Tertiary Business Sector the Transport Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

This kind of an attitude by the airline staff can put the airline in jeopardy. Since it is a service sector business the responsibility lies on the shoulders of the concerned staff to keep the customers satisfy and provide whatever help that is possible (Borenstein & Rose, 1995).When travelling and on board, customers normally expect that they are given quality service and are treated friendly and are made to feel at ease. Giving such a treatment to customers and giving them a friendly and easy feedback is the sole responsibility of the staff as this is the ultimate target behind keeping the motivated and satisfied with their jobs. It must also be noted that ensuring that the staff complies with this behavior is the responsibility of the management and concerned supervisory authorities (Lawton, 2003).

Contrary to this, Frontier Airline has not focused merely on keeping the staff motivated, but it also monitors and provides the employees with regular training and apprenticeship program that aim at training them about dealing with customers and crisis and emergency situations.

Many customers of Jet Blue Airways have also been complaining about loss of baggage and delayed flight schedule. They further complain that in case of such emergencies, the airline staff does not only fails to provide them with the necessary assistance but also behaves with them in a very unfriendly and arrogant manner (Miller & Chen, 1994). This can not only have harsh implications on the already declining sales revenue for Jet Blue Airways, but is also against the business ethics. Such business practices will not only implicate negatively on the firm's financial statements but will also result in bad publicity for the company. In extreme cases, it is also possible that pressure groups such as consumer protection groups or individual customers can sue the airline for mishandling their valuable belongings. This can further increase the firm's costs and incur them huge losses. It must be noted that other competing airline giants such as Emirates, British Airways, Air France and Singapore Airlines are known for their excellent customer services both on board and off board. More importantly these airline companies have made their goodwill and brand image and have earned a great deal of consumer loyalty and on the basis of the excellent quality of customer service that they provide. Therefore, in order to remain in competition, it is of immense importance that Jet Blue Airways address these issues on urgent basis.

Frontier Airlines has an efficiently functioning Lost & Found department and there has been little complains about mishandling of customer baggages. Sensitive and fragile baggages are clearly marked and are handled with attention. The airline also offers an additional protection covering facility at the check in counters.

Many customers besides complaining about loss of baggage and frequent delayed schedules also complain about problems such as overbooking of flights and lack of in flight facilities that is otherwise provided by other major airline companies. Customers who are member of the company's loyalty cards also complain that in case of over booking that are not given any preference by the airline to board the flight and the company follows a normal 'first come first serve' policy. This makes it apparent that there is no significant facility that a member flyer can enjoy and customers feel that there is no use of being an airline's frequent flyers if he cannot be helped in case of emergency (Pritsker, 1997). Moreover, they feel that if an airline has overbooked its flights then it is their responsibility to manage it and not the customers'. Apart from that customers complain that unlike other airlines, Jet Blue Airways have failed to upgrade it's in flight services. Services like more comfortable seats and leather seats, personalized TV sets and in flight entertainment and first class and business class seats that are inclinable at 180 degrees are still not offered by Jet Blue Airways. For this reason, customer that fly on longer routes prefer other airlines over Jet Blue Airways as they offer a more enjoyable and comfortable journey by offering facilities such as in flight entertainment and convertible seats and bassinets for infants.

Frontier Airlines has no policy of overbooking and as a result there are little complains of customers not getting preferences. All Frontier Airlines aircrafts are equipped with most modern services which include in flight TVs including Direct TV services, In Flight duty free, stretch and inclined seats. Moreover, the airline also offers special in flight gifts for infants in all classes and for all passengers in First Class and Business Class. Special facilities are provided for loyalty members, frequent travelers and first and business class passengers such as excess baggage, special airport lounges, souvenirs such as shaving kits and wine glasses and extra miles and redeemable points which can be redeemed as promised.

Normally any airline, including Jet Blue Airways, has two types of customer groups. One group includes business tourists and the other one includes leisure tourists. These tourists can be further segmented according to their income levels or purchasing power (Waidenhammer, 2004). One group includes domestic travelers that prefer low cost airlines while the other includes international tourists who are willing to pay higher sums of money in return of comfort, class and luxury. Like any other business, and airline company must segment its market properly and must design the product according to the targeted market segments. However, Jet Blue Airways neither completely fits the category of a low cost airline, given its huge operational costs, nor it completely fits in the category of a luxurious high end airline, considering the lack of facilities and poor customer services. This means that it is highly probable that Jet Blue Air will lose both the major market segments to its competitors. Although Jet Blue Air's competitors also face certain weaknesses such as employee strikes, high gearing ratios and losses in some cases, however, all its competitors have ensured that customer satisfaction is not ignored and the customers are provided best quality service under all circumstances. This has helped them build a strong brand image in the international market, unlike Jet Blue Airways which is constantly losing its market share, goodwill is consistently being devalued and the brand image is being tarnished by the poor customer service.

Frontier Airline has also allocated special services for its corporate clients that include specialized discounts, hotel stays and discounts at partner hotels, and in flight internet and telecommunication facilities. Moreover, Frontier Airline tries to designate separate aircrafts for low cost operations so that facilities provided to high income groups are not compromised.

Recommendations

In order to come out of the rapidly declining situation that Jet Blue Airways currently faces, it is immensely important that the company addresses the root cause of the problems. On the most basic note, the company will have to understand that at the end of the day it is the customer satisfaction that ensures survival, and in turn long-term growth of the company, both in terms of profitability and market share. If the customer is satisfied with the service and if one feels that one got the value for the money that was paid, a customer would next time choose the same airline for his or her next journey due to past experience. This is exactly what Jet Blue Airways needs to do.

Parallel to this, Jet Blue Airways will need to bring drastic changes in its financial management and allocation of resources. The unnecessary expenditures on labor costs must be cut down (Borenstein, 1989). In return, money should be invested in training the cabin crew and other relevant staff to deal with customers in a friendly and satisfying manner. Since labor costs consume more than 50% of the total operating expenses, cutting them down will decrease the shortfall to a significant extent (O'Connor, 1995). Moreover, there must be strict quality management laws that regarding the behavior of cabin crew, customer support staff, security, and in flight facilities. If any staff members fail to comply with those standards, disciplinary action must be taken. However, at the same time it is also important that tan employee is not demotivated in this process.

In order to cut down on fuel costs, routes should be redesigned in such a way that fuel consumption can be lower. Where costs cannot be reduced, focus must be on increasing revenues. Like other competing firms, Jet Blue Airways must consider including newer and more modern planes such as the new Air Bus A380 aircrafts in its fleets. Frontier Airlines, Emirates, British Airways, Air France and Singapore Airlines have now included the most modern Air Bus A 380 aircrafts that give its passengers a unique flying experience. Moreover existing aircrafts must also be upgraded with new facilities such as individual TV screens at the back of every seat, in flight shopping and entertainment, and gifts and souvenirs for passengers especially kids (Zaki, 2000). The food quality that is served in flight must also…

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