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9 Things Airlines Can Do To Make the Economy Class Experience Better

9 Things Airlines Can Do To Make the Economy Class Experience Better

I’ve flown 173 airlines and I’m pretty observant as to how things are done. As such, I’ve compiled some things that airlines can do to make the economy class experience better. This post is like taking all the good things from different airlines and putting them into one airline. Here goes:

1). Heat the roll whenever you serve one

I just flew on Gulfair (GF) and they heated the croissant served at breakfast and it makes such a difference to the meal. I also flew on KLM (KL) and the lunch roll was heated. Take note other airlines.

KLM Amsterdam (AMS) ro Houston (IAH) Economy Class Meal 2018 03 15
KLM Amsterdam (AMS) to Houston (IAH) Economy Class Meal 2018 03 15

2). Deliver the snack/meal with the drink

Most airlines will come through and give you the snack/meal and then the drinks follow. As the process of handing out the meals is quick, sometimes by the time the drinks get to you, you’ve ate the meal already. If you serve it all at once like I’ve seen it done on Singapore Airlines, it makes for such a better service.

Tell the customers what they are eating; don’t just say chicken or beef or vegetarian. Most airlines don’t provide a menu in Economy class, so the passengers depend on the flight attendants to tell them what they are about to eat. It’s not enough to just say chicken, beef, fish or vegetarian. As some passengers don’t and can’t eat certain type of foods.

Yes they can order a special meal, but that’s not always the case and oftentimes they don’t realize they can and did not do it within the usual 24 hours before departure timeframe. Plus, they may prefer the chicken if its served with rice as opposed to being served with mashed potatoes.

So just take some time to say chicken with mash potatoes, beef with rice, fish with vegetables or a pasta.

Singapore Airlines - First Meal - Houston to Moscow (DME)
Singapore Airlines – First Meal – Houston to Moscow (DME)

3). Better explain what the customer is buying

It’s all so very complex now, one almost need a degree to understand the fare rules and whether I pay for a bag, or seat, or a meal, or how many points they’ll get for the trip. Simplify!

4). When serving the meal look at the passenger

I’ve noticed that on some airlines, the crew does not look at the passenger when the meal is being served. They take it from the cart and hand it to the passenger while they look straight ahead or back at the cart. I’ve even seen them have two trays and handing one to the person on the left and the other to the person on the right. Please take a little time and make eye contact. Why are you in such a hurry?

5). Treat all customers with respect

I know its tough as you deal with the same issues everyday and you may be going through issues yourself. I’ve been there so I know, but this is the job for which you signed up, so be respectful.

6). Recognize that some customers are traveling for the first time

Some travelers are clueless and have never traveled before, so they have no idea what to expect. As such they’ll ask simple questions that may seem idiotic. But to them, they genuinely don’t know.
I know that there are cheats out there, but don’t treat everyone as if they are; give them the benefit of the doubt first.

7). Treat customers properly during delays

As you know, there will be delays; its inevitable, but its how you treat the customer during such an irregular operation that counts.

Brussels Airport (BRU) Haze
Brussels Airport (BRU) Haze

8). Get rid of those automated phone lines and let the customer speak to a real live agent

When you call from the airports the automated systems almost always hang up on the customer. I know this saves you money, but it frustrates the customers who are paying you money. You get fewer calls now due to automation and the Internet, so it makes sense to ensure that the customer who has paid for a ticket and have to call you get a much better service.

Sometimes they are borrowing a phone to make a call and the automated system keeps hanging up as it can’t understand them as the background noise at the airport is too loud.
Ensure that your App can do all the functions on the phone.

There should be no reason why your App can’t do all the things your customer will need. Or at least the top five things. Making changes should be high on the list as when things go wrong this is tantamount.

9). Don’t hide your seat map

The customer should be able to see the seat map at all step of the process. The fact that I’m checked in and have a seat assignment does not negate that.

On some airlines, the user cannot see if the seat next to them is open, so they will keep asking the agent which waste both their times.

 

What say you? What can you add to this list? Do you agree with the ones I have here?

6 thoughts on “9 Things Airlines Can Do To Make the Economy Class Experience Better

  1. If people didn’t check their brains or common sense with their baggage, some of these suggestions are good. BUT, the peeps that are a few rows behind you will be very upset that that they’re not getting their food in a timely fashion, and don’t depend on a person handing the card (with pics. of the choices) back FAST! – if at all.
    When the flight attendants make the speech about what they’ll be offering, most people are NOT listening!. Oh, and don’t forget that ANYTHING that costs the airline as much as a penny, is not even considered.

    1. Kate,
      Thanks for stopping by.
      Your points are well taken; so maybe a hybrid approach to see what works.
      And yup at the airport, people check out; they need guidance as its all so confusing. As a regular flyer, even I get confused at times :-).

  2. #1) Again, recognizing that some economy passengers are 1st time or very infrequent fliers, have a sufficient number of staff to help people check in at the kiosks. If the process is very new to someone, the kiosks are not all that intuitive and some people are still not used to conducting transactions online.
    #2) If the flight was considerably delayed, ask passengers to let those with connecting flights within 45 minutes to deplane 1st. Some won’t comply with the request and it should be voluntary, but it will help some people and show some consideration.
    #3. On new planes, provide reading lights that don’t illuminate the seats adjacent to that of the person who wants to read at night.
    #4) It’s difficult to hear FAs who are serving meals, especially for those in window seats. Give the FAs cards with a description of the economy class meals and beverages being served, so they can hand that to passengers. They’ll only need a few because the passengers can hand them back. They can be in multiple languages.

    1. Susan,

      I love these! Thank you.

      The light thing is pretty annoying. I think the 787s are a little better at this.

      I’ve been on flights with United and they are really quite good about this. I’ve kept my butt seated when I arrive in Houston as I’m done, unless I need to catch the last bus or something :).

      Most people do wait.

  3. Such a good post…if only the airlines would listen. I absolutely hate flying…it’s a choir, not an experience like it once was. Unless you can afford business or 1st class, you’re not better than cattle. I am also so tired of the baggage weight issue. Weigh the damn passengers instead. Give everyone an allotment of weight rather than worrying about their luggage. #JustSayin’

    1. Thanks Mike.

      Yeah, it’s really different now :(.

      Funny you mention the weight thing. Some airlines like CapeAir in the Caribbean do weigh you as the planes are really small and weight sensitive. You’ll also sit based on your weight too.

      And lets face it, people carry too much stuff with them :).

      Now, when I travel in Asia, especially Japan, people get on and off the planes with ease, it’s a pleasure to watch.

      Kerwin.

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