Because travel sucks ... now more than ever.

Not Exactly Hard to Find

Mon, 2009/05/18 - 22:02 by aargh

I recently noted that airlines have stepped up to the early 1990's and are experimenting with customer relationship management (CRM) software. All this to help improve, well, their relationships with their customers. At the top of the agenda was to identify elite-status passengers who weren't flying in a premium cabin and offer them some extra pampering back in cattle class.

(Just as a side note, how silly is this? Do they plan to go the other way and mistreat the people who got the lucky boost into first class?)

CRM? For airlines? I can see the vendors rubbing their greedy hands together. They'll charge the airlines a pretty penny for the software, then another two or three more for the overpriced consultants to install and tweak it.

This is a bold move for an industry that is hemhorraging cash. And damn me if I can figure out how a free drink here or a nod there will get them a proper return on the investment. If you start pampering folks when they're slumming in coach, what fool is going to pay to go back to club posh?

Nonetheless, I can help. Skip letting the software to find them for you. All you really need is an eye for detail. Allow me, dear airlines, to share a page of my air travel field guide. I've spent my share of time in the best and worst of airplane seats so I have plenty of experience spotting the stealth royalty hidden among the peasants.

How, you may ask?

Simple: look for someone who clearly travels a lot but hasn't learned any manners along the way.

If you're not sure what I mean, keep your eyes peeled for someone who:

  • is well-dressed -- too well-dressed for a trip, especially given that the halcyon days of air travel have long since passed.
  • talks to himself -- well, really, he's having a conversation with the shiny gadget protruding from his ear. Listen for key phrases such as, "PROFIT MARGINS! SALES FIGURES! MEETING WITH A CLIENT!"
  • is convinced the airline conspires to drive him to the poor house -- no, the weather delays aren't fabricated so you'll miss your meeting. Trust me.
  • brings enough carry-on baggage for a family into the cabin where he tries to take over four rows' worth of overhead space to stash it all.

In other words, look for someone who still thinks they're flying in business class.

Need I mention, the vast majority of this stock is overweight and typically grouchy?

So there you go. Easy-peasy. You'll have no trouble spotting these troublemakers and you won't spend a dime on costly CRM tools.

Now in exchange for the money I've saved you, airlines, may I suggest you give these people gags instead of free drinks? The rest of us could use some quiet time.