate for passengers willing to pay for the service too
  4. Limousine pick-up and drop-off. Virgin Atlantic does this for the Upper Class, so do a lot of the Middle Eastern airlines. How about charging standard fee for hassle-free drop offs? airBaltic does this in Riga, Latvia.
  5. Premium check-in and porters at the airport. Wouldn’t you like to just skip all the check-in lines, especially with all the increased security? How about checking in bags at the hotel itself? Or even in the parking lot? Guests at Disney resorts can do both! And I’m sure airlines can tie up with hotels on this bit, and they both make some bucks.
  6. For food, choose your own Chef – this is already being done by a couple of airlines in Economy Class, like Etihad Airways. So, why can’t the rest of the airlines provide this, at a fee?
  7. How about an exit-first fee? We all know how irritating it is to stand in the aisle for over 15 mins trying to get out, even after the door has opened. How about charging a fee for priority exit for passengers who’re in a hurry? This is something I wish I had mentioned in my “Back to the future” video as well.

Why treating Economy Class passengers would work for an airline brand?

It’s not just the passengers who’d feel good about being pampered, but even the airlines can benefit from this. Here’s how:

  1. Airlines are charging for a value-added service, not something that was meant to be included (like free checked bags!)
  2. Economy Class passengers need not be treated like cattle – each one can customize his or her own experience a little
  3. It’s the masses who create the most buzz – so treat them well and the airline would leverage on the Word of Mouth
  4. Passengers should be able to use their miles for such VIP experiences as well – which works in the favor of the airline. Since miles required for such experiences be much lesser than that for a full flight, more people are likely to burn miles
  5. LCCs can offer services only they excel in, like satay on AirAsia and fresh-baked cookies on Midwest – and competition will find it difficult to replicate
  6. An ala-carte system like Air Canada’s can be created to upsell offerings while the booking is being made

These are not such outlandish ideas after all, and I say this because of something Chris Brogan wrote over a year ago:

Is there any way we can fix that “get off the plane” part of my trip? The amount of time between that bell ding and actually walking by the pilots to thank them for a non-bumpy landing seems to last forever. Isn’t there any kind of Disney people-in-line engineering that would fix this process? Tazers for slow people? At this point, I’d pay an extra 10 bucks for you to restrain people so I can just leave efficiently.

So, what do you think? Will any airlines jump on this? Would you pay to be treated like a VIP and not cattle? Let’s hear it in the comments section and over on Twitter (@simpliflying)

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Shashank Nigam

Shashank Nigam

Shashank Nigam is the CEO of SimpliFlying and a globally sought-after consultant, speaker and thought-leader on airline branding and customer engagement strategy. He is also the youngest winner of the Global Brand Leadership Award and has addressed senior aviation executives globally, from Chile to Canada and from Sydney to San Francisco. Shashank's perspectives have found their way into major media outlets, including CNN Travel, CNBC, MSNBC, Bloomberg UTV, Mashable and in leading publications like Airline Business, ATW, Aviation Week, and others. Shashank studied Information Systems Management and Business Management at Singapore Management University and Carnegie Mellon University. Hailing from India, he splits his time between Singapore and Vancouver, among other cities.
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Showing 74 comments
  • Yvette Scott
    Reply

    Airlines now know that companies aren't willing to spend the money on a Business/First Class seat, so allowing those who now have to downgrade to Econ/Premium Econ Passengers allowing them to select add ons will please the passenger, but more importantly create the extra revenue for the airline.

    Now Virgin Atlantic, as well as the complimentary transfer service for Upper Class Passengers (depending on the level of ticket), you can now book transfers, with Credit Card or Flying Club Point via their partner Tristar. I even noticed onboard my Charter flight that those in Economy could upgrade their IFE so they could chose their entertainment, as if they were in the Premium Cabin.

    I certainly would pay for certain extras to make my flight more pleasant and enjoyable for me.

  • oussama
    Reply

    Most airlines tend to charge the masses who at least at this time are providing their bread and butter after the mass defections of their Business and First Class passengers. So far, every charge that has been added has been aimed at Economy Class passenger (bag fees, food fees, charges for selecting one's seat and so on)

    LCCs offer amenities as add ons to save their passengers money and it seems to work, I don't see why Legacy airlines can not do the same. The main reason must be a mind set, the it has been done like this forever syndrome. It will require a culture shift in many airlines to not treat economy class passengers like cattle let alone VIPs.

  • Jennifer Murphy
    Reply

    I am mulling the concept of paying for simplicity. Isn't the buzz in marketing right now, 'make it easy for your customers?' To pay extra to get off the plane? It is interesting that examples of excessive courtesy is the heart of this post, when the true core of the airline problem is the lack of common courtesy for each other on an airplane. Exiting a plane is frustrating because many people can not, without assistance (thinking: Disney), be decent when being made to wait. Perhaps if airlines tagged individuals getting on the plane, politely invited them to remain seated until everyone has departed, so that they can provide additional assistance, it would free the aisle for hurried execs to exit. Then, these kind folks that are asked to wait, are given a small token or gift as a thank you for their patience and the courtesy that they are now extending to everyone on the plane by waiting.

