Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Failure To Communicate

The weather has not been very good in Abu Dhabi in the last few days and it wreaked havoc with Etihad Airway's schedule with delays and cancellations.Happens, mother nature can be capricious if not outright bitchy sometimes.

Airlines do their best to cope. These days the use everything they can get their hands on to ease the impact of the disruption on their passengers. Not Etihad, it seems they never heard of the word "COMMUNICATE".

They can figure out ways to expand their network or provide additional services on board or on the ground. What they have failed to grasp is the need to advise their passengers of how their flights have been affected.

A quick look at their Facebook page shows several comments by passengers complaining about extensive delays but not a single entry by Etihad explaining or apologizing. These comments were later deleted. Their website is business as usual. I tried to check in on the website for my Jeddah flight back to Abu Dhabi and all I got was a message "your flight is not open for check in". 

I never got a message from them informing me there is a delay and the website did not have any message regarding these disruptions. Basically a massive failure to communicate coupled with an inadequate Emergency Response Plan (ERP). ERP is not about crashes and accidents it is also about massive disruptions and how to recover.

In all fairness the airport staff in Jeddah, were at hand and interlined some connecting passengers with other airlines to their final destinations and offered the remaining passengers food and refreshments. 

However, Etihad as an organization did not rise to the occasion and failed dismally. If you want to be credible you have to perform. All these awards don't mean a thing to passengers stranded for 9 or 10 or 11 hours. They only prove that when you have good PR you can get any award you want. 

Etihad should look at their Response Planning and how to embrace the available means to minimize disruptions and keep passengers engaged and happy.

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