With airfares going up, most airlines charging for checked luggage and now one charging for carry-on bags, I wonder if the airlines have forgotten who their customers are and what they care about.
Now I'm just one person who uses airline services regularly, but my husband and I fit three types of customers.
1. Business Traveller - frequent flyer, frequent customer program member, travels two or more round trips per month.
2. Business Traveller - travels eight to ten round trips per year
3. Vacation Traveller - one to two round trips per year
As a type 1 Business Traveller, I want inexpensive, safe, friendly, easy conveyance between my home and client office. When I visit my client's office, I am there for at least four days. I bring clothing and hygeine supplies for the duration of the trip as well as the information and tools required to support the work I have been hired to perform. I do not check my bags because it adds 15-20 minutes to the begining of my trip and 30-45 minutes on the end. Multiply this by two for each round trip and it's a huge time suck. Because of that, I carry as little as possible and carry everything on board.
As a type 2 Business Traveller, my husband wants inexpensive, safe, friendly, easy conveyance between our home and the races he competes in. A domestic race usually requires a three day visit, clothing and hygeine supplies, a racing wheelchair, an everyday wheelchair and supplies for wheelchair maintenance. He checks his bag and racing chair so he can carry on his wheels. This means the same 15-20 and 30-45 minutes of wait time at either end of the trip as well as an additional 20 minutes waiting for the chair to be brought to baggage claim. Our prefered airline used to gate-check the racing chair, but this has become a huge hassle.
As Vacation Travellers, we want inexpensive, safe, friendly, easy conveyance between our home and our vacation destination. Again clothing and hygeine supplies for the duration of our trip, an everyday wheelchair and supplies for wheelchair maintenance are necessary. Checking bags is no big deal because we want to relax and time spent waiting at the airport is less of an issue.
In the rare event that I have a business meeting where I can complete my round trip in the same day, I still have a computer with me.
In all cases, we bring something on board to read, work on or listen to.
In fact, I have been trying to think of a situation where someone would take a trip that requires the service of an airline and not have the need for luggage. I haven't come up with any. Perhaps you have an example?
Airline travel used to be special. It used to be about customer service. It used to be fun. Which makes me wonder... When did the airlines decide they are not enablers of other buisness or activities?
Conveying luggage is part of conveying people. You don't get one without the other. It's like ordering pasta for dinner then having to pay extra for marinara sauce.
It's every company's responsibility to decide who their customer is and figure out how best to give them what they want and need. I think most airlines are failing in this regard.