This is the latest installment of the Travel Expert Index. The TEI is a curated collection of travel professionals that answer a few questions each month about issues critical to our industry.
Disruptions are the worst. And not just for passengers. Those who work in operations are equally affected. Irregular operations cause a certain kind of chaos that must be managed on multiple fronts. Crews need to be mobilized. Fleets need to be re-positioned. Rest regulations come into play, as do FAA restrictions in certain situations. There are many inputs that must flow into one main objective: to get the system running as per regular operations.
Yet, as passengers and aviation professionals can attest, restoring from irrregular operations is no easy feat.
How to exceed expectations during disruptions
The ability to exceed expectations is a finely honed capability. It’s not a simple thing that an organization just learns overnight. There must be clear processes coupled with the right people and technology. And the focus on learning and improving must be constant.
Passengers can be understanding of certain types of delays — after all, the weather is not under anyone’s control. Yet patience can quickly wear thin when it comes to responding poorly to disruptions.
“If you don’t like something, change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” – Mary Engelbreit
Our Travel Expert Index expressed the fundamental desire to be heard and understood during a disruption. This can be done through friendly customer service and transparent communications. Customer service is where people matter most. Transparent communication is where technology helps most — especially in helping to reframe the disruption through facts and not conjecture.
By getting the right information out as soon as possible, airlines help soothe traveler anxiety. And by training front-line staff to share information quickly, airlines put another layer of understanding into the mix. Technology must support front line staff to keep them updated faster — or at least just as fast — as other external 3rd party tools do.