Let’s now switch focus and turn the spotlight on another industry in crisis: Airlines. Not so long ago, this was a sector full of aspirational brands – many of which became the proud flag bearers for national identities. Today, however, the industry is tarnished by headlines of rip-off operators, unrepentant flight cancellations and utterly insensitive customer ‘care’. This is a true case in point…
My partner and I have just returned from a wonderful touring holiday in the northern counties of Northern Ireland (genuinely, one of the most stunning and still unspoilt corners of the UK). At the end of a truly memorable few days, we arrived back in Belfast. I was booked on the car ferry back to Liverpool, but my better-half had a ticket to fly to London Gatwick that evening. On the following day she was due to meet her parents at Heathrow. What could possibly go wrong?
She checked in at the prescribed time and was told by the EasyJet representative that her 21.00 flight would be unavoidably delayed for 2.5 hours. “There’s been an incident at Gatwick” was the vaguely dismissive explanation.
On checking the departure board, though, she noticed that the previous EasyJet flight to Gatwick had been summarily cancelled – could the same fate befall her flight?
“No, it’s just delayed, be patient,” came the rep’s reply. But, sensing that this assurance was rather less than convincing, the assistant did offer this honest advice: “Just for safety, you might check out alternative flights to London – but don’t book anything yet. If your flight is cancelled, you can then be first in the ticket queue. And you should be eligible for a full refund on your cancelled flight.”