  • Paolo Bartolozzi
    Reply

    On low cost companies in Europe I already pay for priority check-in and priority seating. On charter flights like Eurofly I pay for extra space (bulk-head or emergency exit seats). A general approach in this direction taken by all airlines would be something I wouldn’t think twice to use. I would also pay for: warmer cabins, better food, priority luggage handling (so that it is waiting for you at pickup), priority custom / immigration lanes. Anything else? well, I wouldn’t mind a smoking area on airplanes, especially for the intercontinental flights 😉

  • hmasurg
    Reply

    I enjoyed reading your views on the subject. This is how I see it:

    Airlines, good airlines, need to create and provide “brand” services to market and sell their expensive F class tickets (weather these services would be essential to air travel or not), should they provide it for Y class passengers for a fee (which will most likely not be a nominal one) then they risk loosing that edge.

    Although I perosnally love air travel and do enjoy such “paid perks” and am willing to pay over my Y class ticket to get a taste, I beleive that the majorty of passnegers are not, for them getting on board a safe, well maintained aircraft that will get them where they want to go for the least amount of money would be paramount. Furthermore, and although I am no expert, some airlines may feel that they have taken such steps to provide Y class with some services for a “fee” such as lounges or even the whole “Premium Economy” concept.

    Now having said that, there are some things airlines must take into concideration that would make the travel public happier, as you mentioned correctly, the smile gesture, costs nothing and reward could be immense.

    I agree, SQ staff are outstanding, professional, approachable and friendly, I have flown with them Y and J class and have witnessed that. Thier persona and backround should be appreciated and studied.

    In short, airlines need to have an F class edge and most passengers are less likely to pay more for services and so it's unlikely to see such services for Y class pasengers with most airlines.

    Thanks!

  • AireXpert
    Reply

    Unfortunately, most airlines have done a notoriously poor job of marketing brand differentiators that would lead to increased revenue for themselves AND (true) first class service for passengers.

  • Toms Purgailis
    Reply

    I’m not so positive about costumers’ wish to pay more for premium service in economy. If I want to pay for treating me like a VIP I would rather go to a spa, good restaurant, choose better hotel. Unless I’m late I would not use faster security or exit-first. Unless I’m starving I would not buy their overpriced star chief tiny portion of salads because much better deals are waiting me at the destination city. If airlines want to get the highest profit from auxiliary service they must provide good and cheep service for economy travelers – e.g. offering fast noodles & beans from tins for €1.5 instead of pork in vine source for €10 or selling casual cosmetics not high-end perfumes in their sky-shop – and benefiting from the non-existing floor rent and no additional labor costs. Unless high-end catering practice will be over we will see more and more passengers with their own lunch bags – booth in BOB carriers and carriers with unsatisfactory “free” meal service.

  • falcon124
    Reply

    The problem with a “First to exit” fee would be enforcing it. Cabin crew find it hard enough to enforce the “Stay seated until the seatbelt sign is off” rule after landing. We've all seen idiots stand up to get at their luggage while the aircraft is still taxiing, let alone the mad rush after it seems to have stopped at the gate. How are they going to enforce a quick exit for those who have paid???

    As has been mentioned, common courtesy between passengers (and crew) is a big part of the problems people are now encountering. Passengers are tired of the delays, sub-standard service and security theatre that makes the whole experience even worse. Tempers are fraying and I've heard reports of some pax almost having a fight over getting luggage in the overheads.

    As to paying for a smile – wow – have we sunk that low? 🙂 I get smiles for free on Virgin Blue (mostly 🙂 and I'm told the AirNZ crew are pretty good at smiling often. Maybe it has something to do with how management treat their staff?

    For me, I think I'd pay extra for:

    1) Space – it's called premium economy or, as some LCCs are offering, pay extra for exit row seats or to reserve an empty seat next to you, etc. This might also help the “first to exit” as roomier seats are often up front near the door 🙂

    2) Faster check-in via dedicated counters (eg: QANTAS Club members get their own checkin queues)

    3) Faster security processing via dedicated scan points (this would be VERY hard for airlines to arrange as it has to mesh with government security – I'm thinking the TSA here – yuk!)

    4) Extra IFE options to help pass the time on a long trip (my son's DS batteries will run out after a few hours 🙂

    Otherwise, I expect smiles & polite service as a minimum 🙂

  • Shah Rahman
    Reply

    Probably you would, but most of the passengers would like to fly at the cheapest rate possible on an airline which flies and reaches its destination on time. Until now, as per a survey, only 2% of Indian population flies. So there's a huge group of people still awaiting to fly, again probably at the cheapest rate possible..!!

    Incase you need pampering, fly Kingfisher and vahe fun mate..!!

    Safe Flight..!!

  • Johannes Boos
    Reply

    A friendly and smiling cabin crew is mandatory on every flight – and from the first row to the last one, no matter which class you fly in. You shouldn't been forced to pay for what is the basis of service delivery.

    I agree that if are lots of ways to earn some bucks with all kinds of additional VIP services – although I think, this only works for airlines offering only one or a maximum of two classes of service onboard. Why? Too many “VIP options” may jeopardize premium products like Premium Economy or Business Class. In order to keep as many people as possible turning left when entering the aircraft, you shouldn't be able to upgrade your economy ticket to some kind of “Business-Class-Style-flight”. When flying carriers offering three or four classes (Eco, Premium Eco, Biz, First), you simply choose your level of service by choosing the respective travel class.

