Modern Communications? Really!?

Jim Machi : Industry Insight
Jim Machi

Modern Communications? Really!?

As some of you know from following either the Dialogic twitter account or my tweets, I was recently in Bangkok for our regional Sales Kick-off.  The event was excellent and we were so busy I never could find the time to even find out if there was a “Hangover Part II” tour.

Anyway, on the way out of Bangkok our flight had to turn back due to technical difficulties.  We had to de-plane and it became evident pretty quickly we’d miss our connecting flight from Narita to Newark.  So this is where we had some communication breakdowns that really could have and should have never happened given our modern way of communicating these days. 

First of all, once we knew we would miss our connection we called United directly.  They were very helpful in a certain way, but said there were “no” other ways out of there either through Europe or Asia.  Given this was a Friday, I can kind of see that. Seemed plausible at least.  So we figured we’d go to Narita since there would be more options for getting home from there.  Smartphones are great, but our batteries were getting depleted rapidly and we couldn’t use the internet like we wanted to.  I wish we had a “get outta here” app on our phone but with no “juice” where they put us, we couldn’t plug in and risk having no power at all so we couldn’t search well for one.

When we landed at Narita as soon as we turned on our phones, we realized we were on a flight to Chicago, since we got a message “your flight is delayed”!  As soon as I saw this, I was happy but also found this odd since well, this option was never given to us when we were on the phone with them in Bangkok.  And we called multiple times. 

More fun ensued when we exited.  There was mass chaos.  They had “printed” boarding cards for people who could be rebooked. Not well staffed.  Just a mess as they didn’t have them for everybody. So we went to the Club since we figured we’d have less of a line.  Yes, there was less of a line but only one rebooking person there so this results in even more of a mess.  They tell us to go to the Gate so they know we are there so the plane doesn’t leave. Yes, even more of a mess.  This is how you treat your best customers?

Hey United, you are or were innovators in many ways with the web (from Continental).  Why not simply send us the boarding passes in email?  After all, this is my preferred way to get boarding passes in your system. And you told me about the rebooking, in an odd way, in an email. I would guess at least 75% of the people on that flight could be communicated like that.  Let’s get smarter.  This would have reduced the mass confusion, helped clear up super massive confusion at the security lines, and overall helped United get all the planes off the ground faster.  Better for everyone!


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