I hate airlines.
I hate that you are supposed to be at the airport two or three hours before the flight.
I hate the long check-in queues.
I hate the baggage rules, and I hate that other people seem to get away with flouting them and I don’t.
I hate the security process which is so incredibly slow and makes me take off my coat, my shoes, my belt, spill my change and keys on the floor and still the alarm goes off so I have to be individually searched.
I hate the fact that when I get into the departure lounge I can’t sit down.
I hate the fact that my boarding gate is closer to my destination than where I started.
I hate that the plane is late to board and even later to take-off because of the French air traffic control strike.
I hate that my seat is built for a midget and I have to squeeze in and sit all scrunched up and then the jerk in front insists on reclining his seat as soon as the flight is underway.
I hate the plastic food that is served up and the miniature bag of peanuts that I can’t get in.
I hate that I get knocked (because I’m in the aisle seat) whenever anyone walks past.
I hate that if I do nod off, it’s duty free time when I don’t want the stuff.
I hate how long it takes to get off the plane because they won’t open both doors.
I hate the long queue through passport control.
I hate standing at the carousel seeing everyone else get their bags, wondering where mine have got to.
I hate being rammed by some old biddy who can’t drive her bag on wheels.
I’m certainly not a satisfied customer of the airline. My expectations are low but each time I keep thinking that there must be a better way.
But I still fly.
And this is the big difference between the idea of customer value and customer satisfaction.
You can have an experience which leaves you very satisfied but you don’t want to do it again.
And you can have an experience, like flying, which isn’t satisfactory but you’ll buy again and again.
That’s because flying has some big advantages.
First, if you’re flying off on holiday, you have two days of pain but it sandwiches seven, ten or fourteen days of pleasure, fun and relaxation which can provide memories which will last a lifetime.
Second, flying is better than the other methods of travel.
I love South Africa and hate the ten or eleven hour flight but I don’t have time for the two week cruise just to get there.
I love Italy and the two hour flight from the UK is a breeze compared to the pain of driving down to Folkstone, going through the Tunnel, having to drive across France and then brave the crazy Italian drivers only to find that there’s nowhere I’m brave enough to park when I get there (there’s a reason why many Italian cars are small and dented).
There are a lot of advantages in flying which make it the obvious way to travel.
The experience sucks but I have to admit that the airlines provide me with customer value and that’s why I buy.
You may see me on your next flight.
I’m the big chap looking grumpy near the screaming baby.
Paul Simister is a business strategy coach who helps small business owners to profit from differentiating their businesses, by being distinctive in the eyes of their customers and standing out in a crowded marketplace…. in other words, by building a business to be proud of.