  • Salim ALSuwaidi
    Reply

    I somehow agree with Mr. Johannes Boos, But also I say that depend on what service would you look for is on which class you would buy to fly by.

    For example of this topic that happened to me:

    1- I was flying to Geneva from Abu Dhabi for an IATA course, I found only Etihad Airways to fly Direct flight from United Arab Emirates, I bought my Tickets on Economy and Didn't want to pay extra because I'm not on a pleasure trip.
    I am a member of their flyer program and I was called by my full name after take off by the cabin and she welcomed me and told me if i require any assistant to ask any of the cabin and She left, She didnt do that to the guy sitting next to me. I felt good
    But Due to my big size the trip was a little bit uncomfy for me because the seatpitch was very small between seats, when leaving back I upgraded to Business class and Luckily service was much more better as in prior check-in, prior boarding and Limousine service back home.

    2- I was Flying to Seoul, South Korea also for course related with ACI GTH, After doing a lot reading on which airline to fly with I saw many people recommended Korean Air, i went on Economy class, I wasn't named after take off though I'm a flyer frequent member, But I found they have one of the best Economy seats for a Big guy like me, plus when ever I click on cabin assistant bottom, I do have a high attention from the cabin from taking care and they were friendly too and very helpful.
    I didn't need to upgrade to business class tho the flight duration was around 10 Hours return from Dubai.

    But in the end, my requirements are very simple and they are:
    Good legroom (around 33″~34″) and good seat width (18.5″ or higher)

    Thats my Major requirement to be on my flight, But If i am going on a vacation alone I do go business class and have the pleasant flight or with my wife, but lately I'm flying with my family as Me and my wife and my sisters So I make sure to flying onto the most comfy airlines without having to spend so many $$. In the end I'm expecting to enjoy my time at my desired destination and have a comfortable trip in the plane.

    I'm a lot active member here in LinkedIn but Will try to come up and be active with many subjects around here.

    Thanks for reading and my Best Regards,
    Salim AL Suwaidi

  • Martin de Weert
    Reply

    Priority No.1 for an airliner is to turn the aircraft around as soon as possible. If memory serves me well, airliners nowadays make priority check-in an exit availale to people that can enter or exit the aircraft faster (eg. people with no cabin lugage). Making this option available for everybody regardless would only mess up the system for fast turn around.

    I'd like to hear how you forsee the option for extra F/A attention. I mean, would you get a special cap, showing the F/A that you paid for the option?

  • John Kosak
    Reply

    I'd really like it if an airline started treating me like a human. I can't afford to pay extra to be treated like VIP (I thought that was what First Class was about) but airlines like jetBlue have done a great job of treating me like I was a person, if not an individual. If they are going to my destination I will gladly pay more for their services. I get actual legroom, not stuffed like a sardine between seats. I have entertainment at my seat that I don't have to pay extra for. I can check a bag without being charged extra (the last airline that charged me extra broke my bag and then made our flight wait an extra hour to get our bags back) which means I'm not trying to drag everything for my trip into the cabin.

  • Mark Hornung
    Reply

    Unfortunately, there have been carriers that tried this and failed (notably on the JFK > LHR route). Part of the problem is that business travel at corporations is controlled at the corporate level, where preferred vendor discounts and policies restricting business or first class apply. Given the pressure of price competition, the best carriers can do is to engage employees so that they are willing and able to do what's right for the passenger. Southwest is viewed as the epitome of this, and Virgin America is also well regarded. Good news is, it doesn't cost that much and it lasts through good times or bad.

  • Andrea Hoffmann
    Reply

    Probably not. In fact, it irritates me that I have to pay extra to check a bag – why not work it into the ticket price? Come share you views about the best and worst airline brands on the new Facebook forum: BRANDZY. My personal favorite: Continental.

  • Emmett Cox
    Reply

    What a great topic!
    Some would say just treat me like a human being, not another number. But after flying more often than not over the last few years that is not enough.
    The best “Perk” i have from my loyalty program(s) is access to the club worldwide, which is my safe haven before and inbetween flights. Priority seating so i have access to overhead space, free and frequent upgrades.
    The vast majority of flyers are not corpoprate business but “Normal” travelers. Although business / corporate flyers account for more miles. I venture to guess the everyday consumer does not collect enough miles to get any upgrades.

    Please post what your survey tells.

    Emmett Cox

  • Jeffrey Reich, CAM
    Reply

    It will come to that again. I pretict that airlines will eventually be based on a service levels and incremental charges for amenities.

  • Fiona Murton
    Reply

    Yes I would and all of my clients.
    You'd have to get the staff to smile first though.

  • Richard Manley
    Reply

    Fiona, agree so many airline staff seem to be locked in cuckoo land !!

    European flights it doesn`t really bother me I just want to get there !! Long haul is a different fish though !!

    Regards
    Richard

  • WILLIAM THAELS
    Reply

    Would you do the same for Private Ground Transportation services?

