Continue reading this on our app for a better experience

Open in App
Home Views Commentary

How to handle a flight delay

The Edge Singapore
The Edge Singapore • 4 min read
How to handle a flight delay
SINGAPORE (Jan 21): Things did not go smoothly for Scoot and hundreds of its passengers over the recent holidays. The budget carrier and its aircraft — relatively new Dreamliners — were beset with issues that caused interminable delays for travellers.
Font Resizer
Share to Whatsapp
Share to Facebook
Share to LinkedIn
Scroll to top
Follow us on Facebook and join our Telegram channel for the latest updates.

SINGAPORE (Jan 21): Things did not go smoothly for Scoot and hundreds of its passengers over the recent holidays. The budget carrier and its aircraft — relatively new Dreamliners — were beset with issues that caused interminable delays for travellers.

The most egregious was probably the 56-hour delay out of Athens in December that Scoot passengers had to endure. Three hundred and twenty-one of them were moved on and off the plane repeatedly as one issue after another prevented the flight from departing. Not long after, passengers on another B787, which was departing Taipei, reached Singapore two days later than expected.

It would not be surprising if many of the affected travellers were vowing, “Never again, Scoot.”

But while the aircrafts’ technical problems and the delays are cause for concern and an inconvenience, the main reason for the passengers’ anger is how they were treated. Travellers were informed of the delays only when they were already checked in, waiting at the departure gate, or on the plane. On a recent Perth-Singapore flight, the departure board was flashing “Now Boarding” even though the aircraft had just arrived and was deplaning passengers.

Being informed of delays so late results in travellers waiting for hours in crowded departure lounges. Newspaper reports have detailed complaints about the lack of information, the chaos at departure airports and passengers being left without food or drink. When emotions run high, it is to the detriment of the airline and its business.

The lack of information or communication in this day and age is indefensible. The aviation industry runs on data, data analytics, and communications. Aircraft are finely tuned, and cutting-edge technology is constantly feeding information to maintenance systems and crews. Also, airlines have access to software and tools for managing operational processes and timings. Separately, emails, text messages, phone calls and mobile apps can be used to inform passengers of delays even before they set off for the airport.

Customer service is also crucial for a company that operates in such a competitive environment. The passengers stranded at the airport in Athens complained about not being able to speak to any Scoot staff directly for help.

All this becomes especially unacceptable when one takes into account the fact that Scoot is part of the Singapore Airlines group, a carrier that prides itself on service. In fact, SIA recently showed just how a flight delay should be handled.

Last August, a Xiamen Air jet overshot the runway in Manila in heavy rain, disrupting other flights out of the airport. At Changi Airport in Singapore, SIA passengers waiting for their flight to Manila were informed of the delay soon after. They were then offered food and drinks, and one of the airline’s managers continued to provide updates on the situation. Subsequently, the passengers were given five-star accommodation for the night and taxi service between the airport and hotel.

Scoot has apologised for how it handled the delays. “We... are looking into all our processes to see where we can improve, including communication gaps to customers,” it said when asked for a response.

Yet another airline showed how to tackle a flight delay, using timely and effective communication. Also in August last year, a ­Delta Air Lines customer was pleasantly surprised by the carrier’s proactive response to a flight delay. As Mark Ostermann detailed on a travel blog, Delta informed him of the change four hours before departure and proceeded to offer him options, via its app, to reschedule his flight at no charge. “It’s a brilliant move on Delta’s part since giving people options makes them feel better about their situation,” Ostermann says.

Perhaps the business units in SIA should work less as separate entities and more as a group to handle delays, and to make the next one less painful for passengers.

×
Loading next article...
The Edge Singapore
Download The Edge Singapore App
Google playApple store play
Keep updated
Follow our social media
© 2024 The Edge Publishing Pte Ltd. All rights reserved.