Blog: Politeness and openness

I have been following the aviation sector developments very closely over the years and seem to understand their nuances much better. Despite all their PR efforts and focus on efficiency, a single incident of a technical glitch to an aircraft at the 11th hour can cause enormous harm to its reputation.
Despite occasional reports of air crashes, aviation sector continues to be safest mode of transport, amid reports of fatal road accidents. Problem for the airline industry is that they just cannot take any chances even if the glitch is minor and something which could be looked after once that aircraft returns to the hub following a single or return journey. Also, airlines may not have a spare aircraft to transfer the passengers.
Passengers onboard are always spoilt for choices and what they expect is the value for money. There may be passengers who may be not able to afford even an hour’s delay for emergency or business reasons.
It is here that the airline’s ground staff should be trained to handle such situations responsibly. Some passengers may be sympathetic because there can be a bad day for anyone. Others may not care as no airlines give tickets to individuals on credit. Some passengers may have opted for this particular airline for its on-time performances, onboard and ground services. The best method for the airlines is to communicate more with some openness.
Mindful of bad publicity, the airlines often give misleading or cooked up information, which annoys the passengers as they feel of being taken for granted.
Giving too much details could be counterproductive but some polite interactions and sharing of few details with passengers can help save the situation with minimum damage.

(the author is online editor at omanoberver.om)