  • Paolo L. Bartolozzi
    Reply

    I wold pay to be able to smoke on a long journey..

  • Ellen Sluder
    Reply

    I couldn't get the link to work – but when I travel for business or any red-eye, I'd pay extra to be on a baby-free flight.

    Don't people already pay extra for VIP treatment? They just do it in purchasing lots of tickets and getting elite status…

  • Michael Schron
    Reply

    People want better treatment but the question is, how much more are they willing to pay for it? Especially since with few exceptions, consumers seek the lowest available fare. Some do pay up in buying a first or business class ticket, in some cases premium economy, e.g. on many longhaul flights British Airways offers 4 distinct classes of service. As many airlines move to unbundled a la carte pricing there is also the ability to pay extra for select services or amenities that not everyone wants to pay for, e.g. meals or seating preference. And truly frequent fliers also improve their situation by being loyal to one airline or alliance and gaining elite status. While people like to complain, economy class airfares have actually gone down over the years, enabling many more people to fly, and this would not have been financially possible without changing the service model. In a recession only those whose company is paying or who have sufficient disposable income will seek out better service vs. the lowest fare.

  • Richard Ziskind
    Reply

    I think there is a misunderstanding in the minds of our industry. There are things as a service provider we should provide the customer without a cost.

  • Alan Young
    Reply

    I must admit that I am a little confused. Starting my career in the hotel industry and then migrating it to hospitality and airline technology, I was always aware for the need to provide excellent service.

    It amazes me that we are having a dialogue about this issue as it should be the core mission of all airlines, hotels, car rental companies, etc to provide exemplary service to their guests and clients at all times. It is a sad state of affairs when it is suggested that in order to receive great treatment from a service provider that we now need to pay extra for enhanced service.

  • Graham Harrison
    Reply

    I have problems with some of your specific suggestions. Pay to be called by name? That means the cabin crew have to remember who to call by name, and what name to use, and also who NOT to call by name – if you call someone by name who has not paid for the service that devalues the benefit to those who have paid. Pay to get off first? How do you stop everyone else clogging up the aisles? Fit doors to seats? What if the “first off person” is in a window seat?

    I also have an issue with the logistics of providing too may personalised on-board services. Even on a full flight people don't always sit in their assigned seat – the crew themselves sometimes ask people to move for a number of reasons (e.g. the man who is suing BA because he was asked to move when he was seated next to a child travelling alone). The airlines have enough trouble getting special meals to passengers today; imagine if everyone had the ability to order a different meal. And then if the passenger doesn't like the meal – can he send it back as in a restaurant – after all he's paid for it like a restaurant. And don't get me started on IROPs.

    Personally, I'm waiting for the first law suit to emerge when an airline has charged for baggage and loses the bag.

  • Sheila Scarborough
    Reply

    No thanks, I'll just fly Southwest Airlines or JetBlue. 🙂

  • Johannes Boos
    Reply

    A friendly and smiling cabin crew is mandatory on every flight – and from the first row to the last one, no matter which class you fly in. You shouldn't been forced to pay for what is the basis of service delivery.

    I agree that if are lots of ways to earn some bucks with all kinds of additional VIP services – although I think, this only works for airlines offering only one or a maximum of two classes of service onboard. Why? Too many “VIP options” may jeopardize premium products like Premium Economy or Business Class. In order to keep as many people as possible turning left when entering the aircraft, you shouldn't be able to upgrade your economy ticket to some kind of “Business-Class-Style-flight”. When flying carriers offering three or four classes (Eco, Premium Eco, Biz, First), you simply choose your level of service by choosing the respective travel class.

  • Salim ALSuwaidi
    Reply

    I somehow agree with Mr. Johannes Boos, But also I say that depend on what service would you look for is on which class you would buy to fly by.

    For example of this topic that happened to me:

    1- I was flying to Geneva from Abu Dhabi for an IATA course, I found only Etihad Airways to fly Direct flight from United Arab Emirates, I bought my Tickets on Economy and Didn't want to pay extra because I'm not on a pleasure trip.
    I am a member of their flyer program and I was called by my full name after take off by the cabin and she welcomed me and told me if i require any assistant to ask any of the cabin and She left, She didnt do that to the guy sitting next to me. I felt good
    But Due to my big size the trip was a little bit uncomfy for me because the seatpitch was very small between seats, when leaving back I upgraded to Business class and Luckily service was much more better as in prior check-in, prior boarding and Limousine service back home.

    2- I was Flying to Seoul, South Korea also for course related with ACI GTH, After doing a lot reading on which airline to fly with I saw many people recommended Korean Air, i went on Economy class, I wasn't named after take off though I'm a flyer frequent member, But I found they have one of the best Economy seats for a Big guy like me, plus when ever I click on cabin assistant bottom, I do have a high attention from the cabin from taking care and they were friendly too and very helpful.
    I didn't need to upgrade to business class tho the flight duration was around 10 Hours return from Dubai.

    But in the end, my requirements are very simple and they are:
    Good legroom (around 33″~34″) and good seat width (18.5″ or higher)

    Thats my Major requirement to be on my flight, But If i am going on a vacation alone I do go business class and have the pleasant flight or with my wife, but lately I'm flying with my family as Me and my wife and my sisters So I make sure to flying onto the most comfy airlines without having to spend so many $$. In the end I'm expecting to enjoy my time at my desired destination and have a comfortable trip in the plane.

