By Doug Baarman
Every time I fly (which in the meetings and events industry is often), I am amazed with the overall flying experience and our challenge with making improvements.
On a recent flight, I read an article about the ’85 Things That Have Made Travel Better’. There have been some great improvements: online ticketing and check-in, kiosks for check-in, mobile boarding passes and inflight Wi-Fi. During this same period, there have been many improvements in the meetings and events industry. We have enhanced the overall food and beverage experience, hotel lobbies are now great rooms, the beds are more comfortable, wireless connectivity and in-room entertainment is becoming better and less expensive.
My observation is that in spite of all these improvements, the airlines still make the boarding process a tense period of time that frustrates their passengers before they even start their flight. My favorite part is when you are boarding in group one and are still the 150th person to get on the plane after; first class, preferred, gold, silver, bronze, almost preferred, soon to be preferred, friends and family of the airline, etc. In addition, depending on which group you are in dictates which side of the stanchion you are allowed to use. It reminds me of a scene from the movie ‘Meet The Parents’ when Ben Stiller is the only person in the boarding area and is still not allowed to board the plane because his specific row has not been called.
The practice of boarding in groups was supposed to make it more orderly and speed up the process. By letting all these other individuals on regardless of where they are sitting, now makes the process take far longer and makes the situation on the plane more chaotic. With all of our technological advances today, we should be able to make this a simple, quick and pain free process.
Who is doing it right?