SINGAPORE (Feb 12): Singapore Airlines hit some unexpected turbulence in recent weeks when it attempted to impose charges for credit card bookings for flights out of Singapore and automatically add travel insurance to tickets booked on its website unless customers specifically “opt-out”. In the face of fierce criticism, it quickly back-pedalled on both initiatives.

“We have to accept that some things may not work,” CEO Goh Choon Phong told reporters at a recent event. “We have to have a mindset change to fail fast.”

Yet, the speedy retractions are also worrying, says Aaron Wong, a management consultant who founded the travel blog The MileLion and has written extensive, analytical posts on SIA’s moves. “How quickly [the initiatives] were announced and later retracted suggests it wasn’t thought through. It’s a reflection of an organisation’s insular thinking, the fact that they seemed almost surprised by the reaction. Wouldn’t it have been the first thing they considered?”

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