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2014 Passenger Wish List For Airlines
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The good news is that plenty of cheap travel options are available this year, including cheap airplane tickets, discount hotel rooms, discount travel deals, and cheap vacation packages. Flying could be made that much more enjoyable though if the airlines would be open to changing some of their policies.
The following are suggestions on how airlines could improve passenger experiences, according to Smarter Travel:
• Sell one way tickets for the same amount per mile as round trip tickets, which currently only a few airlines to, such as JetBlue. Currently major legacy airlines continue to often sell one way or open jaw tickets at exorbitant prices.
• Offer electronic boarding passes. This practice is only being followed today by some airlines at select airports. Sometimes it is not convenient to find a printer and passengers tend not to want to wait in line at check-in desks at the airport. Spirit and AirTran are among the airlines to yet offer electronic boarding passes.
• Arrive on time. The worst offender of on time arrival in September and October was Southwest Airlines where one in four of its planes were delayed.
• Enable passengers to surf the Internet in the sky for free. The preferred future on in air entertainment is not dirty seatback screens with limited content. Instead customers are looking to be able to stream Netflix videos and review and respond to emails while flying.
• Airlines should refund baggage fees when bags are delayed. It makes no sense that an airline charges $25 for the privilege to check a bag and yet can misplace a bag for days at your destination, without any financial reimbursement unless a bag is permanently lost.
• Use humor to make flying a better experience. Humor helps passengers relax, treat others better, and even see silliness in stressful situations. Everyone would benefit if gate agents, attendants, and customer service reps demonstrated a little wit and vivacity.
• All airlines need to participate in the Transportation Security Administration’s “PreCheck” program. Currently only nine airlines are part of PreCheck. Passengers flying on AirTran, Allegiant, Frontier, and Spirit are unable to receive expedited screening. Air travelers deserve a faster, more streamlined security process, regardless of their airline.
• Airlines should show its passengers accurate seat maps. Today airlines frequently hold back coach seats, reducing the pool of available seats to reserve free of charge in advance. As many as 30 to 40 percent of coach seats are held in reserve for premium customers, people with special needs, and for those willing to pay extra.
• Permit gate to gate electronic device usage vs. telling passengers to store such devices during takeoffs and landings. The Federal Aviation Administration has cleared gate to gate device usage on flights. Currently only select airlines allow mobile devices to be used during takeoffs and landings.
• Make it easier for passengers to get responses to complaints. This is particularly true if the complaint is not registered via Twitter or Facebook. Passenger complaints via emails or phone calls often feel futile. Customers should not have to use social media to get an airline’s attention. Airlines that engage in basic communication skills and respond in a timely manner to emails would be less likely to have their faults exposed via the Internet.
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