Okay frequent flyer, let’s talk brass tacks. You fly the same airline all the time. In fact, when making a booking you don’t even bother to compare prices with other airlines, you go straight to your usual site to book. Why?

Is it the consistently obliging and particularly handsome crew? Maybe the food and beverages are exactly to your taste? Perhaps you like the large comfortable seats in a modern and sleek cabin? For some reason, I doubt it.

Why Stay When A Good Airline Turns Bad?

Europe is currently in the midst of a race to the bottom. “We must compete with the low cost carriers!” is the constant bleating from the boardrooms of legacy carriers. The only solution is to cut everything possible – and charge for the rest.

Removing complimentary food and drink and charging instead is the new normal. Spacious seating in economy class? Forget it. Who needs that extra toilet down the back? That’s two more seat rows! Just keep packing them in.

Business class? Leave the middle seat free and provide the old economy class meal service – we can get away with that, they won’t know the difference. Carriers like Scandinavian Airlines have dropped the pretence altogether and don’t even offer business class within Europe anymore.

Reading certain aviation forums shows frequent flyers dismayed by the constant reductions in service. Yet virtually all of them continue to fly with the same airline in spite of the cuts. Why?

The Loyalty Program Keeps You Loyal

Among this swirling maelstrom of doom, even the most cash strapped legacy airlines still have a loyalty program. With the wheels plainly falling off, passengers continue the eternal dance of hope that one day they too will reach the next level on the frequent flyer ladder.

It reminds me of when the service on US carriers was a global laughing stock. People remained loyal even if the aircraft interiors were falling apart and they were given nothing on board except a surly command from the flight attendant to sit down.

Is priority boarding and lounge access really that amazing that you will put up with bad on board service? Isn’t the purpose of buying a ticket supposed to get you on a flight from A to B in some modicum of comfort?

Apparently not. You can get a lumpy seat and a slap in the face on board, but as long it helps you get higher in the loyalty program, you will happily take it and even do it again.

Why Not Switch To A Better Airline?

People are lazy – who wants to have to go to the effort of switching? You’ll need to build up status again, use all your points in your old program plus learn a whole new set of program rules. Besides, what if you switch and dislike the new airline?

The only people who seem to switch are those that move countries and have to. Despite challenges and status matches, people tend to stay loyal to the same carrier. It really is an interesting aspect of human behaviour and one that marketers count on.

Overall Thoughts

It would have to be something on the level of a volcano erupting to get me to switch my frequent flyer loyalty program. The airline I fly with most is not bad and their club is pretty decent plus I know it well. How about you?

Are you happy with the airline you fly or complain about the service or the food and so on when you land? If so, why don’t you switch? I’d love to hear your reasons for continuing to stay with your airline. Perhaps you are someone who has switched? What made you do it and how was it?

Thank you for reading and as always please leave your comments or questions below.

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