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UA negligence reaches new high, kills Golden Retriever

September 23rd, 2012

Kinny Cheng

Maggie Rizer, Bea’s owner, spells out her first-hand experience:

“When we arrived in San Francisco to pick up our dogs we drove to the dark cargo terminal and on arrival in the hanger were told simply, “one of them is dead” by the emotionless worker who seemed more interested in his text messages.  It took thirty minutes for a supervisor to come to tell us, “it was the two year old.”  Subsequently we requested that our dog be returned to us and were told that she had been delivered to a local vet for an autopsy. Whatever thread of trust remained between us and United broke and we then insisted that she be returned to us for our own autopsy by our trusted veterinarian, Shann Ikezawa, DVM from Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center. Over the next two hours the supervisor’s lie unraveled as it became clear that Bea was right behind a closed door the whole time and he had been discussing how to handle the potential liability with his boss who had left and sticking to the divert and stall tactic that they had been taught. Eventually Bea was returned and we drove her to the vet at midnight.”

It’s a worthwhile read describing just how shamelessly incompetent the many workers at United Airlines truly are. At the same time, it sickens me to learn of the seriously-poor attitude being adopted to address this sensitive situation.

This is one side of the story. Yet, given how United has the rather-unusual core competency of consistently screwing with their customers (they lost a kid last time), it’s hard not to pass down judgement on the airline.

Such an ungodly event makes (the typical) lost bags and flight delays seem like absolutely nothing at all.

Service with a smile (or not)…

September 18th, 2012

Kinny Cheng

Benet Wilson, writing for The APEX Editor’s Blog:

“Today it’s not unusual for travellers to complain about air travel, but flight attendants often unfairly bear the brunt of the blame for a perceived lack of customer service and civility in the skies.”

Okay, fair enough.

But good attitude and, more specifically, manners have also suffered due to cultural shifts over recent years. This has much relevance to the argument, but a conversation for another time perhaps.

Maybe those of us expecting a basic level of respect from airline employees are unrealistic? Or are we expected to have to pay for good manners to be presented?

Seriously. Come on.

Finnair, an executive summary.

September 18th, 2012

Kinny Cheng

Paul Eden, writing for The APEX Blog:

“That’s why Finnair has founded its business on providing an exceptional customer experience, both on the ground in its award-winning lounges and in the air. All the while, the carrier has maintained a strong environmental stewardship.”

Finnair is a very interesting airline — one with a lot of potential for positive growth, with the biggest hinderance being environmental considerations (i.e. the global economy) which is affecting its ability to truly bloom.

It’s quite a long read. But if you’re into airlines and/or the passenger experience, then this piece is worth your time to go through. Bed-time literature, if you must.


A personal side note: I was personally been involved with some of their marketing efforts, specifically with the Quality Hunters project — an initiative by Finnair and Helsinki Airport working towards the common goal of upping the ante on the quality passenger experience. It felt like a virtual think-tank, especially when the discussions (amongst the participants, on Twitter) reached their ideal peak. I’m pretty sure everyone took something away from this enlightening experience.


“Airplane: another technical gadget”

September 18th, 2012

Kinny Cheng

Finnair’s Jussi Ekman:

“One of the challenges of being a pilot when something is not working as it should, is that you cannot just park your plane on a cloud for further investigations and democratic decision-making.”

Put(s) your mind — and heart — at ease.

All roads lead to in-flight connectivity.

September 18th, 2012

Kinny Cheng

Flightglobal’s Kristin Majcher:

“Only about 16% of the world’s global commercial fleet in 2012 provides passengers with connectivity, according to a recent market report from UK-based consultancy IMDC. That number is expected to grow to 23% in 2016, or about 4,000 aircraft, says the firm.”

The trend is very real.

A great piece of reporting that includes a general overview of the infrastructural providers, their capabilities, and the in-the-air Internet service providers bringing us — the consumers — this accessibility.

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