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Bucking the Trend in Business Class Travel

November 24, 2010 9:11 pm - Posted by Roland Hulme in Travel

Years ago, companies like United Airlines invited passengers to “fly the friendly skies” – but today, those skies have never seemed less welcoming.

Modern air travel has become a nightmare – combining sky-rocketing ticket prices with brutal new airport security screenings and dramatic cuts in service.

Today, a trip through airline security feels like a violation. Airlines have started to charge for everything they can – from cans of soda to each suitcase you check. One carrier, Spring Airlines in China, has even begun toying with the idea of selling ‘standing room only’ space on domestic flights!

Passengers have to fly to reach their destinations, most airlines seem to have decided, so it’s irrelevant whether or not they deliver decent customer service. Instead, most carriers have turned their focus to the bottom line instead – downsizing, downgrading and cutting every corner possible.

Yet amidst all this minimizing and cost-cutting, one airline has apparently decided to buck the trend.

OpenSkies, a business-class transatlantic airline have challenged their passengers with an inexplicably bold guarantee: “Love Everything, or Pay Nothing.”

The “OpenSkies Satisfaction Guarantee” delivers what it promises – if customers aren’t entirely satisfied with their experience flying OpenSkies, they’ll have their ticket price reimbursed; as simple as that.

On the surface, it might sound like a recipe for disaster – but OpenSkies actually have many reasons to believe their satisfaction guarantee will deliver.

Their business-class only flights from New York and Washington to Paris-Orly offer all the onboard features you’d expect from a business-class carrier, but goes a step further. They also offer an upscale meal service, specially prepared to be as healthy as it is delicious, plus a choice of wines that would put many terrestrial restaurants to shame.

These details perhaps draw inspiration from the glory days of international travel – the ‘friendly skies’ I mentioned earlier, and a time when people dressed up and actually looked forward to flying, instead of considering it a hassle and a chore.

But in contrast, OpenSkies have also added a thoroughly modern component to international travel. The thought of a gourmet meal, exquisite wines and thoughtful service makes me think of the words of Mark Twain, who once suggested that the journey was equally important as the destination.

But what really sets OpenSkies apart is the fact that they offer all this at a price that still undercuts many of their business-class competitors. They work on a simple formula: Deliver more and charge less. It’s practically the opposite of how most carriers are operating in the current market. But will it work for them?

Only time will tell whether OpenSkies has promised more than it can deliver – but early signs are encouraging. They’ve already flown over 150,000 passengers across the Atlantic, and almost 97% of them reported that they’d enthusiastically recommend OpenSkies to a colleague or friend.

It’s nice to know that decent customer service still pays off in the end – and hopefully, the trend will continue. While there’s certainly a cloud hanging over the airline industry at the moment, I’m optimistically hoping that OpenSkies will become its silver lining.

One Response to “Bucking the Trend in Business Class Travel”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by WINE PORTFOLIO, Swahili At Fifth. Swahili At Fifth said: RT @whatthefuture: Bucking the trend in Biz Class – a new look at OpenSkies & the past or future of biz #airtravel http://ow.ly/3f8tI […]