June 10

Small Businessman’s Alert: Airline Rate Hikes Soar as Customer Service Plummets

Any small business owner who travels for their company has felt the pinch over the last year or more of the rapidly increasing airfare rates, coupled with the now expected baggage fees. In a recent study from MarketTools, the proof of the growing negative feedback from travelling customers, including small business travelers, is in the statistics. Here’s a snippet of their findings:

  • 43 percent of customers are uncomfortable aboard the plane
  • 41 percent are frustrated with ticket prices and fees
  • 34 percent are dissatisfied with in-flight service

Social Media has been the medium where many a disgruntled traveler notes their discontent, showing how negative feedback on any social media channel like Facebook or Twitter can easily spread. These social media posts, tweets and comments include:

  • 10 percent of respondents have used platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to share complaints about poor airline experiences
  • 24 percent received a response directly from the airline
  • Only 30 percent of travelers were asked to provide feedback to an airline
  • 75 percent did not receive any follow-up from the airline

*See complete article here.

As a small business traveler, I have personally felt the bite of these rising costs and seen the decline of the customer service on my flights. As an integral part of my business, air travel has become a necessary evil and as I read the article noting the lack of response from the airlines through the Social Media channels that should allow for an enhanced customer service portal, I fear that the decline will continue.

For small businesses, this means increasing rates for their necessary business travel and in an economy that is still sluggish in many markets, these increasing overhead costs will make it even more difficult for small business owners to maintain, let alone grow, their business.

Any business owner knows there is a real and ongoing need to cut overhead costs. With a scenario like this playing out for air travel, profits for small business will be damaged, further exacerbating the national economic woes.

What have you experienced from this air travel rate fiasco? How has it affected your business? What do you see as a solution or result if it continues?

~ Brad Tornberg, E3 Consulting Partners, Inc.


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