Monday, 8 June 2015

American Airlines Gets Sued for $2.5 millions As Special Assistance Rules Come to Naught

It was only a few days back that i had written about the need for training the airline crew and staff away from rule-book and making them more sensitive towards the needs of passengers so that the need does not arise for the carrier to tender apologies in its aftermath. Another shocking incident has happened again. This time it is with the American Airlines and the passenger is a wheelchair-bound women. When it comes to providing services to passengers in need of special assistance, especially the disabled people, almost all airlines require these passengers to inform them well in advance. And, this woman also did precisely the same. So, when there was information with the carrier beforehand, the required service was not provided in time to the woman, forcing her to crawl humiliatingly in front of so many people to move into the cabin. How many of these onlookers came to her help is another issue, but is it not a very serious breach of duty for AA? Was it a rare miss or a callousness in attitude of the staff that they failed to get the ramp.
American Airlines special assistance rules have provision of providing the wheelchairs at airports and inside the cabins. These also permit you to carry your own wheelchairs right till the gate of cabin and then check these in at no additional cost. It also seeks to provide priority check in for these passengers so that there is a minimal discomfort to passengers. AA also requires passengers to disclose their special assistance needs at least 24 hours before scheduled departure of flights in domestic sector and at least 72 hours before scheduled departure in case of international flights. This woman, Theresa Purcell provided this information well in advance of her flight.
While the airline has apologised for this incident, they are not likely to make any compensation to Ms Purcell, even though it is clear that the discomfort was caused to passenger due to negligence of the staff. It is also a violation of Air Carrier Access Act. Ms Purcell has brought out a legal case against the carrier and asked for compensation of $2.5 million. 

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Whats Wrong With the Airline Services?

Airlines services are considered to be one of the finest in hospitality industry. In fact, it is the factor of treatment of passengers in hands of cabin crew which defines whether passengers will be flying with the same carrier again or not.
In the past 6 months, we have come across a number of incidents where the airlines have been very rude to treat the passengers who had deserved a more humanely treatments. These incidents has particularly been related to women and kids and diseased people. While one of the carriers did not let a mother take her breast pump as hand baggage which would have fed her infant, the other breastfeeding mom was subject to public embarrassment and humiliation in the cabin by the crew. As if these incidents were not to learn lessons from, there came another incident in which a mother and her toddler were asked to deplane simply because the toddler would not stop crying!
There have been instances in the past as well where the fellow passengers have complained of the infants and toddlers crying on the planes which causes them to lose sleep, the recent incidents highlight that carriers, while going by the rule book, inevitably turn up being rude and inhumane. What follows afterwards is a barrage of apologies and, in some cases, the amendment of the rule books also happens so that these incidents can be avoided in future. But, this leaves a basic question. Can’t the crew be trained in advance to take the right decision in the wake of any out-of-the-book development? Is there a training gap?
While it is true that training can not be imparted as future might throw up unforeseen events, this is also a fact these matters of sensitivity did not warrant such a response which the carriers came up with. A little more sensitive considerations could have avoided these issues.

Monday, 1 June 2015

IndiGo Beware- Spicejet Turns Profitable As Turnaround Begins to Show Results

The last seven quarters for which SpiceJet has been continuously running into losses might have been the most difficult times of its history. The awful story of loss making has seen an end in this quarter ending March 2015. The carrier has reported profit of Rs 225.2 millions. Return to profits has been due to a number of stringent measures taken by the carrier by cutting down on unprofitable routes, reducing its fleet size and bringing in measures to control the costs besides offering customers more attractive options to fly with it. The carrier also saw a change of hands from the Marans quitting the field in favour of Ajay Singh, the new mentor who also infused fresh equity to ward off the creditors and make the turnaround a possibility.
With IndiGo the only player that commands respect for its operations and no other LCC close to it, there is space for another player like Spicejet to make its presence in Indian aviation sector which is fast growing. Last year, the same quarter results in Rs 3.22 bn of losses for the carrier though it catered to about 19 percent of the Indian market. In the current quarter the market share has plummeted to less than 10 percent since the carrier had to cut the size of its fleet and move away from many sectors of travel. Ajay Singh is likely go for another round of funding which it is likely to use for rebuilding the feel and gain more customers.

With the reporting of profits, eyes would again be set on the moves of the carrier as it limps back to health.