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February 15, 2013

American Airlines and US Airways: A sub-par marriage or a golden opportunity?

Ann Padley | Customer Experience DesignYesterday, American Airlines and US Airways announced they are getting hitched. In a way, it is a match made in heaven as the union will bring together two airlines marked with the very worst customer experience ratings according to the 2012 Temkin Ratings.

The new company would take the name of American Airlines and become the country’s largest airline. According to a National Public Radio (NPR) report, prices are likely to increase because fewer airlines means less competition, so this is no time for lagging in the customer experience arena.

Being a glass-half-full kind of woman, I’m rooting for the company to realize the opportunity offered by a merger. After all, there are some peers that can provide a great example for this Benjamin Buttonesque company.

JetBlue
JetBlue wants you to ‘pack freely’ so they offer to check your first bag for free. But, it’s not just a nice gesture. Offering a free checked bag means fewer passengers trying to cram over-stuffed bags into overhead compartments. This streamlines the boarding process and allows passengers to avoid that anxiety-producing moment when you slowly board the plane to a mass chaos of people scrambling for space overhead.

British Airways
British Airways is trying out a call-by-name approach with their ‘Know Me’ program. Airline attendants armed with an iPad app can match a face to a name as well as view detailed passenger flight preferences and other information. The program enables a more individualized experience.

Southwest
Finally, my personal favorite, the Southwest rapping pilot. I think the video says it all.