THINKING BUSINESS
a blog by Chris Barrow

Bad Business

Commiserations to Aer Lingus for having systems that get in the way of good business. Its 27th December and I am driving from Falmouth to Manchester with Annie. I’m about to visit with my kids and Annie is due to board a flight to Dublin and spend a few days with her best friend, who has just given birth to a girl. Annie and Clare haven’t seen each other for a year and so it will be an exciting trip. We have a 350-mile drive to the airport – and it all goes swimmingly until 35 miles away, when the M6 just clogs up with post-Christmas traffic and we are stationary and watching the clock ago around faster then my wheel rims. After some cross-country rallying, I arrive at the Ryan Air check-in desk just 15 minutes late but I know the rules – there is NO CHANCE that we will get her on the flight. Choices:

  1. pay a £75 re-booking fee to get her on the 9.30pm flight that evening or

  2. find another carrier to Dublin earlier that day.

The people at the Servisair desk are very helpful and tell us that the only other flight to Dublin is with Aer Lingus at 7.25pm.

That’s 2 hours earlier and might save Clare a later drive to the airport.

Its Christmas and there is no ticketing office open – so I call Aer Lingus telephone bookings and speak to a nice chap in a call-centre who tells me that I can buy a one-way ticket on the 7.25pm flight – for only £247 including taxes.

I explain that I can get a flight 2 hours later for £75 – does he want the business?

No he does not want the business – what he wants is to press the correct buttons on his computer.

What would I have paid? Probably up to £100 – but he is not able to or interested in negotiating.

Rules are rules – and rules are what break businesses in a slump.

The cost of booking Annie on the earlier flight would have been negligible – and Aer Lingus would have been £100 better off – but I bet they don’t give a damn.

Here’s a question – do your staff have the option of making sensible decisions when they fly in the face of rules?

Needless to say – it was the 9.30pm flight that took Annie to her destination – and I hear that all is well in Dublin and the baby is a peach.

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