Ahhh! So the example was more than an example - they are an airline. The plot thickens! They are the ones responsible for the theory that their value-add is on-time departures as opposed to on-time arrivals! (Never minding that they struggle to hit either mark.)
Thus the quandry!
Of all industries, I've long felt that airlines don't get it, and they probably never will. I'm assuming that you've already googled the heck out of this, looking for stats. I'll join the search.
In a way, they are right. When you have a monopoly, you don't have to play nice. Look at all us willing sheep...shelling out $3+ for a lousy bag of peanuts once they cut us off from food. Look at Ryan Air, now wanting to charge a toll for using the bathroom facilities. We deride the industry, protest the unending additional fees for everything, yet we continue to purchase tickets.
Yes, Richard, it is an interesting one. I try for optimism rather than pessimism, but am falling on the wrong side on this one. Maybe though, there's one thing. Keep tabs on "Sully" Sullenberger...the United pilot who landed in the Hudson. Last I heard, he was offered double salary by Virgin, and captain-ship of their space program. Where he goes, I believe travelers will follow. Who wouldn't feel safe with him at the helm? Should he switch to Virgin, how many United customers will follow? He's rather the definition of service paving the way for sales these days.