    I'm a lot active member here in LinkedIn but Will try to come up and be active with many subjects around here.

    Thanks for reading and my Best Regards,
    Salim AL Suwaidi

  • Richard Anderson
    Reply

    I always fly first class just because I get treated better there. I would also pay extra in order to avoid the long lines at security and also the long wait for baggage return.

  • Ronald Kuhlmann
    Reply

    My experience after almost 3 million air miles is that the crew attitude has the most dramatic effect on my final impression. While first or business will guarantee extra amenities and space, it does not always mean superior service. Last year my wife and I flew from SFO to BOS RT in First and we experienced First class “treatment” on only one segment, BOS-ORD. The other two were completely without special merit. I also recently returned from Europe on a US carrier in First and, while it was comfortable, there was nothing in the attitude or graciousness of the crew that differentiated the experience.

    My most memorable flights have actually been in economy where the crew has been exceptional in their response and good humor. I was on a full LH 747 in Frankfurt for 10 hours at the gate and still count it as one of the best examples of good service that I have ever experienced. Similarly, a long delay at DEN on United some years ago was managed with textbook perfection.

    I do appreciate the perks that come with my premier status and would be sad to lose them but a pleasant crew that actually seems to like what they do will trump “goodies” anytime in my book.

  • WILLIAM THAELS
    Reply

    Would you do the same for Private Ground Transportation services?

  • Paolo L. Bartolozzi
    Reply

    I wold pay to be able to smoke on a long journey..

  • Ellen Sluder
    Reply

    I couldn't get the link to work – but when I travel for business or any red-eye, I'd pay extra to be on a baby-free flight.

    Don't people already pay extra for VIP treatment? They just do it in purchasing lots of tickets and getting elite status…

  • Michael Schron
    Reply

    People want better treatment but the question is, how much more are they willing to pay for it? Especially since with few exceptions, consumers seek the lowest available fare. Some do pay up in buying a first or business class ticket, in some cases premium economy, e.g. on many longhaul flights British Airways offers 4 distinct classes of service. As many airlines move to unbundled a la carte pricing there is also the ability to pay extra for select services or amenities that not everyone wants to pay for, e.g. meals or seating preference. And truly frequent fliers also improve their situation by being loyal to one airline or alliance and gaining elite status. While people like to complain, economy class airfares have actually gone down over the years, enabling many more people to fly, and this would not have been financially possible without changing the service model. In a recession only those whose company is paying or who have sufficient disposable income will seek out better service vs. the lowest fare.

  • Michael Schron
    Reply

    People want better treatment but the question is, how much more are they willing to pay for it? Especially since with few exceptions, consumers seek the lowest available fare. Some do pay up in buying a first or business class ticket, in some cases premium economy, e.g. on many longhaul flights British Airways offers 4 distinct classes of service. As many airlines move to unbundled a la carte pricing there is also the ability to pay extra for select services or amenities that not everyone wants to pay for, e.g. meals or seating preference. And truly frequent fliers also improve their situation by being loyal to one airline or alliance and gaining elite status. While people like to complain, economy class airfares have actually gone down over the years, enabling many more people to fly, and this would not have been financially possible without changing the service model. In a recession only those whose company is paying or who have sufficient disposable income will seek out better service vs. the lowest fare.

  • Michael Schron
    Reply

    People want better treatment but the question is, how much more are they willing to pay for it? Especially since with few exceptions, consumers seek the lowest available fare. Some do pay up in buying a first or business class ticket, in some cases premium economy, e.g. on many longhaul flights British Airways offers 4 distinct classes of service. As many airlines move to unbundled a la carte pricing there is also the ability to pay extra for select services or amenities that not everyone wants to pay for, e.g. meals or seating preference. And truly frequent fliers also improve their situation by being loyal to one airline or alliance and gaining elite status. While people like to complain, economy class airfares have actually gone down over the years, enabling many more people to fly, and this would not have been financially possible without changing the service model. In a recession only those whose company is paying or who have sufficient disposable income will seek out better service vs. the lowest fare.

  • Michael Schron
    Reply

    People want better treatment but the question is, how much more are they willing to pay for it? Especially since with few exceptions, consumers seek the lowest available fare. Some do pay up in buying a first or business class ticket, in some cases premium economy, e.g. on many longhaul flights British Airways offers 4 distinct classes of service. As many airlines move to unbundled a la carte pricing there is also the ability to pay extra for select services or amenities that not everyone wants to pay for, e.g. meals or seating preference. And truly frequent fliers also improve their situation by being loyal to one airline or alliance and gaining elite status. While people like to complain, economy class airfares have actually gone down over the years, enabling many more people to fly, and this would not have been financially possible without changing the service model. In a recession only those whose company is paying or who have sufficient disposable income will seek out better service vs. the lowest fare.

