Airlines in the United States are performing poorly in regard to customer service; that was the view this week of the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Though some customer services have improved, the Transportation Department`s inspector general said, more than 25% of flights were delayed, cancelled or diverted in 2000, affecting about 163 million passengers. Customer complaints increased dramatically.
The inspector general recommended that the airlines implement a system to inform passengers of lengthy delays or cancellations before they arrive at the airport. American Airlines had this to say: “It has been a year since American and other airlines pledged to improve customer service. And while airlines can`t do much about the weather delays or air traffic control problems that drive most of the delays you hear about, we do believe we deserve credit for the things we are doing right.” ” We have invested millions of dollars to get customers through the airport faster, with curbside check-in, roving agents, remote check-in kiosks, check-in through the Internet and the like. We are also spending millions on technology to notify customers of the status of flights on their palm pilots or cell phones.”
Carriers have posted their individual plans on each of their Web sites so passengers can familiarise themselves with each carrier`s customer service policies and procedures. Several weeks ago, the Air Transport Association launched a new Web site (www.customers-first.org) that also supplies downloadable files of each carrier`s voluntary service plan, and provides examples of specific improvements since the programmes were announced in 1999.
United encourages its customers to review the company`s record of responsiveness on delivering its customer service commitments by visiting its website.