A Lesson In Customer Experience: How Easy Is Flying?

We Make your Journey Easy!
Fly With Ease.
Stress-less Flying

These slogans are typical of well known airlines.
They appeal to our desire to have a smooth holiday, a flight which enables us to take away any pre-travel holiday stress, and allow us to dream that there will generally be less bumps on the runway to going on holiday.

When flights get cancelled, it can be a nightmare. Cancellations are relatively regular across the board, usually due to factors out of anybody’s control, but that doesn’t stop it from causing havoc. How those airlines handle these episodes makes a huge difference and can give us a lesson to follow in our own workplace or business.

A customer and his family were unfortunately stranded in London Gatwick. They were traveling home to Zürich but their next available flight was not for two days,

They were offered the family overnight accommodation in London, and a train to Brussels to the next day… Great! The customer agreed and went to book the Eurostar to Brussels. As standard class was full, they booked the premier class. They made it home.

Back in Switzerland, the customer started the process of filling in the compensation claims forms. According to EU regulations, they are entitled to compensation for inconvenience and for the extra costs.

You may think this is rather a clear concept.

However the first claim was rejected, because they had used the ‘wrong’ claims form.

Their second claim was approved by the agent in customer services, and forwarded to the airlines finances to be paid.

However Finances THEN rejected the claim, stating that the customer was not entitled to a premier class train ticket.Of course, this then had to be eventually relayed back to the customer via the customer support agent.

The airline values (slightly edited for annoymity purposes)

We make flying easy. Less stress  for every part of your journey.


The moral? They didn’t get their compensation and probably never used that airline again.

This one example exemplifies a massive breakdown in communication between department processes, a mis-alignment with the company core values and a pretty lousy customer journey. Hindsight in a wonderful thing. However, it really can be used to continuously rectify, adjust and improve your systems. Questions might be thrown up such as:

  1. If there are rules to follow, you would think they would be made clear by the airport team to customers
  2. Customer services should probably talk to the finance team BEFORE approving a claim.
  3. Why do they have two claims forms on their website? Perhaps a clearer online customer journey might be needed.

Take a look at your own full-customer journey from an outsiders (or complaints) point of view.

  • Is it able to deliver according to processes that other teams may be involved in?
  • Do they know how everything works, and is that communicated clearly?
  • Does your organisation need a review of what is really happening on the ground?
  • Do you truly live up there your customer promise or do you see operational excellence as a mere statement without action?