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Empty promises

An exemplary of a bromide.

Bruno Pešec
Bruno Pešec
2 min read
Empty promises

So it says on the website of a major European airline.

Yes, all in caps-lock.

Here is how they made my life easier last week:

  • Ten minutes before landing at our destination (the city was right below), the pilot informed us that the fire alarm system has malfunctioned.
  • He assured us that it is merely the alarm system that isn't working, that there is no fire, and that we are safe.
  • He went on to explain we are turning around and heading to Copenhagen because their company doesn't have a maintenance crew at our destination, which would leave him, the crew, and airplane "stuck" there.
  • The pilot flew back at the higher speed, ensuring we really feel all those air pockets and sweet, sweet turbulences. By now several people on the plane were crying and showing signs of great distress.
  • Upon landing in Copenhagen we were politely directed to find the transfer center.
  • There we were given boarding passes for the next day, hotel, and metro. Alternative solutions for getting us to our destination were turned down.
  • They selected the cheapest hotel in the area. Dried blood stains, unfamiliar hairs, and refusal to dine at the local restaurant were part of the deal. "The carrier has arranged such rooms and a buffet dinner. No, we cannot accommodate any dietary requirements." Overcooked penne, canned tomato sauce, and rotten lettuce was the buffet. There were some other unidentifiable objects as well.
  • Next day land crews seemingly were informed of our new flight. We were stopped at every point because our new boarding passes had the yesterday's date. Luckily everyone took their time to listen to us and could verify our situation by giving a call to someone.
  • Our liquid gifts were taken away at the security, despite the airline's assurances that wouldn't be the case due to our situation. I suspected that would be the case, so I'm not sure why were the transfer agents telling me otherwise the day before.
  • Once we finally boarded on the new flight, we had to wait nearly for an hour. Since the flight wasn't put in the system land crews had forgotten about us. Several times.

The issue isn't that they prioritised profits and their crew over the passengers. The issue is that they broke their brand promise. That is what causes grief and annoyance, and damages the trust in the brand.

For example, I'd expect above experience from a low-cost airline (minus all the accommodation—they'd probably just refund us all and wish us good luck). But that'd be on-brand for them.

Visions, mission statements, values—all of them mean little if they aren't backed by actions. After all, that is what customers reward with their hard earned money.

Customer ExperiencePersonal

Bruno Pešec

I help business leaders innovate profitably at scale.


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