  • Michael Schron
    Reply

    People want better treatment but the question is, how much more are they willing to pay for it? Especially since with few exceptions, consumers seek the lowest available fare. Some do pay up in buying a first or business class ticket, in some cases premium economy, e.g. on many longhaul flights British Airways offers 4 distinct classes of service. As many airlines move to unbundled a la carte pricing there is also the ability to pay extra for select services or amenities that not everyone wants to pay for, e.g. meals or seating preference. And truly frequent fliers also improve their situation by being loyal to one airline or alliance and gaining elite status. While people like to complain, economy class airfares have actually gone down over the years, enabling many more people to fly, and this would not have been financially possible without changing the service model. In a recession only those whose company is paying or who have sufficient disposable income will seek out better service vs. the lowest fare.

  • Richard Ziskind
    Reply

    I think there is a misunderstanding in the minds of our industry. There are things as a service provider we should provide the customer without a cost.

  • Alan Young
    Reply

    I must admit that I am a little confused. Starting my career in the hotel industry and then migrating it to hospitality and airline technology, I was always aware for the need to provide excellent service.

    It amazes me that we are having a dialogue about this issue as it should be the core mission of all airlines, hotels, car rental companies, etc to provide exemplary service to their guests and clients at all times. It is a sad state of affairs when it is suggested that in order to receive great treatment from a service provider that we now need to pay extra for enhanced service.

  • Graham Harrison
    Reply

    I have problems with some of your specific suggestions. Pay to be called by name? That means the cabin crew have to remember who to call by name, and what name to use, and also who NOT to call by name – if you call someone by name who has not paid for the service that devalues the benefit to those who have paid. Pay to get off first? How do you stop everyone else clogging up the aisles? Fit doors to seats? What if the “first off person” is in a window seat?

    I also have an issue with the logistics of providing too may personalised on-board services. Even on a full flight people don't always sit in their assigned seat – the crew themselves sometimes ask people to move for a number of reasons (e.g. the man who is suing BA because he was asked to move when he was seated next to a child travelling alone). The airlines have enough trouble getting special meals to passengers today; imagine if everyone had the ability to order a different meal. And then if the passenger doesn't like the meal – can he send it back as in a restaurant – after all he's paid for it like a restaurant. And don't get me started on IROPs.

    Personally, I'm waiting for the first law suit to emerge when an airline has charged for baggage and loses the bag.

  • Graham Harrison
    Reply

    I have problems with some of your specific suggestions. Pay to be called by name? That means the cabin crew have to remember who to call by name, and what name to use, and also who NOT to call by name – if you call someone by name who has not paid for the service that devalues the benefit to those who have paid. Pay to get off first? How do you stop everyone else clogging up the aisles? Fit doors to seats? What if the “first off person” is in a window seat?

    I also have an issue with the logistics of providing too may personalised on-board services. Even on a full flight people don't always sit in their assigned seat – the crew themselves sometimes ask people to move for a number of reasons (e.g. the man who is suing BA because he was asked to move when he was seated next to a child travelling alone). The airlines have enough trouble getting special meals to passengers today; imagine if everyone had the ability to order a different meal. And then if the passenger doesn't like the meal – can he send it back as in a restaurant – after all he's paid for it like a restaurant. And don't get me started on IROPs.

    Personally, I'm waiting for the first law suit to emerge when an airline has charged for baggage and loses the bag.

  • Graham Harrison
    Reply

    I have problems with some of your specific suggestions. Pay to be called by name? That means the cabin crew have to remember who to call by name, and what name to use, and also who NOT to call by name – if you call someone by name who has not paid for the service that devalues the benefit to those who have paid. Pay to get off first? How do you stop everyone else clogging up the aisles? Fit doors to seats? What if the “first off person” is in a window seat?

    I also have an issue with the logistics of providing too may personalised on-board services. Even on a full flight people don't always sit in their assigned seat – the crew themselves sometimes ask people to move for a number of reasons (e.g. the man who is suing BA because he was asked to move when he was seated next to a child travelling alone). The airlines have enough trouble getting special meals to passengers today; imagine if everyone had the ability to order a different meal. And then if the passenger doesn't like the meal – can he send it back as in a restaurant – after all he's paid for it like a restaurant. And don't get me started on IROPs.

    Personally, I'm waiting for the first law suit to emerge when an airline has charged for baggage and loses the bag.

  • Graham Harrison
    Reply

    I have problems with some of your specific suggestions. Pay to be called by name? That means the cabin crew have to remember who to call by name, and what name to use, and also who NOT to call by name – if you call someone by name who has not paid for the service that devalues the benefit to those who have paid. Pay to get off first? How do you stop everyone else clogging up the aisles? Fit doors to seats? What if the “first off person” is in a window seat?

    I also have an issue with the logistics of providing too may personalised on-board services. Even on a full flight people don't always sit in their assigned seat – the crew themselves sometimes ask people to move for a number of reasons (e.g. the man who is suing BA because he was asked to move when he was seated next to a child travelling alone). The airlines have enough trouble getting special meals to passengers today; imagine if everyone had the ability to order a different meal. And then if the passenger doesn't like the meal – can he send it back as in a restaurant – after all he's paid for it like a restaurant. And don't get me started on IROPs.

    Personally, I'm waiting for the first law suit to emerge when an airline has charged for baggage and loses the bag.

