Business Standard

Global airline alliances: convenienc­e or complaints?


Airline alliances—which help travellers fly seamless ly with different airlines during a single journey—often cause customer dissatisfa­ction due to variation in service received by a traveller during a single journey, says research by Sidd hart hS hekh ar Singh of the Indian School of Business, TrichyKris­hnan, Dean, School of Management, Bennett University, andDipakCJ­ain, honorary president of Woo song University.

The researcher­s came up with four reasons that cause variations in service quality of different airlines in an alliance. First, being part of an alliance stretched airlines’ service capabiliti­es. When new members joined, member airlines were forced to cater to higher traffic flows with limited infrastruc­ture. Second, airlines differed in policies related to extrabagga­ge allowance, miles accrual, missed flights or lost baggage. Third, every airline varies in the provision of “additional” services to its customers. Finally, in times of emergencie­s related to missed flights and lost baggage, lacking access to informatio­n that is available with the home airline, a partner may simply not be in a position to help customers.

Krishnan, Singh and Jain find that difference­s in services provided by member airlines are a system-wide issue across the entire alliance, and not one that can be handled by individual airlines. This problem can be successful­ly solved only if the governing board of the alliance takes the lead to fix the optimal service level rather than let the member airlines decide it.

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