Redesign this experience!

Jack Blog

November 29th, 2011 By Jack Morton

Holidays mean holiday travel, which means many more (expensive) reminders of how the whole airline experience is in need of a redesign. Based on my recent holiday flights on a US-based airline that will go unnnamed, here are some touchpoints I’d suggest could be improved:

  • Data transparency:
    Google can show me my backyard from a satellite, but airlines are strangely unwilling to provide real-time info about flights, seats and timing. When 2 out of 3 planes on this trip were delayed due to mechanical issues, I discovered that the airline’s mobile app looked cool but told me little.
  • Random acts of green:
    Given massive fuel consumption any airline that branded itself sustainable would quickly earn a rep for greenwashing, but that shouldn’t discourage a bold airline brand from fixing what they can: no more styrofoam cups bearing bad coffee, no more single-use plastic cups, maybe even some better-quality organic and fair-trade snacks and meals (I’d pay more for them).   
  • Human touch:
    Based on our Best Experience Brands study, which includes consumer perspectives on the airline experience, people are positive about easy and efficient digitally-driven touchpoints (like online ticket buying and electronic kiosk check-in) and severely critical about customer service (whether by phone, in person or in flight) that doesn’t meet expectations.     
  • Style:
    People of a certain age can be positively nostalgic about how cool air travel used to be (the show Pan Am might feed that nostalgia). Even in the severely price-driven atmosphere of airlines, bringing a bit of style back would go a long way to improving the overall experience. As a colleague points out, a bit of humor would also be great—like entertainment as I wait at baggage claim, or a unique take on the safety briefing at takeoff.