Sep 12, 2019
Attention: Johan Lundgren
The Chief Executive Officer
Dear Mr Lundgren
The study conducted on strategies to improve aircraft boarding and their impact on airline profitability makes for interesting reading.
My recent experience on EasyJet runs contrary to those findings. Customers in the boarding queue traveling with a hand-bag and cabin luggage were instructed that this was contrary to EasyJet policy, and that the handbag must be packed in the cabin luggage. Those of us who travel frequently separate our luggage in a way that security, boarding, and in flight inconvenience are minimised, and the handbag is an effective part of the tactic.
Fitting the handbag into the carry-on was not an issue. But there were issues, as other passengers were held up as I retrieved my passport from the handbag as we were leaving the terminal, and again when extracting the handbag before putting the carryon into the overhead.
After discussing these issues with the senior cabin attendant, a number of passengers who were on their first flight with EasyJet expressed their support. Never again, was their common refrain.
Given that getting new customers is approximately ten times more expensive that retaining existing ones, the EasyJet policy is unsound business practice.
In the short term, the additional charges for excess luggage may conceal the long term losses that this strategy generates.
The EasyJet policy certainly derives from the profitability of ancillary services when they were introduced by airlines early in this decade. But charging customers at the airport is a delicate balancing act, if one values customer loyalty.
Being informed by the ground crew that the inconvenience of packing a handbag into one’s carry on is the customer’s fault, because of the way they booked the flight, does not generate any goodwill.
There are low cost carriers that treat their customers well, and their ongoing profitability proves its value.
There is increasing evidence that the world’s economies are headed for recession in 2020. The economic implications of the quantitative easing strategy used to recover from the great recession of 2007/8 will be felt at that time. Businesses that have not built good customer relationships will suffer most.
Roy R Dalle Vedove