Are travelers getting more demanding or has travel chaos made customers’ demands justifiable?
A recent study by Oregon State University found that 91% of hospitality workers have interacted with customers who believed they inherently deserved privileges or special treatment.
Todd Montgomery, the professor who led the research, said that the travel industry’s loose and undefined policies are partly to blame for the uptick in entitled customers. It also doesn’t help that this past summer was marred by lost luggage, delays, and 8-hour TSA lines.
The travel industry has been struggling to combat staffing shortages and unprecedented numbers of travelers, but many customers don’t see it that way. Some people have little sympathy for the industry that got billions of dollars of government aid during the pandemic, feeling that most airlines were quick to fire staff during Covid and and too slow to rehire once things picked up.
Clinical psychologists like Sabrina Romanoff raise an important point from the travelers’ perspective. When people book trips, they idealize them and look forward to them for so long so when things go wrong, they expect the customer service to be top-notch.
It’s hard to say if travelers’ expectations are high or if they simply want trips to go smoothly. It does seem that the government is siding with customers by rolling out an interactive dashboard to show how much airlines owe customers during delays and forcing airlines to disclose hidden fees.