What can AC do to improve its response to IROPS ?

Discussion in 'Air Canada | Aeroplan' started by milchap, Mar 12, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. milchap
    Original Member

    milchap Gold Member

    Messages:
    27,636
    Likes Received:
    148,038
    Status Points:
    20,020
    No bitching here please and bashing AC. ;) :D
    AC just needs positive observations from a frequent flyer perspective,
    IROPS are a fact of frequent flying.

    IROPS can be categorized into two groups:
    Inclement weather affecting airports and flight ops ;
    and force majeure events such as earthquakes in Chili, Haiti and most recently Japan.
    One is a common occurence if you live in Canada and the other is thankfully quite rare

    AC' s track record to responding to IROPS is not the best IMHO. It probably ranks as my
    number one concern re AC.
    And communication with pax seems to be the problem.
    As top tier pax, we have an advantage or priority rebooking etc.....and yet.....
    Any ideas to for AC to improve?
    PS. AC is much more proactive these days in rebooking before storms.
     
  2. ACMM
    Original Member

    ACMM Gold Member

    Messages:
    25,788
    Likes Received:
    113,113
    Status Points:
    20,020
    I am going to comment in the general, not a specific situation ... hope it meets with your standards for MP!

    I think better communication would be a great start. While I have found that things are ofetn taken care of behind the scenes, front-line communication would be very helpful to calm confused passengers. A passenger who has information can make informed decisions for themselves.

    I am not one who automatically believes it is AC's responsibility to house passengers or to feed them. A gesture in that regard would be helpful and the one time I was offered accommodation and meal I did take it, but it would not have concerned me otherwise.

    Now i know that some may feel that very frequent announcements are important during the situation, but announcements for the sake of doing announcements does nothing IMHO. it will be important to keep the passengers informed, but telling them 'nothing has changed' hourly will do nothing but cause more frustration IMHO. It is a fine balance here and one that has to be determined based on the passengers, their tone, and the situation.

    The other thing that I think would be helpful would be having more staff onhand (if possible - and this is solely dependent on the situation of course) to be able to specifically handle questions relating to the IROPS.

    I am sure I can think of something more, but would be interested in hearing others' thoughts also.
     
  3. En-Route
    Original Member

    En-Route Silver Member

    Messages:
    260
    Likes Received:
    165
    Status Points:
    470
    Volcanoes,earthquakes,tsunamis.......all natural disasters.

    AC is in business of getting you from Point A to Point B and or C. I will take ownership of a situation where it is beyond AC or airline control.Thems the breaks
    These folks in Japan,or Thailand a few years ago have bigger issues .
    Will,and generally always have,figure it out.It may just take longer .I try to prepare for that
     
  4. The first job of the airline when there is an IROP is to try and get the plane in the air. Outside of weather delays the airlines in general generally don't shine when they are faced with mechanical delays. That would not make it a front line problem but one where the mechanics and engineers don't properly diagnose the problem initially or don't have the part handy and its then the front line employees who take the brunt of customer crap. .
     
  5. flying-gal
    Original Member

    flying-gal Silver Member

    Messages:
    414
    Likes Received:
    716
    Status Points:
    600
    Nice avatar Terry.
     
    ACMM likes this.
  6. ACMM
    Original Member

    ACMM Gold Member

    Messages:
    25,788
    Likes Received:
    113,113
    Status Points:
    20,020
    I would guess at a Habs game when they were winning :)
     
  7. milchap
    Original Member

    milchap Gold Member

    Messages:
    27,636
    Likes Received:
    148,038
    Status Points:
    20,020
    Or at a Leafs game when they were losing.....
     
    ACMM likes this.
  8. East_Yorker
    Original Member

    East_Yorker Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,450
    Likes Received:
    4,589
    Status Points:
    2,470
    Other than trying to have sufficient staff to resolve/rebook/etc. in a timely fashion, communication is key.

    Not only what gets communicated, but how it is communicated is critical. Start with an acknowledgment of the issue, awareness that it is an inconvenience, and a brief description as to what's being done to resolve the situation (or what passengers need to do, if anything).

    Announcements need to be frequent enough to ensure people are kept informed, but are particularly important when something has changed.

    I don't know if AC has personnel who are expected to coordinate their response. If so, they need to be in continuos touch with the frontline staff, to try and take some of the pressure from them. If not, they need to have someone who fills this role.

    We don't expect perfection in anything except mechanical performance. We do expect empathy when we're not going to make a connection, meeting, or get home to see our kids.

    If AC would like to hire me to develop a process and train their staff, I'm available [​IMG]
     
    ACMM likes this.
  9. canucklehead
    Original Member

    canucklehead Gold Member

    Messages:
    5,895
    Likes Received:
    22,059
    Status Points:
    11,070
    Communication is the first priority to resolve IROPS.