  • Graham Harrison
    Reply

    I have problems with some of your specific suggestions. Pay to be called by name? That means the cabin crew have to remember who to call by name, and what name to use, and also who NOT to call by name – if you call someone by name who has not paid for the service that devalues the benefit to those who have paid. Pay to get off first? How do you stop everyone else clogging up the aisles? Fit doors to seats? What if the “first off person” is in a window seat?

    I also have an issue with the logistics of providing too may personalised on-board services. Even on a full flight people don't always sit in their assigned seat – the crew themselves sometimes ask people to move for a number of reasons (e.g. the man who is suing BA because he was asked to move when he was seated next to a child travelling alone). The airlines have enough trouble getting special meals to passengers today; imagine if everyone had the ability to order a different meal. And then if the passenger doesn't like the meal – can he send it back as in a restaurant – after all he's paid for it like a restaurant. And don't get me started on IROPs.

    Personally, I'm waiting for the first law suit to emerge when an airline has charged for baggage and loses the bag.

  • Sheila Scarborough
    Reply

    No thanks, I'll just fly Southwest Airlines or JetBlue. 🙂

  • ilan Geva
    Reply

    Pay extra for something that once was the standard?
    I've been an elite status traveler for many years on 3 airlines, and what they give me now, I remember getting for free when I flew them as a child.
    Is the intention here to pay extra for something that deteriorated in quality over the years, just to get the original quality back?…I don't get it.
    For me, it only opens an opportunity to the smart ones who will start companies with honest, authentic and value filled airlines in the future. JetBlue got it to a certain extent, what about others?

  • Karen Dansby
    Reply

    Everything seems geared towards cutting costs and what additional costs can we pass on to the consumer next? As for how much am I willing to pay for something extra? I'll pay up to a certain dollar amount more for a nonstop flight vs a connection. My time is valuable. I'll pay extra to take a different flight where I am not stuck in the uncomfortable middle seat. Yea, I hate middle seats. A real disservice. How about wider seats & First class for coach prices.

  • Stacey Dougherty
    Reply

    Isn't it funny how much air travel has changed in 20 years? Flying used to be an event but now that more than 650 million passengers take to the skies worldwide every year it has become as mundane as a Greyhound bus ride, and sometimes as stressful as riding the NYC subway during rush hour.

    Like it or not, the planes are smaller, the extras reduced to a bag of peanuts or a cookie, and an alcohol-free beverage. Baggage fees add to the fare and now we have to pay for our choice of seat. We're paying extra for everything that has long since disappeared from the standard service of most airlines and to suggest that we pay for a smile is going a tad too far. And besides, if the airlines charged for what you suggest, do you really think that they'll deliver?

    How do you tell a plane full of passengers who have sat through a 3-6 hour flight with a screaming baby onboard to please wait for those who have paid extra to exit the aircraft? Good luck with that!

  • Stacey Dougherty
    Reply

    Isn't it funny how much air travel has changed in 20 years? Flying used to be an event but now that more than 650 million passengers take to the skies worldwide every year it has become as mundane as a Greyhound bus ride, and sometimes as stressful as riding the NYC subway during rush hour.

    Like it or not, the planes are smaller, the extras reduced to a bag of peanuts or a cookie, and an alcohol-free beverage. Baggage fees add to the fare and now we have to pay for our choice of seat. We're paying extra for everything that has long since disappeared from the standard service of most airlines and to suggest that we pay for a smile is going a tad too far. And besides, if the airlines charged for what you suggest, do you really think that they'll deliver?

    How do you tell a plane full of passengers who have sat through a 3-6 hour flight with a screaming baby onboard to please wait for those who have paid extra to exit the aircraft? Good luck with that!

  • Stacey Dougherty
    Reply

    Isn't it funny how much air travel has changed in 20 years? Flying used to be an event but now that more than 650 million passengers take to the skies worldwide every year it has become as mundane as a Greyhound bus ride, and sometimes as stressful as riding the NYC subway during rush hour.

    Like it or not, the planes are smaller, the extras reduced to a bag of peanuts or a cookie, and an alcohol-free beverage. Baggage fees add to the fare and now we have to pay for our choice of seat. We're paying extra for everything that has long since disappeared from the standard service of most airlines and to suggest that we pay for a smile is going a tad too far. And besides, if the airlines charged for what you suggest, do you really think that they'll deliver?

    How do you tell a plane full of passengers who have sat through a 3-6 hour flight with a screaming baby onboard to please wait for those who have paid extra to exit the aircraft? Good luck with that!

  • Stacey Dougherty
    Reply

    Isn't it funny how much air travel has changed in 20 years? Flying used to be an event but now that more than 650 million passengers take to the skies worldwide every year it has become as mundane as a Greyhound bus ride, and sometimes as stressful as riding the NYC subway during rush hour.

    Like it or not, the planes are smaller, the extras reduced to a bag of peanuts or a cookie, and an alcohol-free beverage. Baggage fees add to the fare and now we have to pay for our choice of seat. We're paying extra for everything that has long since disappeared from the standard service of most airlines and to suggest that we pay for a smile is going a tad too far. And besides, if the airlines charged for what you suggest, do you really think that they'll deliver?

