Today we have an aviation chapter in the book of ?.
We are all pretty much aware that airline service is mostly crappy and that just about everyone who flys regularly has numerous tales of late arrivals, late departures, cancelled flights, lost luggage etc etc. Then, there are the periodic headlines (seeming more ubiquitous these days) about people getting dragged or kicked off of planes for little reason.
One can argue that by choosing deregulation and the advent of mass cheaper travel, when coupled with the airlines flawed business models, a lot of this crap has been brought on by us. I don’t buy it personally–I don’t see why they can’t provide a halfway decent service and charge a fair price, but hey, that’s the world we live in.
NO! Rather, my peeve ( which it drives me to distraction) is the dishonest way that some airlines (let’s not name them but just refer to them as “Shitish Airways”), pretend to offer a great frequent flier program, promote the hell out of it, but then royally screw you over by using draconian capacity controls and hugely disproportionate fees and charges.
A few years back this particular airline used to offer pretty much the same opportunity to use your well-earned AND paid-for miles or points on most flights with seats available. Then, here comes along Mr. Airline Scrooge Asshole Catch 22 Executive, who opines at a board meeting with:
“Hey chaps, I know how we can stop bleeding money, due to the incompetent way we run the airline. Let’s fuck over all of our customers by introducing a ‘new and improved’ rewards program that will allow us to restrict the number of free reward seats by using the most stringent capacity controls. While we are at it, let’s charge these idiots some decent fees if they are lucky enough to actually get a ticket for the time, date, and class that they want. Mind you, we have to be sneaky as the traveling public is not completely stupid, so we had better dress it up as something advantageous. Give it a fancy ‘cool’ name like avarice….no…what about ‘Avios’?! It has a nice aviation flavor to it and actually sounds as if it’s worth something. Hey, remember those fees I mentioned? Maybe we can ramp them up to make AVIOS seem even more valuable, and then sell them to all kinds of companies to give away with their products!”
So there you have it, folks. Most other legacy airlines (American, United, Southwest, etc), as crappy as their service is, do indeed let you book reward seats whenever they have the space (and kudos to them for doing so -as they don’t get much kudos for anything else). On the other hand, “Shitish Airlines” continue to persist with their deceptively termed reward program that simply is designed to make them money: by selling the Avios to their vendors from who you received Avios from (KA-CHING ?), grudgingly handing them out when you actually pay for their overpriced tickets (KA-CHING ?), or miraculously finding a reward seat that you can use and pay the exorbitant fees involved (KA-CHING ?).
I think that we can and often do put up with the crappy service and cattle car behavior, as an expected consequence of our stressed aviation travel system. What we should not abide though, is an obviously planned effort to screw us over rather than reward us for our custom. It’s about time someone called them out or “even class-actioned” them!
If they wanna be “the world’s frickin’ favorite airline” again- then fix their appalling reward program!
Till the next drop ?