FOXTROTS

Fox – sly.  Trots – left-leaning (Trotsky) plus its more insalubrious meaning.

Foxtrots – leading the industry in a dance.

 

Empowerment at British AW. To make bad choices. 

I have heard of a case where giving empowerment to some staff means empowerment to make bad decisions.   In a recent situation, a passenger travelled on a business class ticket from Italy to Australia. On his return, he was scheduled in transit through London Heathrow – always a difficult place if you are seeking special service.

Transit time was four hours for a flight to another country in the European Union. (There was a flight after two hours, but those that made the booking had preferred to allow more time for possible delays.)

The complication came in that the business-class ticket was written back to Italy – where the journey had started. But the passenger needed to go to France, and because of complications with ticketing, it proved simpler to purchase a separate ticket for UK-France, and not-use/throw-away the UK-Italy ticket.   But the extra ticket to France was in economy class.

Over to the British Airways business-class lounge. After listening to the story, and conferring with a colleague, the reply was “Sorry, this lounge is for business-class…” etc. They added that staff in the customer service desk near the lounge could authorise entry.

Over to the customer-service desk. Even before the traveller arrived, the lounge staff had telephoned the staff to say they had refused access to the traveller. In other words, don’t mess, and, presumably, to ensure that the traveller did not lie. Then the customer-service staff said only the lounge-staff had the right to approve access to the lounge. In other words, someone was lying.

Of course, the traveller was told he could speak to a Duty Officer or even phone a complaint line. That was declined as being futile – merely a third person saying “I am sorry, sir. But this lounge is just for business-class passengers, and you have an economy ticket.”

Pointless also to complain officially; the response would be the same. Even readers will agree the staff response was ‘correct’. But most will also agree that the airline should have allowed access.

That they did not, and presumably treat other passengers in a similar way, the outcome can be seen in traffic figures for British Airways – the airline is losing market share.

Now, most people know that Ryanair fills more seats than British Airways does. But although a budget product like Ryan should not be compared with a premium product like BA, surely BA can see that it is providing budget service?

The difference is that budget service on BA costs 10-times more than the budget service on Ryan.

The Fox