Trying to Decrease the “Less” Trajectory in Economy Class

With the airlines making record profits — a projected $36 million that’s double the number from 2014 — those who work for and observe the airline industry are hoping to see a trend to decrease the “less” mentality that has typified economy class.
International Air Transport Association Director General and CEO Tony Tyler sees this as a time when “passengers are benefiting from greater value than ever — with competitive airfares and product investments,” according to a Future Travel Experience article.
But Devin Liddell, principal brand strategist for Teague design group, thinks there’s really a “race to the bottom” occurring. “It’s all about what can we take away,” he says. He thinks customers are going to reach a point where they say, “Enough! This is becoming ridiculous.”
Teague has seen an uptick in interest from the airlines in creating product improvements in its cabin renovations, but the fact that airlines scored 71 out of 100 on the 2015 American Customer Satisfaction Index (the only companies ranked lower were Internet service providers, cable companies, and health insurance providers) demonstrates there’s significant work to be done to change the consumer’s experience.
Liddell’s concern is that airlines will opt for the status quo, instead of looking for ways to innovate. He compares the opportunity awaiting the airline industry to the attitude of the automotive industry.
“I hope that aviation doesn’t look at current levels of profitability, which I ascribe largely to falling fuel prices, and overly congratulate ourselves.” He hopes to see the industry really begin to consider its future, the improvements that could be made for the benefit of its passengers, and begin working toward implementing those immediately with the working capital they now have at their disposal.
Aviation was once known for taking risks and innovation that created a coveted experience for the consumer. Over the years, it has opted for caution and stripped away amenities in order to scrape together a profit. The potential rewards are enormous for whoever will seize this moment for the benefit of its passengers.
Photo credit: camknows (Flickr, Creative Commons)