You’re Equal In The Eyes of the Lord, Airlines Are Another Unholy Story

Money talks, but in airports and on board airplanes money screams. If you’re a first class passenger, for instance, you get to jump the line. It’s the way of the world. We respect influence, and influence can be purchased for a pretty penny.

NPR produced a segment today on travelers stranded in Newark and unable to get a flight to San Francisco, due to the crash of Asiana Flight 214 from South Korea.

The report highlights the inequity of the bumping system employed by airlines at a time of severe delays.

It turns out there is a method to this madness: It’s called customer relationship management — or CRM — and airlines helped invent it.

Each passenger’s rights on each flight are determined by a complicated calculus. It includes how frequently they fly and how much they paid for the ticket in their hand.

Are you offended in the least by these practices? Airlines, hotels and other businesses with rewards programs rank your importance by how much money you spend. If you’re a business traveler who flies weekly on full price tickets, you’re king of the jetway, simple as that.

firstclass

Let’s examine the issue from a different angle. How does it make United Airlines look when it bumps reserved passengers from a flight in order to put aforementioned kings of the jetway in their seats on their totally overbooked planes? There’s no democracy or good will between men here, that’s for sure. Rather, it’s an unwelcome reminder of our class system, and a ding on the brand that passes out favors in a way that makes others feel small.

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About David Burn

Native Nebraskan seeking the perfect pale ale in the Pacific Northwest. Copywriter and brand strategist at Bonehook. Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. Contributor to The Content Strategist. Doer of the things written about herein.

  • Erin

    It often seems like CRM employs rather flawed ways of determining whether a customer is of value, or how much. I don’t find it offensive – I find it short-sighted.