I fly a lot. I fly on a variety of airlines and in all kinds of airplanes as I go to places as diverse as Tokyo and remote cities in Africa. This means I get to often experience the annoyance of getting through the airport, dealing with the airline counters, standing around squashed into the hoard waiting to board, and then…the airplane for hours and hours. It is not fun.
The reward is that I get to visit places around the world, often places that few travelers see. I get to meet amazingly interesting people in wildly differing circumstances. It’s fun after I get there. Until I have to fly home.
Yesterday I picked up a copy of the Wall Street Journal. At the bottom of the front page there was an article about air travel that caught my eye. It’s title? No Nose Dives: Airlines Hope A Scent Brings Relaxation, Bookings.
Airlines as a group have become expert at providing the most miserable conditions (especially if you are over 4 feet tall with a waist of more than 22 inches) for ever increasing prices while irritating you tremendously as they add one after the other extra fees on top of the base fare. I’ve noticed they’re ignoring the rapidly falling fuel prices but were quick to add “fuel surcharges” when the price went up. Some airlines still have these!
In the interests of improving the customer experience…stop laughing…it seems that they have decided to scent the cabins. This is so important that they either already have or in the process of creating their very own scents.
For some reason they think that this will relax you, create brand awareness, and encourage you to fly them more often. To quote Mike Henny, Delta Director of Customer Experience (they must be kidding), Delta wants its customers to be “as comfortable on board as possible, and have a positive association with their experience on Delta.” (surely kidding again)
Perhaps they should have Henny talk to the sadists who design the seats instead of adding scents and causing migraines for the many who are allergic to or even just annoyed by scents.
Customer Experience: the experience that you have as a customer. How do most companies go about improving Customer Experience? They listen to the complaints and watch the comments on social media. They research how make things better for their customers, how to remove or change the things that make them crazy…like baggage charges, change fees, and most importantly – getting squashed into a seat designed for an 8 year old. The ask their customers what they can improve, and they try and improve it.
Airlines have an advantage over other companies. Their customers are stuck. They have managed to create an oligopoly that decreases customer choice so have no particular need to listen to their customers. Unless you are someone who flies first class…and pays for the seat.
They’ve managed to segment their market into those who are stuck and those who are willing to pay anything to be unstuck. If you pay, you get a bed and fancy food. If not, you get a too tiny uncomfortable seat and crappy food.
To make those without feel just as relaxed and happy as those with, some airlines now let everyone share the scent. Customer Experience at its finest, unless you go into anaphylactic shock.