Thursday, December 28, 2006

Tell People Something...! Airline Information. By Mark Thristan

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I'm still at home in London, having been supposedly flying out with my wife to Geneva on Thursday to visit her mother for Christmas. Personally, I blame the fog, but seriously, I have been fairly unimpressed with the airline and airport integrated communications systems.

The usual procedure has airports holding rudimentary messages, pointing you to airline sites for further information. Unfortunately, Swiss (International Air) with whom we were flying, had not a single message about the fog-related cancellations on its site; no information as to whether to turn up to the airport or not, whether flights would be cancelled or not...

OK, so, time to move on to the telephone - where none of the numbers listed appeared to be in working order. So we rang numbers in Switzerland, but still could not get through. Fortunately, we were lucky, and managed to get in contact with the airline first thing the next morning.

But, what I am wondering is , "Why make it so difficult to let your customers know what is going on when there is an airline status change?".

There was chaos at Heathrow, and I'm sure some of this is due to the fact that people HAD to arrive at the airport to even get close to speaking to someone, or finding out what was going on. Our situation resulted in the Swiss airline being as helpful as one would expect, given the circumstances and time of year. However, this was only AFTER we had jumped through many hoops to get in contact with them.

If this is the service provided for a general airline scheduling request, what on earth is provided by the airline’s so-called ‘Customer Service?’

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