Virgin America’s Cush: Passengers “should not have to ask” for customer service

Virgin America begins service to Orlando tomorrow. Remarkably, the three-year-old airline has stayed off my radar, when it comes to customer complaints. I asked David Cush, Virgin America’s chief executive, how he’s done it.

First of all, congratulations on adding service to Orlando. I live here, so I’m pretty excited about having a new airline in town. At the same time, I’m curious about your reasons for coming here. Orlando isn’t exactly a lucrative business travel destination. What’s the appeal?

Orlando has an incredibly strong year-round tourism economy and a great deal of convention traffic. The addition of Orlando also helps us address seasonality in our still growing network. As we grow we do have to balance out our network for seasonal traffic patterns – adding a sunny warm weather destination like Orlando helps us balance our winter schedules.
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Delta’s Ausband: “Customer service is the core of what we do”

I met Allison Ausband, Delta Air Lines’ vice president for reservations sales and customer care, earlier this year in Atlanta after she’d taken over for Perry Cantarutti. I followed up with her earlier this week to see how her new job was going. Here’s our interview.
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Vail Resorts’ Katz: New EpicMix application is “best of both worlds”

EpicMix is Vail Resorts’ newest online mobile application for winter sports, and with ski season just around the corner, I asked Rob Katz, Vail Resorts’ CEO, to weigh in on social media and skiing. Here’s our interview.

Let me pick up where we left off the last time we talked. At the end of our interview, I mentioned that I had several family members who haven’t skied and were not interested. And I asked you how I could persuade them. You recommended showing them one of your resorts, which is, in fact, what I did. And now they’re hooked. So, I guess to follow up on that, how do you keep families interested in a mountain resort experience?

It’s great news to hear you and your family are hooked on skiing. At our five world-class resorts, Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Heavenly, we try to offer a variety of family programming and activities for children of all ages — both on and off the snow — to give families the best possible experience at our resorts. Plus, the nature of doing activities together like skiing, snow tubing, ice skating, and attending unique family events like Kidtopia at Keystone Resort gives parents an opportunity to spend time with their kids to create those lasting family vacation memories.
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I didn’t do it! Subrogation company says 10 percent of damage claims are disputed by renters

Frivolous car rental damage claims are a hot topic. Not a day seems to go by that I don’t hear from someone complaining about a bogus repair bill from a car rental company.

But there’s another side to the story that’s easily overlooked: the car rental company’s side. So I asked Randy Harris, president of Khoury Alternative Claims Management, a subrogation management company based in San Antonio, Tex., for his take on the issue. Here’s our interview.
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It’s hip, it flies, and now it speaks: Hipmunk’s Goldstein on how to make buying a plane ticket cool again

It’s been a busy 48 hours since the launch of Hipmunk, the new airline booking site with an impossibly cute name and a slick, critically-acclaimed interface.

Early reviews in Lifehacker and Gadling have praised the new project for its minimalist, intuitive fare display, and the early buzz online — browse the comments on Hipmunk’s Twitter account — is overwhelmingly positive.

I asked Adam Goldstein, Hipmunk’s co-founder, to fill in a few details.

“As someone who spends your time dealing with the annoyances of modern travel, I’m sure you’ve had the infuriating experience of spending hours searching for the right flight on existing travel sites,” he says. “I had that experience my whole time as an undergrad at MIT, which is why when I graduated in June I decided to start a new site for making the experience better.”
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