Customer service at the airport again – what are Virgin like

I go to airports a lot and I often think it is a shame that I am not sharing all the exciting goings on with you when I am there (actually not a lot goes on generally).

One of the most exciting pass times you can have at the airport is to sit near the food service in the Qantas Club. Every so often the staff will come and place some party pies or small fried things at the table and men and women in business suits will surge forward to get them before they run out.  Children are squashed, friends are forgotten and people who are paying several hundred dollars for an airfare start to panic that the experience will not include a small fried thing they wouldn’t bother to cook at home.

After a short time though, a line forms and people block all avenues to any other food, scared that innocent looking passengers might turn out to be evil queue jumpers.

With this and similar experiences being the most exciting (and not very endearing) action at the airport it is no wonder that some airline staff seem bored and unenthusiastic.

But then maybe those are the staff that should look for more appropriate work in dynamic industries such as concrete quality assurance (if you doubt that is an important line of work then stop and think whenever you are on/under a bridge – how important is quality assurance to me right now).

Anyway – there are also staff who are obviously born to do the work they are doing.  I travelled on Virgin a couple of days after their complete booking system meltdown. 

I think it is safe to assume that the counter staff were having a bad week. But I also had an issue – I had a problem printing my boarding pass at home.  I didn’t think it would be an issue so I just rocked up at the airport.  But apparently Virgin IT people decided that you should only get one shot at printing and then the system will refuse to allow you to try to check in again.  This is a green friendly approach, I guess, in that it stops bad people from printing and wasting hundreds of boarding passes.  But it is also a little inconvenient.

So I went and joined a long queue of people to go and get my problem sorted out at the special problem queue. 

As we moved slowly through the queue I heard the lady at the front make a couple of announcements that could help people solve their problems without waiting.  Then when I got to the front she greeted me with a big friendly smile and apologised for their process before simply fixing my problem. 

Honestly, I think that is a pretty impressive attitude to maintain after 3 days of disaster recovery.


About James King

I coach organisations in how to better make use of the untapped talent they have in their people and to explore new ways of understanding and solving new and old problems I live in Sydney with my wife and daughter and have no real hobbies beyond the usual boring ones of reading, writing and watching tv.
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