WHEN politicians feel they must summon industry bosses and implore them to treat customers better, it is a sure sign that the market is not working as it should. On May 2nd, a Congressional committee pleaded with airline bosses to improve service or, by implication, face legislation to force them to be nicer. Flyers, said Bill Shuster, the Republican chairmen of the House transport committee, are “tired of being treated inappropriately and without courtesy. Something is broken, and the obvious divide between passengers and airlines needs to be addressed.” Fix it, he added, or “we are going to come and you’re not going to like it”.
Among the executives hairshirting it to Washington, DC were representatives from American Airlines, Delta, Southwest and Alaska Airlines, as well as Oscar Munoz (pictured), the boss of United, which has become the emblem of just how disdainful carriers have become towards their customers. In the face of repeated criticism from Congressmen, the airlines did their best to sound contrite. Mr Munoz again repeated his mantra that the recent controversy, when a doctor was dragged semi-conscious from the seat he had paid for to make way for airline staff, “is not who…Continue reading