Teachable Moment - the Saga of United Flight 996

By Marjorie Silverman Honorary President, UICH, Les Clefs d'Or | August 09, 2010

How do you recover as a service organization when everything that could possibly go wrong, does? I had a recent experience with United Airlines where I spent six hours on a plane to fly from Newark to Chicago and I was actually almost grateful to have done so! As a service professional, I became fascinated with the way the captain and the customer relations department handled the situation each step of the way. It was a textbook example of Service Recovery that made me marvel at how well it was executed.

The sequence of events:

1st delay-Late arrival of aircraft

August 2, 2009 was a cloudy, rainy day at Newark Liberty Airport at 9:15 AM, approximately 1 1/2 hours before flight time. Scheduled to depart at 10:46 AM, United 996 was showing an on time departure. The aircraft appeared to arrive a bit late and so we boarded at about 10:50AM or approximately at the time we were supposed to depart. Not at all an unusual occurrence these days.

2nd delay-Mechanical problem

We pushed back from the gate, did the safety review and then the captain made an announcement. They had discovered in their preflight check that there was a mechanical problem which had been fixed but airline rules demanded that a mechanic complete some paper work and we could not taxi to the runway until this paper work was filed-he estimated that it would take 20 minutes to an hour. He apologized for the delay.

Choose a Social Network!

The social network you are looking for is not available.

Close

Hotel Newswire Headlines Feed  

Michael Coughlin
Michael Koethner
Robert King
Thomas E. Pastore
Ken Hutcheson
John Ely
Bob Dauner
Tema Frank
Arthur Weissman
Dennis M. Baker
Coming up in May 2019...

Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.