Business Ethics

Airline

2016.04

Why airlines want to make you suffer
Business Ethics
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The Economy options of American domestic airlines are becoming progressively more uncomfortable.

  • The standard seat pitch has decreased by several inches, as have the legroom. In contrast, the space required by the average American passenger has grown.
  • It is becoming harder to find airlines that offer complimentary beverage/meal services for their Economy passengers, and it’s now common to be charged for checked baggage.
  • For example, Delta Airlines plans to departmentalize their seats into 5 seating “classes,” charging passengers extra should they desire the more comfortable seats adjacent to emergency exits.

Airlines in the US are making it difficult for passengers to travel comfortably and simultaneously raking in profits like never before.

  • According to figures from 2013, American airline companies have collected a staggering $13.5 billion simply through ancillary fees.
  • Delta and United Airlines also apply a fee for changing flight reservations, gleaning an additional $1 billion.

This phenomenon is aptly observed as the monopolization of the US flight market and has intensified in the past few years.

  • Due to aggressive M&A (merger and acquisition) tactics among the airlines, a select few corporate giants (Delta, United, American, Virgin, etc.) are providing the majority of flight services.
  • Rather than striving to improve its customer service, these large companies have stuck with a strategy of profiting from the discomfort of its customers.

Even JetBlue, an airline lauded for its superb customer service, recently implemented senior-level organizational changes that have shifted the company’s gears towards a more profitable strategy.

  • JetBlue had provided inflight WiFi and complimentary meal/beverage/baggage services, and the company had established itself as a blue chip among American airline market.
  • However, JetBlue recently started charging for WiFi and checked baggage, following suit after the standard airline giants.

It is predicted that the introduction of smaller airline companies will also lead to similar trends in Korea.

  • The market shares of Jeju Air, Air Busan, Air Asia, and other smaller companies in South Korea have been on the rise in recent years.
  • Henceforth, it is predicted that the larger companies will resort to increasing profits at the cost of the comfort of passengers.

We encourage you to talk in English with your Ringle Tutor about the current topic. What are your thoughts on the rising levels of discomfort among American passengers?

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