Airlines should reward customers instead of penalizing them

I ran across an interesting blog post this morning about how the airlines are treating their customers during these difficult financial times. The airlines are bleeding money, and their answer to stop that has been to create a bunch of new fees and to reduce the level of service to the customer.

That's all well and good from a financial perspective if the punishment of customers doesn't drive them away. The airline collects its fees, which chip away at the high cost of jet fuel, and their financial results look less bad.

But what would happen if the airlines instead decided to implement a sort of "reward" system for customers instead of this punitive system? I think this is an interesting concept that could build customer loyalty and leave them feeling better about their airline experience, even if they are paying more.