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Tale of Two Airlines Memo Essay

I’m writing in regards of recommendations for service improvement. These findings are based on the McPherson complaint and the following issues have been identified. 1. Information technology and operation strategy failure for not identifying a full fare customer through the (RMS) revenue management system or (CRS) computer reservation system. This may have caused the airline to lose a loyal 10 year customer. 2. Poor service management by a failure of airline employees to coordinate standard operating protocols of inclement weather procedures. Inflight attendants failed to identify passengers with close connecting flights and notify employees at destination airport to hold flights. 3. Poor management control over gate boarding and gate closing, failure to monitor departure time schedule for flights. International flight departed ahead of scheduled time without regard to passenger list and reasons for possible passenger delays.

The following is a list of options available.

1. Establish and integrate standard operating protocol that in the event of inclement weather, management will instruct and verify that operation employees identify connecting passengers and coordinate with outbound flights. 2. Complete organizational transformations with new service standards. Taking in consideration more human factors with today’s standards in mind. This will require a fundamental change attitudes and training on behalf of management. IT managers should also take human factors more seriously than ever. 3. Prior to departure all outbound flights with missing connecting and checked-in passengers will work with operations to determine the status of missing passengers.

Recommendations for correction are as follows

1. Develop a protocol for system identification of delayed flights, inclement weather or mechanical failure, with in-flight connecting passengers to be cross checked. Having a system in place to communicate between airlines is key in this case. A study done by Jody Hoffer Gittell states, “relationships of shared goals, shared knowledge and mutual respect enable participants to connect in a meaningful way across functional and organizational boundaries–allowing them to coordinate “on the fly”.(Gittell, J. H. 2003)

Studies have also shown that a firm should be able to increase customer satisfaction which ultimately leads to a better firm performance. 2. Develop new service standards to be instituted for operations management with necessary actions to be taken to insure performance measures are met. Establish training to empower employees to take initiatives to increase satisfaction with customer service. Develop alliances with competitors in market area to use “code sharing” in the CRS to boost customer service satisfaction.

3. Improve operations strategy for gate closing procedures.

Create a project for the IS/IT department to write program into the enterprise CRS system to trigger a generated report with linkages between incoming delayed flights passenger lists and connecting flight passenger lists.

Management is to distribute the above report to the appropriate parties in order for measures per operational protocol to be instigated. Develop incentive program for a pre-determined ratio of completed transfers and connections made. Assign committee to develop and monitor outreach program to alliance competitors.

Establish mandatory adherence to scheduled gate closing departure times and pre gate closing passenger checklist. IS/IT department to develop pre gate closing checklist in system with requirement of management signature prior to closing out flight.

Assessment Criteria

Affirm successful project completion and integration into CRS system.
Track ratio of completed flight connections and establish high baseline for number of completed connections made.
Hire market research firm to conduct surveys on customer satisfaction for passengers of identified delayed flights. Assign staff to reconciliation of survey, delayed report, and completed connection report to monitor progress.

Gittell, J. H. (2003). The Southwest Airlines way: Using the power of relationships to achieve high performance. New York: McGraw-Hill.

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