Travel Thursday: Fair is a Four-Letter Word

One of my favorite blog authors is Eric Barker, who writes thought-provoking and well-researched columns over at Barking Up the Wrong Tree. (He also recently published a book by the same name, if you prefer to do your reading offline.) And to kick off the year, he wrote a great post addressing a popular New Year’s resolution: This Is The Easy Way To Save Money: 6 Powerful Secrets From Research. I was enjoying the piece thoroughly, as I usually enjoy Eric’s {Read More}

Travel Thursday: Setting the Upfront Tone for a Happy Customer Journey

It’s been a while since I’ve done a Travel Thursday post, but with the holiday break fast approaching, I thought it might be a good time to jump back in. This week: why is the airline industry so hated, and what can airlines realistically do about it? Flying is unfortunately not usually a pleasant experience, and some of that blame does fall on the airlines. Back in the golden age of flying (pre-deregulation), the government set ticket prices and amenities {Read More}

Travel Thursday: “Price Gouging” on Hurricane Evacuation Flights

This week, I was back in south Florida, and I was relieved to find that (at least the area I was in) was pretty much back to normal. There were a few billboards whose advertisements were ripped by the wind, and a few palm trees with lost fronds, but for the most part, everything had already been cleaned up, and I didn’t encounter any sort of power/water issues. I was so glad to see my client’s area back to normal! {Read More}

Travel Thursday: Personalization of Omnichannel Customer Service

At work, I specialize in both an industry (travel and transportation) and a “competency” (customer experience). I’m always interested in developments in each space, but I get especially jazzed when something newsworthy happens in the intersection between the two. And that’s exactly what’s happened with JetBlue’s announcement that they are teaming up with Gladly to create a new omnichannel customer service system. When you think about the different touchpoints a customer has with a brand, there are a lot of {Read More}

Travel Thursday: United Partners with Volantio to Resell Ticketed Seats

Big news in the airline revenue management space! NBC (and many other news outlets) trumpeted today that United has a new plan for reselling overbooked passenger seats. At first, I was highly annoyed by this sensational and inaccurate headline. You don’t want to sell overbooked seats again (resulting in more overbooking); you want to get those passengers off the plane! But semantics aside, getting people off the plane is exactly what technology startup Volantio promises to do, and this is a {Read More}

Travel Thursday: Why Flying Is Getting Less Comfortable

This morning, the Economist published a piece on why flying in the summer is so hellish. Their words, not mine, though I agree with that sentiment! As someone who typically flies 45-50 weeks a year, I really dislike flying over summer break and any holiday periods, when airports get congested with infrequent travelers who don’t know the basic rules/etiquette. But, as the Economist points out, there’s more to it than just higher loads: summer thunderstorms cause many delays and cancellations, whose resolution is {Read More}

Travel News: Why Airline Ticket Prices Aren’t Reflecting Fuel Prices

A few weeks ago, I delivered an overview of the airline revenue management function to a group of coworkers. To kick off the presentation, I decided to correct some common misconceptions by including this quiz: Which of the following goods/services has had their prices increase relative over the last fifteen years, relative to the consumer price index? a) Gasoline b) NFL tickets c) Single-family homes d) Cars e) Air travel The surprising answer is: all of the above, except air travel! Here’s some data {Read More}

Travel News: The Tarmac Rule Has Been Proven a Failure

Back in 2010, while I was working at an airline, the infamous “tarmac delay rule” was passed. In layman’s terms, an aircraft can’t be on the tarmac for more than three hours. Otherwise, the airline will get hit with massive fines as punishment. Contrary to popular belief, those fines don’t go to the customers as retribution for their inconvenience; they are simply collected by the government, and serve as an incentive for airlines to bring delayed planes back to the gate. (It {Read More}

Hello from Amsterdam!

That’s right, it’s jetsetting time again, and I’m here on a quick layover on my way to Brussels. Zythos Beer Festival, here I come! The flight from Washington to Amsterdam was mostly uneventful, with the exception of meal service. I had requested a gluten-free meal – I have a colleague who swears by gluten-free meals for the health value, since they tend to cut out all the “dry carbs” (i.e., potatoes, rice, pasta, bread, etc) that plague most cheap/mass produced {Read More}

They Know Who I Am (TKWIA)

In the frequent flyer world, there is a recurring joke about the people who think that they are entitled to everything and the moon – we call them DYKWIAs, or “Do You Know Who I Am”s. I try my best in my travels to never be one of them. But tonight? They Knew Who I Was. My coworkers all had much earlier flights than I did, but I shared a ride to the airport with them anyway. My meetings for {Read More}