Something very unusual is happening with the US airline industry. They are now being forced to be accountable for their actions.
Frustrated lawmakers expressing their anger towards US airline industry executives, have given them the ultimate of ultimatums. “Seize the opportunity to improve their customer service on their own, or congress will impose tough, new customer service laws for them.”
Senate and House committees urgently demanded airline executives to clear up the details on the recent frustrations and physical violence that has been occurring on a constant basis with their passengers.
Law makers are looking for explanations on a series of wide-ranging criticisms about overbooking, charges to change tickets, smaller economy seating, checked bag fees, IT system shutdowns and flight delays directly responsible by the airlines themselves.
Major concerns have arisen after recent viral videos have shown passengers fighting in the isles, the physical removal and injuring of another passenger and threats from flight crews of jail time for parents and children being sent to child protective services for not giving up their seats.
Further frustrating the matter was the ultimate botched “we’re sorry, but not really” apology in the history of all corporate apologies from United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz when he stated his regrets for “having to re-accommodate these particular customers.”
Several lawmakers and some congressmen, who are frequent flyers themselves have had enough with the poor airline customer service, delays and canceled flights.
Representative Bill Shuster, a Pennsylvania Republican and chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee said it best: “If we don’t see meaningful results that improve customer service, the next time this committee meets to address the issue, I can assure you, you will not like the outcome.”
Looking back over the last twelve years, mega mergers in the airline industry have dramatically cut the number of big carriers from eight to just four. Smaller carriers that have tried to compete on the enhancement of the customer experience haven’t been able to make a lasting presence in the industry.
With today’s annoyed passengers having to live in the alternate reality of how the major airlines expect things to happen, it’s no wonder their patience is wearing thin.
Instead of improving the services they provide and have fair competition among the carriers, the ‘big four’ would rather have the government squash the competition and let ‘business as usual’ keep right on going.
But, even though most members of congress would prefer that the airlines fix their own problems without congressional involvement, if the government does get involved, it won’t be for the benefit of the airline executives.
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