Use Common Sense and Improve Customer Service
Wow! Just when you began to think that common sense was making a come back – the Airline Industry screws up big time – again! While I was going to write about change management this week, the news of 57 passengers being abused by the airline industry hit a new low in the ranks of stupid.
If you missed it yesterday, an evening flight from Houston to Minneapolis was detoured to another airport due to bad weather. The stupid started at this new stop – officials and managers would not let the passengers out of the plane. So, since the plane was grounded by someone – in charge? – the passengers got to sleep in the plane. Now, we are not talking about some luxury liner made for international flights with leg room and large rest rooms. No, we are talking about a small regional jet with no leg room and tiny restrooms that a grown man cannot stand up within its walls.
Seems the airport officials could not make a decision to benefit the passengers, the two airlines involved decided to be stupid and hide behind some FAA rule or something along those lines. So the passengers and crew were locked in the plane overnight – no food, no room, no service, crying kids and no justice!
First, it should be a crime for the airlines to use these tiny jets for any flight over one hour. Personally, I cannot fly in one of these sardine cans with jet engines tied to the side and walk straight when I arrive at my destination. But this is a personal opinion, which seems to be seconded by the business travelers that I speak to on a regular basis. But to force over 50 people to stay in the plane over night is worst than being in jail. At least in jail, you can walk around in a straight up posture. What did these passengers do to merit such abuse – they paid for a ticket – they paid to be abused is the mentality of the airlines I guess. NOT!
Second, someone has to take a leadership role in situations that impact customers. That’s right – passengers are customers not freight. I really got a laugh when I noticed one of the big airlines had promoted their VP of freight to include passengers. What a message that speaks about the airline industry and why they are in trouble today. They would not know a customer – because they hide behind a wall of telemarketers and gatekeepers that have no authority to do anything – to keep them safe. I suggest the decision makers in this case, be placed in a small crowded regional jet fly for three or four hours, land at a strange airport and remain in the plane for the evening. I wonder how that experience would change their personal decision process.
Third, rules are made for the general situations. Aberrations or special events – like a plane arriving at your airport due to special circumstances – must be dealt with by people capable of thinking and making a decision in the interest of their customers. The airlines have gotten very comfortable about hiding behind rules – their rules (which are really guidelines) and FAA rules which seem to written by GOD and anyone who breaks the FAA rules will be doomed for the rest of eternity.
Finally, if the airlines ever want to regain their reputation and dominate the airway in a positive way – the customer (passenger) has to be the center of attention. It’s not the airplanes or the Internet reservation system – it’s all about people treating people with respect and dignity. It is a simple process. If the airlines want this to happen, first allow your workers to make decisions based upon common sense in the workplace. Treat your workers with dignity and respect and the customers will benefit and then you – the airlines – will benefit in a huge way.
My sense of fair play and treating people with respect and dignity was blindsided by this national story. Unfortunately, the person(s) in charge will probably get a bonus at the end of the year – even with their stupid and inhuman thinking abilities. I can only assume that an alien has moved into the ranks of management in the airline industry.
Do the Right Thing. and Stop Being so Stupid.