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Last Updated On: 2/25/2011

United and continental airlines, two of the leading airline providers have finally combined forces and are hence ready to take the aviation industry to a new level. How beneficial would that level be for the consumer class, that perhaps is the question everybody is talking about. One thing is clear (and you don’t have to be Einstein to figure it out) that the moment a merger takes place, the rates of the services which are offered by other companies go up, or in general a state of less competition results in a scenario dominated by industrial monopolies. As there would be lesser number of rivals, the organizations would not have to lower down their rates in order to satisfy the usual customer, as they know that they are the only options the customer has.

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If one talks about the merger in question, it is being said that both the companies would hang on to their existing customers by providing the same range of services which they used to provide before the merger. So the merger which is being termed as the one of the biggest airline merger would not result in curbing of the already available services.  As a low overlap exists among the airline’s routes, analysts support that the two airlines might cut down their domestic capacity, leading to a situation of increased fares by every other company in the aviation industry. However, analysts also deduce that such a merger would enable the organizations to compete aggressively as a single entity, and target the more price sensitive leisure customers.

There may a number of conclusions and logical deductions but there is one criteria on which every company in any industry is judged upon, the criteria of customer satisfaction. When it comes to impressing the customers, it would take a lot more than just lowering the fares. In order to attract the consumer, the companies need to work on a number of services like baggage handling, check in, on flight and off flight treatment etc. This is fact raises another question, a merger might lead to a decrease in the airline fares, but does it also lead to decrease in customer satisfaction or is the customer always coming out of the flight with a smile on his/her face.

In order estimate the amount of customer satisfaction, a survey is conducted by the University of Michigan to measure the American Customer satisfaction index.  Index scores are studied before and after the merger, and also between the merged and not merged organization.  When referring the index it was found that continental scores over united on a lot of factors related to customer satisfaction. As the continental has a better record in satisfying the existing customers to make space for the new prospective customers. So it is expected in the united continental merger (which a quite a complex one in the list of all mergers) , apart from the operational and logistical processes the preference for customer oriented processes would be given to the continental customer satisfaction processes.

The merger can be anything but it cannot afford to disappoint the consumer class, as that is where all the money (or most of it) comes from.

After all there is a very solid reason why a customer is sometimes equated to the almighty.


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