All the Ways Airlines Are Trying to Get Your Business Back

Customers rarely have anything good to say about airlines, and these airlines pay attention to them. They are trying to get your business back with a range of perks that will make your trip more enjoyable. In the end, the majority of airlines has become so bad that customers are willing to fly with cheesy carriers to discount, because they are not much worse. Here’s how big companies plan to stand out.

Complimentary snacks are back with quirky coffee

Free snacks were common, like hotel room soap. But a few years ago, airlines began ditching free pretzels and peanuts to save money. And when one airline opened, others followed suit to “join the rest of the industry.”

But the free snacks are back! United brought them in earlier this month , and American Airlines plans to return free snacks on all flights by April. In all fairness, Delta, JetBlue and Southwest have never gotten rid of this service.

It’s kind of a lackluster effort and insignificant when compared to the hefty ticket prices, but it looks like airlines in general are trying to make themselves a little more comfortable. Complimentary snacks are a start and United now also serves delicious Illy coffee in their lounges and in flight. On the American side, they began testing the Convenience at Exit service , where if your flight is delayed by two hours or more and you are stuck at the exit, you will be given free snacks and drinks. The service is currently undergoing trials at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and will soon arrive at Los Angeles Airport. The company plans to introduce it on all routes later this year.

Trying to lure customers in with free food probably won’t bring us back in droves, but hey, this is just the beginning.

Best prices to compete with discount airlines

On the other hand, forget about free nuts. What we really need is better prices.

Lower fuel prices have made airline profits huge. According York Times the New , four major carriers (Delta, Southwest, United and American) last year together earned about $ 22 billion. Recent reports say ticket prices have steadily declined over the past couple of years.

According to the Ministry of Transport , the average price for domestic flights in the third quarter of 2015 decreased by 6.2% compared to 2014, making them the cheapest since 2010 ($ 372).

Cheap oil is not the only reason for the decline in prices. George Hobicka of tells CNN that larger airlines have to compete with discount carriers:

The major airlines are intimidated and staring at their wings at these low-cost carriers that definitely have market share despite their terrible reputation … On some routes they match dollar-for-dollar prices, so we see fares 50% lower than a few years ago.

At the moment, prices seem to be steadily declining, but it’s hard to say what we can expect before the end of the year , and a lot depends on what happens to the oil price. If airlines stop reaping the rewards, they will probably stop throwing the dice at us as well.

More “flexibility” with bonus rides (even if it’s a bad deal)

Overall, the awards you fly frequently are going to get worse this year. American Airlines is converting from miles traveled to dollars spent for award miles. In short, this means that you will spend more time earning travel rewards. Delta and United are already using this model.

To compensate for this, both airlines offer more flexibility in terms of rewards. United is launching a plan this year to allow customers to pay for Wi-Fi with their bonus miles on domestic flights. Delta plans to allow customers to redeem their bonus miles for drinks at its 34 Sky Clubs by the end of March.

A lot of flexibility sounds like a plus, but if you count, the actual ransom fee for Wi-Fi or drinks would actually be a pretty dire bargain. You might be better off just paying in cash and saving your flight miles.

Free Wi-Fi, more entertainment options, and larger screens

Small seats and crampedness can be hard to get used to, but in-flight entertainment is a good distraction and some airlines are expanding their options.

For example, JetBlue recently announced a complete overhaul of its seat-back TVs. They’ve nearly doubled the size of their screens and now you can choose from 100 free channels instead of 36. They’ve also updated their Wi-Fi access to include a free gate-to-gate connection. Free Wi-Fi is definitely a plus.

Not to be outdone, American is also expanding its entertainment library. According to Airways News :

Customers will now be able to choose from 40 films, 60 TV shows and 300 music albums. In addition, live TV channels are now available on long-haul international flights with Wi-Fi operated by Boeing 777-300ER, upgraded 777-200ER and 787-8. Customers can enjoy news, sports and entertainment thanks to four satellite channels in all cabins, making American Airlines the first American airline to offer free international live TV coverage.

Increasing the number of channels may not seem like a big deal, but we used to think that flying with most airlines is a completely empty experience, so a little convenience can make a big difference.

They really pay attention to consumers

After all,flying is a pretty incredible experience . However, by paying a few hundred dollars for something, the complainant will get the attention of just about anyone. Most people have a long list of troubles when it comes to airlines, but the good news is that airlines seem to be listening.

For example, United recently changed their boarding order. This will once again allow families with young children to board aircraft ahead of first-class passengers and the elite. The company’s senior vice president of customer service told the Chicago Tribune that it helps these families cope with stress, but according to the Tribune , it’s for the greater good as well :

It also helps the airline to fly out on time. Simultaneous screening of all wheelchairs frees up the movers who later have to store their carry-on luggage under the plane because there is no room for the luggage compartment.

United also recently got rid of an unpopular $ 50 handling fee for reimbursing customers for unplanned events such as juries, illness or death.

Lost baggage is a very frustrating experience and, for its part, American has introduced a new tool that allows customers to keep track of their baggage. You can check the Tracking Your Bags section on their website, enter your information, and the tracker will tell you where your baggage is at one of six checkpoint scans between check-in and baggage claim.

It may not be a lot, but at least they solve some of the most common problems associated with air travel.

Again, airline profits are skyrocketing so customers aren’t going anywhere. We still fly, we just don’t see any reason for airline loyalty because most airlines leave a lot to be desired. Fancy coffees and better policies aren’t revolutionary, but they may be enough to get you selected one airline from the competition.


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