Pilots frequently give some version of the same speech during a flight – “We realize that you have lots of choices for air travel, and we thank you for choosing us.” It should come as no surprise that there is a strong correlation between airline profitability and customer service ranking; people do pay attention to these things in making their travel plans. In 2011, American Airlines ranked last among major carriers, and it subsequently filed for bankruptcy. Lately, United Airlines has been flirting with the bottom of the list.
Delta on the other hand, the second largest carrier behind United/Continental, was near the top. What was their secret for doing everything right and still making money? Delta is also the industry leader in another category; they pulled in more revenue from add-on fees than anyone else. If paying for schedule changes, checked baggage, pet transportation and all that other stuff has you stressed out, you’d better brace yourself. Delta is not satisfied with first place in the fee competition; they plan on adding another $1 billion in fees by the end of 2014. Predictably, they are saying it is all in the name of improved customer service. Sit back, relax, and open a tab.