26 Million Checked bags go missing while the airline industry rakes in over 3 Billion Dollars in checked bag fees.
Anyone that travels knows how flights have become challenging. With the merger of airlines, the weather, and holiday volume it is a known fact that more luggage will be misplaced, damaged, or routed to the wrong destination. Normally it is a minor inconvenience but during the holidays the bags often contain gifts. The mounting battles for the overhead space, the TSA rules about what can be transported, and the need for better baggage handling technology still seem minimal when you understand that over 400 million bags are ‘checked’ each year on domestic airlines. From a stressful flight, increasing baggage fees, and crowed seating, a misplaced bag becomes a major issue for the affected passenger.
As you can imagine the baggage service at the airport gets some of the most irritated, angry, and downright nasty passengers. What can be done? How can you deliver a quality passenger service experience? What can we learn and apply it to our own businesses?
In my book, D-A-T-I-N-G Your Customer I often reflect on the first chance to make an impression. D equals DAZZLE. Today that is difficult because most passengers feel it is their right to complain about everything from uncontrollable weather delays to lost or misplaced luggage. Think about it for a minute. 26Million lost for 400 million transported. That’s not a bad record…except if you are one of the passengers that paid checked baggage fees and now find that your bag is not at your destination.
The good news is that the additional airline fees have ramped up the level of interest in both our government and passenger awareness. Now there are smartphone apps, bar codes, and other ways to track bags at every stage of the trip.
So how do we DAZZLE the passenger that realizes the baggage is MIA? Charlotte North Carolina has found a wonderful solution to appease their passengers. It is a simply, cost-effective pacifier. While it doesn’t make the bag re-appear instantly it does make for some positive conversation, a reduction in the anger level, and the ability to ‘humanize’ the situation?
What are you doing to DAZZLE your customers? The airlines are working to reduce their losses. Airline data provider SITA, which issues worldwide baggage reports says the airlines mishandled rates has been cut in half worldwide in the last five years. Perhaps it’s because airlines now realize they have to D-A-T-E their passengers…or at least buy them some popcorn.
Shift Happens and we all have to make the best of it.
Now do your part.
- Don’t pack items that ‘have to be delivered’ when you arrive.
- If they are too big to carry on the plane or are prohibited by TSA then ship then ahead of time.
- Allow enough time between connections for your bag to catch up with you.
- Don’t over pack your bags. Leave enough room for cushioning of the ‘gifts’ inside.
- Don’t wrap your gifts. TSA wants to know what you are carrying. They will remove the wrapping so why waste time and effort in gift wrapping. Simply buy some wrapping when you arrive or pack it in the bag and gift wrap the presents when you arrive.
- Baggage service personnel did not lose your bag. They are there to help you find your bag. Getting nasty won’t help. And if you are really nasty the paperwork might get lost or delayed. Remember to be nice. Offer them some popcorn or candy. People need to remember to be nice not nasty.
Have a wonderful holiday by D-A-T-I-N-G everyone. It will make both of you smile and your trip will be more enjoyable.
Please and thank you go a long way.