Making Life Easy for Passengers

By | Category: Travel rumblings

At the Low Cost Airline Congress being held in London, Carolyn McCall, the chief executive of easyJet said that the company was passionate about keeping it easy for passengers to book and travel with the airline. She didn’t want to take the airline anywhere near anything that made the booking process more complicated or make the flight overall more difficult for the passenger.
There might be a loyalty club in the future but only if there were no complications. More than once she said that complexity was the slippery slope. (shades of Sir Humphrey in “Yes Prime Minister” there.)
Coming from a newspaper group background only about a year ago she said that the things that mattered were the same in both industries, customer service. How easyJet manages its customers (ie passengers) she felt was key which is why there has been a change since the horrors of volcanic ash disruption and the harsh winters. Managing crises and problems before passengers arrived at any airport minimised problems so passengers would be texted in advance. One thing she said she had learnt was that disruption was a part of everyday life in the airline business. As it seems to be for passengers!
She was “incredibly proud” of easyJet being low cost and said that being low-cost had to be in the “bones of the company” to make the company work. What passengers liked about the airline was price, convenience and great value. What differentiates them from other low cost carriers (and Ryanair in particular) is that passengers also like the fact that they fly to primary cities (not forests as one person put it) as well as providing friendly service. In fact more than one airline boss wondered whether Ryanair was at all in interested in customer service.
easyJet carry 55 million passengers this year more than BA, Virgin Atlantic and BMI combined and it is the fifth largest airline in Europe. She was proud that 77% of departures and 83% of arrivals were on time in August 2011 (on time is considered to be within 15 minutes of the published time) and customer satisfaction levels have risen by eleven points during her watch. But more would be done to improve those satisfaction levels
A new flexi-fare has been brought in whereby the passenger gets a free bag allowance for the hold, no booking charges and a seat up the front of the plane. Isn’t that business class, the forthright CNN anchor and moderator, Richard Quest argued? And if an easyJet flight is late by more than fifteen minutes then McCall said that flexi-fare passengers would receive a free leisure flight to anywhere in the easyJet network.
No when will all passengers get that?
Never because it all comes down to getting what you pay for. Flexi-fare passengers will pay more, so will be promised more. Can McCall deliver when she flies to 40 of the major airports in Europe, not smaller ones like Ryanair? And where air traffic delays are not unusual.

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