I wanted to take this chance to reach out to you and hear your opinions about your experiences with flight delays and the customer service process.
As part of a student’s senior year at Northeastern University, the students must complete a Capstone Design project. This project is considered as a culmination of our knowledge in the area of our studies, as it integrates classroom knowledge with real world problems. For industrial engineers, it is an eight-month effort in which groups of seniors are “sponsored” by various companies/organizations.
Our group is interested in the aviation industry’s operations and bettering it for the customers — whether that be from the customer’s perspective or from the back end. One of the areas that we are particularly interested is in schedule optimization and potential automation of assigning customers to an alternate route when there is a disruption in the schedule. For example, when a plane is delayed due to weather reasons, how is this message communicated to the customers? If this delay causes passengers to miss their connections, what is the process? What happens if the delay occurs while in flight and the customers do not have access to resources to reschedule their itinerary?
We are hoping to improve the process when a plane is delayed. A contact of ours at US Air said that there are currently no systems in place that allow for customer friendly automatic rescheduling. There are a variety of ways that people reschedule their flights. Some have smart phones and are able to rebook a flight right from their phones. Others go to the customer service desk and look for help. My dad has found that the fastest way to get service is typically through calling the customer service desk. Phone calls often get priority over in person requests; in fact, he has been helped while being on the phone and in view of the person who was helping him. My friend’s flight from Japan was once delayed in the U.S. due to weather reasons and caused him to miss his connecting flight — he called the Japan customer service and was helped right away!
What do you do when you miss your connecting flight?
What would you think about being able to receive a text message with your new flight details in it?