Airlines across the world are getting crushed at present. The last few years have been a disaster for air travel – most airports were silent for much of 2020 and 2021. Airline pilots and cabin crew were furloughed or made redundant as airlines scrambled to survive a prolonged period without normal business operations.
But 2022 has been different right? Without all the travel restrictions, the world has been traveling again. There has been a recovery, but it has been blighted by understaffed airports and airlines struggling to ramp back up to full capacity. The travel experience for many passengers in 2022 can only be described as a nightmare.
In Australia, Qantas has asked executives to work as baggage handlers for three months. In Europe, Emirates has refused to reduce their flights to London even as Heathrow airport said they cannot cope with the number of passengers arriving – the airline complained that airport management incompetence is not their problem…
In the US it is getting harder and harder to trust the flight schedules – American just canceled over 31,000 flights in November alone. CX analyst Peter Ryan called the management of airports in Canada ‘disgraceful’ in a recent LinkedIn post.
This global chaos could be worse. Most of China is still undergoing strict controls on air travel so the largest nation on earth hasn’t started traveling again. What are the main problems facing airlines here in the US, and beyond?
- Staffing: airlines and airports depend on many more people than the uniformed cabin crew. Ramping up the food suppliers, baggage handlers, and maintenance crews have taken longer than expected for many companies.
- Canceled or rescheduled flights: both airports and airlines have struggled to deliver the expected schedule as we see travel returning to 2019 levels. The endless cancellation and rescheduling of flights, especially domestic US flights, is making the published schedule completely unreliable.
- Lost or rerouted luggage: with all the schedule changes and cancellations, bags are getting lost. In July, Delta chartered an Airbus A330 to fly from London to Detroit carrying over 1,000 bags of American passengers that had been lost or delayed in Europe.
Eventually, we should see some normality, but how many months down the line will that be? Do passengers just stop traveling again because they can’t trust airlines to honor the schedule or get their bags to the correct destination?
This is where GigCX can be an immediate remedy for the airlines. They are swamped with passengers asking about flight changes, cancellations, and lost baggage. This isn’t going to change for a long time. Can they even feel confident that it will be resolved by the summer season in 2023?
If they want to reduce the chaos and retain passenger loyalty then they need to tap into the expertise of people that can help right now. Hire former cabin crew, former customer service agents, and anyone with travel industry experience. Use a GigCX model to let them work flexible hours from home helping passengers immediately. GigCX is a model that can allow any of the airlines to dramatically increase the volume of customer inquiries they can manage – right now.
The airlines don’t have time to build new contact centers or negotiate five-year BPO contracts. They need to be planning a route out of this situation in a way that preserves as much passenger loyalty as possible. Patience has been desperately tested this year, but passengers are also aware that the industry is still ramping up. Nobody will have that patience in 2023.