Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Is Delta ‘The World’s Most Trusted Airline’?

That descriptor is sure to elicit guffaws from the plenty of Delta-bashers who are still smarting from last year’s SkyMiles award-price increases, and from Delta’s upcoming conversion of SkyMiles to a revenue-based program.
According to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, Delta has filed a trademark application for the right to promote itself as The World’s Most Trusted Airline.
Is Delta ‘The World’s Most Trusted Airline’?
Is rustworthy an adjective that most or even plenty of travelers would be inclined to apply to Delta? I doubt it.
Delta is currently basking in the glow of smitten industry watchers impressed with the company’s strong financial and operational performance. But the most trusted designation is clearly meant to apply to Delta’s customers, not to a small group of financial analysts.
United’s re-adoption of the Fly the Friendly Skies slogan is a case in point. The issues that bedeviled United in the aftermath of its merger with Continental were rampant and well publicized. United’s skies were anything but friendly, and the tagline was bandied about by flyers sarcastically, to call attention to United’s cluelessness.
A sure amount of hyperbole is expected in airline promotion. But if the claim goes far, it risks exposing the company to ridicule.
American, on the other hand, was savvy to steer clear of its Something Special in the Air slogan at a time when it was clearly anything but something special in the air.
But the airline that bests all others when it comes to managing customers expectations is Southwest, which claims to be neither reliable nor friendly nor special. It delivers a modest service for a modest cost, without making any grand claims for itself. And Southwest’s customers are among the industry’s most satisfied, and the most loyal.
When you think The World’s Most Trusted Airline, does Delta come to mind?
Reader Reality Check
As Delta will discover, there’s a lot to be said for under promising and over delivering.
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