Last year I wrote an article about the Temkin ratings of US companies which included 6000 customer experiences across 143 industries. Temkin has just released the 2012 Temkin Experience Ratings. This time they have 10,000 US customer experiences across 208 industries. Overall most industries improved led by insurance but there were some real surprises in the top ranking results.

Airline extra fees anger customers

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

A USA Today article titled Airlines see Revenue Increase from fees talks about how customers react badly to the additional fees being charged now, especially when the service used to be free. The traveling public feel they are being gouged.The rationale for these fees is that airlines have been forced to reduce travel costs and are using fees to bring their companies back to profitability.The explanation to consumers is that the customer pays for the services they want (and doesn’t pay for the services they don’t want). Examples are baggage fees, fees to change reservations or cancel reservations, excess weight, and fees for food on the plane. There was even some talk about charging fees to use the washroom! Consumers have choices and can pick other airlines to fly but only if they can compare how much they are being charged in total. The US Government stepped in, responding to complaints.

United Airlines is in the news again. After the fiasco with United Breaks Guitars, a video that went viral on Youtube about a damaged guitar, United lost a passenger’s luggage and even after 6 weeks, refused to refund the $25.00 baggage fee they charged. The passenger filed a small claims complaint in a US court. He also wrote about it in Yahoo Finance.

Bravo for the US Government Department of Transportation for imposing new passenger protection rules on Airlines with real teeth fines for failing to comply. New rules include the 3 hour Tarmac Rule (US Domestic Flights), provisions for international flights, fines for chronically late or canceled flights, and a requirement to publish the Airline’s complaint process prominently, a requirement to document the Airline’s customer service plan and report back to the DOT after self auditing. Passengers have a way to report non-compliance.

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