    How do you tell a plane full of passengers who have sat through a 3-6 hour flight with a screaming baby onboard to please wait for those who have paid extra to exit the aircraft? Good luck with that!

  • Stacey Dougherty
    Reply

    Isn't it funny how much air travel has changed in 20 years? Flying used to be an event but now that more than 650 million passengers take to the skies worldwide every year it has become as mundane as a Greyhound bus ride, and sometimes as stressful as riding the NYC subway during rush hour.

    Like it or not, the planes are smaller, the extras reduced to a bag of peanuts or a cookie, and an alcohol-free beverage. Baggage fees add to the fare and now we have to pay for our choice of seat. We're paying extra for everything that has long since disappeared from the standard service of most airlines and to suggest that we pay for a smile is going a tad too far. And besides, if the airlines charged for what you suggest, do you really think that they'll deliver?

    How do you tell a plane full of passengers who have sat through a 3-6 hour flight with a screaming baby onboard to please wait for those who have paid extra to exit the aircraft? Good luck with that!

  • Pam Williams
    Reply

    I'm with Sheila ~ give me an airline that gets me from point A to point B safely and on-time. As for the rest of you… Really smoking? How would we do that without impacting the rights and health of others. Babies? Come on! We ask WAY too much of our air travel providers!

  • Karen Dansby
    Reply

    a room inside a room with seperate ventilation maybe? Hmmmmm…. sounds good to me. No babies allowed of course. 🙂

  • Graham Harrison
    Reply

    As a non US resident if I want to hire a car in the US I find that most of the car hire companies now offer me an “all inclusive” rate. Instead of having a rate for the car plus CDW, and blah blah blah extra fees I just get a single cost.

    The airlines in the meantime are moving the other way. What used to be an “all inclusive” rate is now fare plus baggage plus blah blah extra fees.

    I wonder who has it right?

  • Graham Harrison
    Reply

    As a non US resident if I want to hire a car in the US I find that most of the car hire companies now offer me an “all inclusive” rate. Instead of having a rate for the car plus CDW, and blah blah blah extra fees I just get a single cost.

    The airlines in the meantime are moving the other way. What used to be an “all inclusive” rate is now fare plus baggage plus blah blah extra fees.

    I wonder who has it right?

  • Graham Harrison
    Reply

    As a non US resident if I want to hire a car in the US I find that most of the car hire companies now offer me an “all inclusive” rate. Instead of having a rate for the car plus CDW, and blah blah blah extra fees I just get a single cost.

    The airlines in the meantime are moving the other way. What used to be an “all inclusive” rate is now fare plus baggage plus blah blah extra fees.

    I wonder who has it right?

  • Graham Harrison
    Reply

    As a non US resident if I want to hire a car in the US I find that most of the car hire companies now offer me an “all inclusive” rate. Instead of having a rate for the car plus CDW, and blah blah blah extra fees I just get a single cost.

    The airlines in the meantime are moving the other way. What used to be an “all inclusive” rate is now fare plus baggage plus blah blah extra fees.

    I wonder who has it right?

  • Graham Harrison
    Reply

    As a non US resident if I want to hire a car in the US I find that most of the car hire companies now offer me an “all inclusive” rate. Instead of having a rate for the car plus CDW, and blah blah blah extra fees I just get a single cost.

    The airlines in the meantime are moving the other way. What used to be an “all inclusive” rate is now fare plus baggage plus blah blah extra fees.

    I wonder who has it right?

  • Gigi Ballester
    Reply

    I would pay for all the first class amenities provided on Singapore Airlines or Emirates Air and other similar service-oriented carriers.

    This is a reply to a similar topic on another LinkedIn discussion which you can see on this link – http://www.linkedin.com/groupAnswers?viewQuesti

    “In my opinion, regulation may be the salvation of the airline industry. As Dee stated, regulation does not mean “government run” – it only sets rules and guidelines for the industry to adhere to. Deregulation has contributed to the depreciation of service. Another example is the breakup of the telephone company. It is true the prices have gone down but service and competition has also diminished.
    Affordability for the masses was not what kept the airline industry afloat – it was and it still is the business traveler. Back in the days of regulation, travel agents were able to sell vacation packages that were all inclusive (air fares, ground transportation, hotels, etc.) but deregulation destroyed the travel agencies. The airlines that offer the business traveler first class/business class choices and actually have inflight services for tourists, are still flying and they are all foreign operators. Most corporations and wealthy travelers opt for private jets rather than US airlines. That was not the case back in the day when airline travel was regulated.
    And, please, don't get me started on the “hubs”. 🙂

  • Charles Snyder
    Reply

    I would pay for personalized service in the terminal, no lines for check in or security and a better trained, friendlier staff.

  • ED ROACH
    Reply

    No, they should be treating all customers as VIP's. Airlines have no control over security restraints that is making flying stressful and frustrating, but they should be doing more to making non-exploding customers love them. A smile shouldn't cost any extra!

  • Mark Prus
    Reply

    The “high service” business model has failed several times in the airline industry. While I agree that being treated like a human being is something I would pay a premium for, apparently not enough of us exist to make a business of it!

  • Ben Allen
    Reply

    I think what you are referring to is called 1K status.

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