“When you travel within Australia, you start with a terminal with no queues. Yes, no queues at 8 am Monday morning, the busiest time of the week. There are ample check-in terminals and a large number of bag-drop stations. Security is a dream. There are no queues there either. You have to remove laptops from bags, but that’s it — no shoe or belt removal. It took all of five seconds. And as I looked around, I couldn’t even find provision for queues, that is, the ropes and barriers that adorn U.S. terminals.”
He concludes with
But the Qantas experience shows that airlines can do more and can do so while still making a profit. The U.S. airlines have turned into fortresses against continuing customer complaints and competitive forces have failed to bring about innovation and improvements. To be sure, there are bright lights such as Virgin and JetBlue, but the major airlines — United, American, and Delta — do not appear to feel the pressure.
Now there are certainly operational inefficiencies with the way that airports process the security queues in the US and all companies could do a better job of being more customer friendly. It seems a little strange though to draw his conclusion based on one experience. How do they handle massive amounts of people during Christmas? Is it really possible to load a large Airbus in 20 minutes before departure? Is Bircher muesli the key to customer satisfaction?
For those of you who have flown Qantas domestically in Australia – how does it stack up to the US experience?