    In cases of extreme events, I am left to wonder if AC has an emergency preparedness plan. Whether there is a plan or not, I think some of the following events should take place to ensure local airport authority to handle the situation.
    1) AC HQ needs to have a designated chain of local command to take over and this decision should be quick (think minutes/hrs, not days). In situations that may require airport shutdown (such as a big snowstorm, volcano or earthquake), local decision making is essential to the outfit. For events that happen on foreign soil, a link to the local embassy or consulate, with actual contacts who can help in repatriation efforts, or to document Cdn residents and citizens for evacuation.

    2) The local airport personnel need to have a priority list of communication points to convey to passengers and faimilies. This can be in the form of local announcements (a bullhorn would help), and local transfer of information to the website - it can go through the HQ spokesperson, but frequent updates would be helpful. At airports, signage indicating a point of information, where a staff member can make announcements or whatnot.

    3) local support initiatives should include food provisions (granola bars, tetrapaks - even the ability to raid the stocks on airplanes), emergency supplies (medical), phone or internet access cards, blankets, mats. Resources including local vendors who may be able to supply stuff. A budget to last 2 days for food to feed the # of passengers that go through that airport on an average day.

    4) If staff cannot make it in, alternate staff (if possible) need to be found to replace those at the airport, or a 12hr shift be instituted for emergency reasons and for those who can accommodate it (yes, I am sure some unions may object, but these events go beyond standard workplace norms, and they should recognize that)

    5) followup and feedback from local staff -what do they need, what can HQ do to get supplies, increase communication - this should happen during the event and as a forensic.

    6) in some cases, AC staff is sparse, so working with the handling carrier is required to ensure that not only do the passengers of a handling airline get their needs met, but also the passengers of clients they have contracted their services out to.

    Just some thoughts on recent events -- even if these points are in place or implemented, I am not sure what can be done. Based on some reports, the staff at NRT were professional, calm and did their best in the situation, but sometimes the events are greater than the people can handle. As a paying customer, it may be easy to forget that there are others who are suffering locally. Yes, you may be stuck in an airport, but if its a local tragedy like a tsunami, consider that the staff may have a lot more to be concerned about than a rebooking.

    just my 2cents, I hope these things are already in place and just need to be acted on more quickly.
     
    East_Yorker likes this.
  10. In the age of social media, and a large percentage of PAX having mobile devices which allow them to access e-mail on the go, why not offer IROPS e-mail updates? I am aware that AC offers "e-mail updates" already, but use this feature for real time tracking for each PAX based on his / her ticket. So, if ANY delay / cancellation, whatever, group the e-mail addresses on a per flight basis, and communicate with them directly and instantaneously.
     
  11. tomh009
    Original Member

    tomh009 Gold Member

    Messages:
    2,258
    Likes Received:
    1,819
    Status Points:
    1,220
    Those didn't narrow down the list of games very much! :D
     
    ACMM likes this.
  12. tomh009
    Original Member

    tomh009 Gold Member

    Messages:
    2,258
    Likes Received:
    1,819
    Status Points:
    1,220
    I think this is right on. And amazingly it's probably the single easiest thing to address with IROPS. Improving communications will calm people down, help them make the right decisions -- and also give AC time to improve other aspects of IROPS.
     
    ACMM likes this.
  13. interesting, after IROPS AC can email all the people with Aeroplan # on the flight and say I am sorry/apologize !
    Something that AC is hopeless at, and it means so much....however I guess they are two busy....

    interesting management is out trying to tell the NHL how to run its business rather than fix AC own mess. I guess that's why they are to busy.
     
  14. En-Route
    Original Member

    En-Route Silver Member

    Messages:
    260
    Likes Received:
    165
    Status Points:
    470
    there are also some here trying to tell AC how to run their business when they should be over at UA trying to fix that mess.[​IMG]
     
  15. SYM
    Original Member

    SYM Silver Member

    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    30
    Status Points:
    125
    More timely recognition that bad weather is on the way. It's Air CANADA. Winter happens.

    Those of us trying to get out earlier in the afternoon/evening from the T1 basement or in the morning in T1 transborder are not (necessarily) trying to scam AC out of change fees. We have seen the weather report and know that IROPs are on the way. Just let us get on the plane.

    The GA response that changes can be made for a fee is not a response. If my main goal is to avoid weather delays, then paying a change fee to move from one flight that may be delayed to another flight that may be delayed makes no sense.

    On a related note, I am astonished that using publicly available tools (like MP, FT and above all flightstats - I am too cheap to spring for the subscription tools), I often know more about the status of inbound aircraft than AC ground agents.
     
  16. milchap
    Original Member

    milchap Gold Member

    Messages:
    27,636
    Likes Received:
    148,038
    Status Points:
    20,020
    I do find that AC has been more responsive to inclement weather and allowing changes to itineraries.
     
  17. BINGO:D
     

Share This Page