Is it leadership if the benefits were unintended consequences?

April 22, 2010
unintended consequences


Is it leadership if it happens by the law of unintended consequences? Bag loss was dramatically reduced by airlines due to baggage-fee hikes. 23.8 % less bags worldwide were lost in 2009 than the previous year, partly because of passengers checking less bags! This was a $460 million dollar savings annually when you include miss-routed or delayed baggage, according to SITA.

This is an absolute benefit to airlines’ bottom-lines, but what about their customers? Infrequent fliers are the ones who usually check bags, so they’re likely happy with having their bags returned to them–but unhappy with the exorbitant baggage-checking fees.

Frequent fliers, the road warriors who rarely entrust the airline with their valuables in the plane’s underbelly, aren’t likely too pleased either. With so many passengers trying to cram all they can in overhead bins and under seats, frequent business fliers now sometimes have to check their bags, causing unanticipated delays in their expertly timed exchanges from plane to vehicle to appointment.

I’m sure airlines are happy for the lost-baggage savings and the income generated from fees, but who is their target customer, and how exactly are they being served in this new paradigm?

What do you think? How have you benefited or been rewarded from the law of unintended consequences?

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