People, bags and planes

Posted by on Jul 9, 2008 in Uncategorized | One Comment

Just in time for the holiday season, the incredibly poor performance of Heathrow airport (esp. Terminal 5) at getting people, bags and planes to the same space-time co-ordinates is once more in the news here in London.

A House of Commons Committee learned today that c 1000 bags still manage to go astray at T5 each day…

Having had airlines/airports lose my bag more than a few times (including an Easyjet check-in staff member who didn’t tag the bag), I know how annoying this can be. Always reminds me of what Neilan says: 

it’s not like they’re a bunch of florists, doing this for the first time…hoping to cover up mistakes with some white lilies…no, schlepping people, bags and planes to the same place at the same time is the airline business!

Whatever else they do, airlines and airports are supposed to do this. And just this. Forget the shops and the lounges and the parking scams.

Yet, like so many other businesses they choose to pretend that technology (computerised systems) and pseudo-technology (new business processes) will make performance better (think about the NHS computer system as an example) when the truth is – less glamorously but nonetheless obviously – staring them in the face: it’s the people in their own businesses who are the means to deliver higher performance. Southwest have done it again and again – it’s the only airline case study that every manager today has read (and rightly so)

Stelios knows it. Colleen knows it. You and I know it. So why do we always go for the tech solution first? Think Neilan’s right. It’s the lilies…

1 Comment

  1. Cindy King
    July 12, 2008

    I read through quickly and thought, 1000 a day for LHR, no big deal. Re-read and saw this was only on T5. Very impressive that they are getting any though at all.