Airlines are often a great source of examples of customer experience fails. Big or small, social media fuels the outrage and the news programs just love to report on them. Who can forget the image of the doctor getting dragged off an oversold flight? The media made sure that was burned into our memories forever.

But airlines can also be extremely accommodating to some of its customers, sometimes to the detriment of the majority. An example of this is the increased appearance of emotional support animals on flights. When I was a heavy duty business traveler just a decade ago, I never encountered animals in the cabin of the aircraft. But somehow it’s recently become a thing. I’m sure there are some folks who legitimately benefit from a comfort animal, but the problem is that there are also people who are abusing the concept. Designating something as a emotional service animal is as simple as going to a website and creating the paperwork. It’s a free-for-all.

Passengers have brought on board turkeys, snakes and possums. Can you imagine having to sit next to a possum on a flight? No thanks. And some of these animals are misbehaving on the flights, defecating in the cabin and even biting other passengers. So, the airlines have accommodated one or two passengers on the flight by allowing them to bring their service animal on board, but what about the other 100 passengers who are disgusted by the turkey poop in the aisle? Doesn’t their experience matter, too?

Delta has recognized they have a problem on their hands and recently tightened up their guidelines. Sometimes, in an effort to be “customer centric”, the policy pendulum swings too far to the side of anarchy. What Delta is doing represents a course correction that is no less customer centric. In fact, I would argue that it’s more customer centric because it is now factoring in the wants and needs of the majority of the passengers while still trying to accommodate a small minority who have a legitimate need.

I’m going to close with something I saw on the news just this morning. A passenger tried to take a huge peacock on a United flight, claiming it was an emotional support animal. United refused to let it on board. Sometimes you just gotta say no to some customers for the benefit of the rest. (You can see video of the huge peacock here.)

We don’t allow peacocks in our facilities but we can accommodate an awful lot of other client requests. Contact us to find out more.