Delayed. Cancelled. Missed connection. These are words no traveler wants to hear. But every year, 150 million people are affected by flight disruptions. Disruptions happen, but what can be done to help airlines better handle delays and improve the passenger experience?
Amadeus, a leading provider of advanced technology solutions for the global travel industry, tackles the topic in a new, independent study, which examines current airline approaches to managing irregular operations and calls for a fresh, customer-centric look at this age-old frustration of delayed or cancelled flights.
The study, “Passengers first: Re-thinking irregular operations” was written by Norm Rose of travel industry research authority PhoCusWright and aims to provide airlines with practical strategies to improve responses to irregular operations. It encourages airlines to place a greater focus on the impact on each passenger’s trip experience as part of their operational decision-making during times of interruption.
An Amadeus global survey of 2,800 travelers found that 50 percent have experienced at least a moderate delay in the past year. The most frustrating factor travelers voiced? Lack of communication from their airline during the delay. And a third of travelers take to social media channels regarding their disruption experiences.
The report argues that a customer-centric approach to handling irregular operations may overcome some of the disparities between how airlines and passengers can sometimes perceive delays.
According to the report, providing greater alternative travel choices for travelers that take into account their individual reasons for traveling could positively affect future booking behavior. At the same time, the processes used to manage delays and cancellations today, including scheduling, customer communications and re-accommodation, often tend to be flight-centric, rather than customer-centric; something which the report argues must change.
Passengers also express their frustration on social media about a journey disruption; however, airlines are still working toward using channels like Twitter and Facebook to become forms of communication at these times. These tools are ones that can be used during times of irregular operation, but according to the report, airlines need to embrace analytical tools to better understand the impact of social media influence when a passenger posts a comment about a disrupted journey.
PhoCusWright combined various research approaches for the report, including interviews with airline executives, academic research experts, government officials and trade associations.