The numbers don’t lie: travel is coming back. More than 1.8 million travelers went through TSA checkpoints on September 27, 2021, compared to less than 800,000 on the same day in 2020. COVID-19 cases are rising around the world, though, and health and safety mandates continue to impact travel. And, unpredictable weather and natural disasters also continue to impact flight operations. All of these factors can make it more difficult for airlines to manage passenger disruptions without the right tools and support in place.
Here are 5 steps airline companies can take to manage passenger disruptions for a smoother experience.
1. Have a plan in place for the unexpected.
Airline disruptions trigger a series of downstream effects that impact an airline’s entire system, causing stranded aircraft and crew in out-of-position locations. These disruptions also break the trust travelers put in their carriers to get them to their final destination safely and on time. It is essential for airlines to have a strategy in place with the right supporting technology to ensure that passenger disruptions do not become a trapdoor in their efforts to ensure a positive customer experience at every touchpoint along the traveler journey.
2. Leverage automation for speed and efficiency.
Airlines can use artificial intelligence to transform workflows traditionally handled by customer service agents. A rules-driven, automated process during irregular operations can accommodate a plane full of distressed passengers in 15 minutes or less. This new, innovative approach is fundamentally changing the way airlines handle irregular operations, improving the passenger experience, and saving your airline serious money.
3. Engage and empower travelers with self-service options.
Airlines can maintain regular communications with passengers and give them control over their disruption experience using self-service capabilities. This eliminates the need to stand in line at a reaccommodation desk. Passengers are empowered to quickly secure hotel, meal and transportation options through their mobile device. Self-service options also coordinate all backend processes for seamless alignment, so there’s no more standing around.
4. Reduce stress and pressure on your customer service team.
During a disruption, everyone is fighting for the same hotel rooms and ground transportation options. Customer service agents do not have time to negotiate with providers when facing a long line of frustrated passengers waiting to find out what their next travel step is. The right technology can manage the disruption via automation based on an airline’s contractual agreements and business rules to complete the workflows without the need for human intervention. This frees up your agents to attend to the most urgent matters and high-value passengers.
5. Focus on delivering an exceptional customer experience.
The days of angry passengers standing in long lines waiting for a paper voucher, frustrated with the airline’s agents, and finding themselves with nowhere to sleep and, often, nothing to eat for hours on end, are gone. By applying artificial intelligence to existing airline disruption procedures, airlines can alleviate unnecessary pressure from their agents and ensure a better, faster outcome for both airline employees and passengers.
Here’s how TA Connections can help.
By partnering with TA Connections, you can gain access to innovative technology, a strengthened hotel network, and global travel experts with years of experience to make it easy to manage passenger disruptions.
● Hotel network and purchasing power: TA Connections clients can take advantage of our combined FLEETCOR Lodging purchasing power of almost 30 million annual room nights booked - leveraging time, control, and rate savings. Our experts work jointly with our hotel suppliers to provide seamless operations and service for crews and distressed passengers.
● Contactless vouchers: TA Connections offers paperless voucher technology, which helps passengers and agents avoid frustrating lines and wait times. Travelers can instantly redeem electronic vouchers from their own device to book hotel rooms, transportation, and access meal vouchers.
● Unparalleled global support: TA Connections members receive stability and support of a large and growing enterprise. Our services and expertise expanded through our recent merge, and we continue to give our members access to 24/7 global support, 365 days a year.