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Airlines routinely rank near the bottom of customer satisfaction surveys. But we would wager that most customers, like us, find that the time on the plane — the “sit back, relax, and enjoy the flight” part — is the least awful piece of their experience.

The nightmare is everything else: prices that change from minute to minute and bear no perceivable relationship to actual cost or value, fees for checking bags and just about any amenity, and frequent delays caused by weather or “the late arrival of the incoming aircraft.”

Airports themselves have their own set of annoyances: check-in kiosks that are out of order or can’t read your credit card, the queues and indignities of security, inadequate staffing; seemingly random gate-change announcements, and the scrum at the gate.

Welcome to Surf Air, which sells flights by subscription.

For a monthly fee (currently US$1,950, plus a one-time membership charge of $1,000), subscribers can take an unlimited number of flights anywhere on Surf Air’s 12-city system in California and Nevada. That is a bargain for many customers: an L.A. lawyer who needs to be in Sacramento several times a month; a tech mogul who weekends in Lake Tahoe; consultants with clients scattered around California; or a restaurateur with properties in different cities. On a full-service carrier, a last-minute San Francisco–Los Angeles round-trip can cost $450.

However, the real value of Surf Air is not the price of a flight but the experience of the carrier’s ingenious service design.

Read all at the Source: The Art of Customer Delight

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