You never thought you’d see the day? Neither did I.
Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
Some airlines have begun torturing themselves a little.
You might think it’s time, given that they’ve been torturing passengers a lot lately.
However, just as American Airlines’s CEO Doug Parker recently admitted that his own staff stopped him shoving even more coach seats on the airline’s latest planes, so another airline CEO has offered a mea culpa.
Last year, I wrote about how British Airways had cut the two meals it offered on many long-haul flights.
It had replaced one with, oh, a chocolate bar. No ordinary chocolate bar, this. It was a “fun-sized” chocolate bar.
Oddly, passengers don’t seem to have found this idea fun at all.
Now, as Skift.com reports, BA’s CEO Alex Cruz has suddenly got it into his head that he needs to improve the passenger experience, rather than enjoy seeing just how miserable he can make it before passengers begin to scream.
Or desert the airline.
Indeed, it seems that Cruz has examined the resentment that passengers felt on being tossed a fun-size chocolate bar and decided to reverse the policy.
He told the fascinating and fascinated at the World Travel Market trade show this week: “We will invest £4.5 billion ($5.9 billion) over the next five years to improve the experience of customers in all cabins of our aircraft.”
You might think this a tiny victory for humankind.
Because yes, he said all cabins.
Perhaps airlines are realizing that even when people fly in economy, what they say afterwards reflects on the reputation and brand value of the airline.
It may be, indeed, that Cruz’s own employees have whispered in his ear, just as the American Airlines employees whispered into Parker’s.
I flew on BA less than two weeks ago and was quite surprised by how startlingly indifferent the Flight Attendants seemed.
They weren’t rude. They just seemed over it.
There has been much internal strife at the airline, with Flight Attendants striking and passengers accusing the airline of being no different than Ryanair.
This was not intended to be a compliment.
It would be heart-lifting if these little volte-faces signified a bigger trend towards thinking harder about making passengers happier.
Or at least, slightly happier.
Or at least slightly more comfortable.
Why, even some US airlines and reintroducing radical concepts such as free food in coach.
Somewhere in the margins of airline generosity, there might lie a little more brand loyalty.