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Market Research 101

devansjr
Not applicable
Companies pay millions of dollars each year for market research. They do customer surveys to find out the likes and dislikes of the public, and they try to spot trends as well as figure out the next "in" product. I have a less expensive suggestion that is probably a lot more accurate and gives "real time" feedback across a broad section of the public: just ask our Flight Attendants what's hot and what's not. Some of our Flight Attendants work 4-5 days per week flying up to 7 flights per day with as many as 137 Passengers on each flight for an exposure to nearly 4,800 very diverse people. Want to know the most read book? Ask a Flight Attendant; they could have told you how popular The Da Vinci Code was going to be. What is the hot puzzle? Flight Attendants knew it was Sudoku before the rest of us did. What about the latest fashion color or most popular magazine or laptop computer? I know some great people that can answer these questions. I have spent many evenings having dinner with the Men and Women who are in charge of our cabin safety and service, listening to their thoughts about what they have noticed during their flights. My advice to marketing people and manufacturing gurus...forget the focus groups and instead focus on what our Flight Attendants are observing each and every day. I think you would be amazed at what they could tell you.
59 Comments
Bill35
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Nuts about Southwest? You've got to be nuts! During a flight in which a flight attendant accidentally spilled a whole tray of drinks (18-24) in my lap, I was offered nothing more than club soda and napkins. Despite requests for restitution (i.e., cleaning) from the flight attendant and the customer service manager at the airport upon my arrival an hour later, I was told (soaking from neck to knees) that I would have to contact corporate customer service for assistance. When I went to the corporate website upon arrival at my hotel another hour later, I found there is no where to send a request for assistance by e-mail! First in customer service? Not by a long shot. Unfortunately, the old adage seems to be true - "you get what you pay for".
Lena
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Thank you Southwest Airlines! You provide the others and I will ever again be a Continental customer. I flew Continental Airlines recently and it was absolutely the worst experience I've ever had. The staff on board were rude, unhelpful and racist. The poor woman sitting next to me was yelled at because she asked for some water. It was poured into a plastic cup before she had the time to specify that she wanted it without ice. Because she was an Asian woman, the staff literately yelled at (as in voice raised to high level) and a male flight attendant told her that next time, she must say Ã
Steven11
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hi what size of baggage to be allowance to carry with me to passenger area? Thanks, steven
Alan_Daters1
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As Southwest goes to all the right places, I fly SWA exclusively. Your staff is great, fares are great, and no luggage lost yet! Speaking of luggage, I almost always check a bag plus have an underseat size carry-on. The steamer-trunk "carry-ons" annoy me; if I used my space, they would be SOL. BUT, if they all checked luggage then my luggage would take longer to unload and possibly be at bigger risk of loss/damage- it is a dilema! I am a "customer of size" and buy 2 seats. I always sit starboard, 2-3 rows from back. FAs are always understanding, only flaw is that sometimes rear FAs don't warn front FAs that a seat is reserved, thus letting passengers make round trip to the back. Nice touch: sometimes FAs have let me help load snack cartons into overhead bin at stops-saves them a step or 2 and gives me excuse to stand & stretch. Humor is good, sometimes very good. But it is fine with me if FAs don't have time and/or ability for that. Finally- thanks for the blog, I had wanted an informal place to reach Southwest. (Too lazy to write a letter!)
Judy9
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Newly announced SWA pre-board rules means A ticket people will get on first, then a parent with a child my pre-board before B & C holders. This mother below tells it best on SFGate blog. Her thinking is my thinking exactly. If the kids can all preboard, we know where the kids are. That causes me to choose to sit somewhere else: When you let people with children preboard, think of it as getting your own "preferential seating." You know where "we" are so you don't have to sit next or behind or infront of "us" if you don't want to. Also letting me go first means that you won't accidentally get knocked in the head with my child's carseat or diaper bag or both and your laptop (or whatever) won't have an encounter with a wayward toddler foot. I fly with kids so that they can see their family. But do you think I like sitting there getting dirty looks, and lectures from flight attendants, and trying to figure out how to keep my kid occupied when he's run out of interesting toys and only wants to kick the back of the seat in front of him? Also, if you're going to be grouchy about my misery while I'm traveling with kids, what makes you think I want to sit next to you either?
Stephen_Madden
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I wish your ticketless confirmation email included an "Export to Outlook" option.
Cynthia3
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I totally agree with the need to preboard with a small child. They are restless and cranky at the gate and need to get on board and get settled. Also, I have to hoist my child in his car seat over thw seats because the aisles ar etoo skinny so it is very hard for me to hoist 30 plus lbs very far especially with out smacking someone with it. It is not a conspiracy to sneak on first it is a necessity. You try flying alone with a 24 mth old and maybe you'd see things differently. Shame on you SWA!!
Carlos_LLanso
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I am an equal opportunity frequent flyer. I fly just about every airlne and participate in all the FF programs. Routes and price are always king but count me in as one of those that, forced to make the choice between traditional seat assignment and the Southwest way...will always chose row 12, seat C!
Arthur_Anderson
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I love you guys! I travel quite frequently for work and try to use Southwest as much as possible. I love the "Cattle Call" boarding I think its great! Its so much fun to watch all the crazy people line up like kids in grade school and try to figure out what place they are supposed to be in line. The flight attendants are great, so much fun! It seems like you guys are really doing something right, its so amazing to see how much your airline has grown over the past few years. I find the seats to be more roomy and more comfortable than any other airline. I look forward to flying Southwest ALWAYS! My home airport is Lost Wages, Nevada and I love that you have the entire "C" Terminal. C is for "Cattle Class" and I mean that in the nicest possible way. Please don't change a thing! You stand out from all the rest!