3 reasons you should love a customer service meltdown

Marco Prati/Shutterstock
Marco Prati/Shutterstock
Spectacular customer service failures are the grist of my consumer advocacy mill.

But some of the loudest implosions are off limits to me. Like the young blogger who was reportedly booted from a United Airlines flight. His crime? Taking pictures of his seat in apparent violation of the airline’s photography policy.

Even though colleagues urged me to come to his assistance, I couldn’t. He didn’t ask me for help, and I have a strict policy of staying away from cases where I’m not invited.
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This summer, airlines takes “ridiculous” to the next level

We'll guarantee on-time arrival ... for a price. / Photo JB Self - Flickr
Just when you think you’ve heard it all, you hear from someone like Stewart Sheinfeld, a reader from Chicago who is flying to Morelia, Mexico, on the discount airline Volaris.
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Is this enough compensation? Bumped from a flight and we missed our connection

JetBlue flight 686 from Washington to Boston was delayed by a few hours on April 13, which wasn’t a big deal to most of the passengers. Except to Lonn Waters and his girlfriend, who planned to catch an Icelandair flight to Keflavik, Iceland, later that evening.

The mechanical delay threw a wrench in their vacation plans, and fixing it wasn’t easy.
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“The good guys won!”

Today’s award for most creative definition of an airline cancellation goes to JetBlue Airways. Back in February, after canceling Judith Ganz’ flight from Dulles to Boston — that’s right, canceling — it redefined its action as a “schedule change” in order to pocket her money.

But the airline split hairs with the wrong passenger. Turns out she was uniquely qualified to question JetBlue’s claim.
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JetBlue says customer service “embedded in the core” leads to airline profits

t5A few weeks ago, I asked Michelle Hansen, JetBlue’s director of customer support operations, if I could interview her about customer service issues. She later asked Morgan Johnston, JetBlue’s manager of corporate communications, to field my questions. Here are their answers.

JetBlue is one of only a few domestic airlines that doesn’t charge for the first checked bag. You’ve also gone easy on other fees. I’m a little confused. I thought passenger had embraced a la carte pricing. Why are you holding back, when you could be making more money?

You can’t put a price on customer loyalty and creating a unique travel experience. That’s what we do here at JetBlue by providing amenities we think of as standard and core to your travel experience. We’ve created a value product where our customers can experience 36 channels of DirecTV, 100 channels of XM Radio, unlimited drinks and [without] paying extra. However, should a customer choose to upgrade their experience, for an additional charge, we offer our Even More Legroom seats, first run movies with JetBlue Features, or specialty beverages.

For the majority of our customers, checking a bag is a normal part of their flying experience and one we feel it’s important to protect. Those customers who do request to check more than the one standard checked bag, we will accommodate with an additional fee. In the end, we believe that offering these free amenities will result in greater dividends than if we were to nickel and dime our customers.
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