An extremely exclusive club has just lost another member. Now that Continental Airlines has bagged its free meals I can no longer include it on the “airlines I like to brag about” list.
The list is getting very, very short, by the way. Let’s hope Alaska Air and Singapore Airlines stay in business or this list might disappear altogether.
By cutting out the free meals (in coach) Continental hopes to add $35 million to it’s bottom line. It’s the last major US airline to make the switch.
I get the need to manage costs. And I realize airlines run in packs. I didn’t really expect them to continue offering something for free that their primary competitors charge for. So, when I heard about this change, I had a hard time being critical of them.
Until they started selling this as a customer service booster. According to the AP article published today:
“Continental, which has about 900 daily mainline flights, said its food-for-sale program is about offering passengers more choices.”
Oh really? This is about helping your customers? I guess I missed that part. Because it seems to me, if you are really trying to offer your customers a better experience, you’d continue what you were doing and add more premium food items to the menu. Customers get more choice, you get more revenue. ‘Nuff said.
But let’s get real. This is about a big company cutting costs because they know (or at least they assume) it will not hurt revenue. Improving customer service is not even on the menu here.
This is just one more example of a major US airline treating its customer like second class citizens. (Pig, meet lipstick.) Apparently they don’t think too much of our intelligence.
My advice to Continental:
Stick with the truth. It shows your customers you respect them. And they’ll be more likely to stick with you.