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The State of Customer Service

by David Sturtz

A little rant…

American Airlines sent us a nice e-mail explaining that they will now be charging an extra $5-10 to purchase a ticket through their reservation centers and airport locations. I found their explanation intriguing:

These steps are necessary to ensure that we can compete effectively in a marketplace where charging fees for personalized, value-added services is becoming a common practice.

As this becomes “common practice” will it mean that when I pay $5 for “personalized, value-added” service I’ll get just that — rather than being charged for the current free, surly service that inspires teeth-grinding? That would almost make being held hostage by the marketplace seem nice.

Update 9/20/2004
The New York Times agrees, “Why the Big Airlines Can’t Get Off the Ground”.

Flights of just a few hours have become a commodity bought strictly on price, and the market won’t bear the fares that the big airlines need to cover their costs. So, in their current form, these companies are not viable any more.

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