Last weekend the UK air traffic control systems experienced a serious glitch in their telephone system. Hundreds of flights were cancelled or delayed.
As luck would have it, a large group of Terrapinn (that's Blue Sky's mother company) employees happened to be returning from our annual internal conference in Malaga that day. After a large night on the town we were woken early, hustled to the airport, grabbed a cheeky McDonalds breakfast and boarded our Easyjet flight back to London. Only to be told, once we were strapped in and ready to go, that it was quite likely we'd be waiting on the tarmac for up to four hours to get home. A resounding groan went around the plane, from the rather hungover Terrapinnos up the back through to the poor civilians sharing the plane with us up the front.
Now at this point I'd usually launch into a tirade about delays and passenger communications and all round passenger experience. But on board our flight were a team of very capable and friendly flight attendants with a surprising amount of patience for their tired, bleary eyed and generally over-it travellers.
The team were straight on it, walking through the cabin to explain the problem and answering any questions, serving snacks and drinks and handing out copious amounts of water. They were perfectly ready to have a laugh with us and chat about our few days away. They even went beyond the call of duty to take care of some of theâ€¦ ermâ€¦ poorly passengers huddled in the toilets (not me I hasten to add).
So here is the moral of the story. No matter what the situation, your staff are the face of your operations, and they can make or break your passenger's experience, and the reputation of your brand. Every one of my colleagues got off that flight exhausted and grumpy, but in total agreement that the on board staff were amazing. Because of the efficient, informative and optimistic approach taken by the crew, we felt like we'd been kept up to date with what was happening, like the team were on â€˜our side' and sympathised with the situation, and like they were doing everything they could to make a bad situation better. And sometimes, that's all that is needed.
For those Easyjet readers, we were on flight 8602 from Malaga. If you can congratulate the crew involved we would be delighted! Also my colleague Danny lost his glasses, so if they happen to turn upâ€¦