Tuesday, July 7, 2009

United Breaks Guitars

Like most people who fly coach, I've not enjoyed the whole flying experience for a long time. I avoid flying and see it only as a necessary evil. I've had some OK flights and encountered some employees who tried to make the experience very nice, but anymore most airlines are just airborne buses. Flying used to be a lot more enjoyable, but it's just not a pleasant experience. The lines for "security" are often ridiculously long, the flights are crowded, and then the airlines leave no leg room between the seats. Beyond that most of the employees are less than customer-service focused. They act as if the passengers are an inconvenience as opposed to the reason their jobs exist. One thing that baffles me is why the employees of the airlines don't at least try to make the experience better for their customers. I understand that the airlines are screwing them over in many ways, but I would think that the employees still need their jobs; if they didn't they wouldn't be there. But, it seems to me that if they piss off enough customers and drive their employer into bankruptcy, or out of business, that they'll lose their jobs. It seems that it's in their best interest to treat the customers better. Yet, somehow they don't.

Anyone who has traveled by air much has his/her horror story, but rarely can we do much about it. The band who made this video, Sons Of Maxwell, is an exception. They weren't happy that the United ground crew was throwing their guitars on the tarmac, or that when they complained they were basically ignored. After getting no resolve from United the lead singer, Dave Carrol, decided to write three songs about his experience and United, this being the first of them, and so he did. You can read the full story behind the song here.

Beyond the lack of customer service that companies like United display, I don't understand why these companies still don't seem to realize that their bad reputation can be very quickly spread on the internets. One disgruntled person can spread his story to thousands of people overnight, and that does have a direct affect on who does and doesn't frequent a business. That direct affect on the business can eventually affect the jobs of the people who are pissing off the customers in the first place. But then again, how could I expect a group of people like airline employees who treat customers like crap to comprehend higher-level thinking such as that?

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