It Is Great To Have All The Technology To Make Our Lives Better Also In Travel, But This Must Have Human Supervision!
Once upon a time, there was an airline. A great one! It had great staff, it had great product, it had modern aircrafts. And it delivered. It’s name was Varig!
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Varig was not only an airline! It was the Ambassador (or Ambassatrice) of Brazil! It was Brazil’s commercial support office abroad, just as important, and, in some cases, in perfect coordination with Brazil Embassies or Consulates abroad!
Varig knew where the business was in each country they had a representation office (their own by the way). In London, Frankfurt, Paris, Düsseldorf, … in Tokyo, New York or L.A., each Varig representation was a place where you could get information about the local market. It was much more than an airline. Dedicated, competent and intelligent employees! They did a great job!
Unfortunately Varig could not survive in this “low cost” business. The job done by Varig had a cost! A cost acknowledged as strategic for many governments! Unfortunately it was not the case of ours, at that time, for whichever reasons!
At Varig we used to call their group department a week before the arrival of a group coming from Germany, or Austria, or Japan to find out about this group’s route! Their system could tell us everything about a group. Once you identified yourself and the Varig colleague on the other side of the line knew who you were! Sometimes we found reservation mistakes and prevented lots of problems.
Now a days the airlines say they have lots of restrictions and cannot offer any service like this. They do not care. (“We Don’t Care”): this is what I heard at the check in of an airline, trying to make a group check in as not to create havoc in a domestic airport!
Now a days a group arrives at an airport and each passenger makes his check in individually, by just giving his name! The airlines don’t have the need to give anyone special treatment or even to find someone’s reservation by name in the system. In many cases the staff do not know how to do it! If the system doesn’t find your name, for any reason, you have a problem, if you don’t have a “filekey” in hands, or a ticket number!.
For this reason my suggestion, whenever you prepare a client itinerary, do not forget to include something like “filekeys” (the reservation code) and ticket-number (or electronic ticket number). It is very important in case the airline system “breaks-down”and doesn’t find passengers name! It may spare you or your passengers lots of problems!
A Travel Product can be digital, but it needs human supervision, at least for when the system doesn’t work. And these humans must know how to work off system.
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