Back in the last century, when such things were aspirational and fashionable, I was a high-flying young advertising executive. I have undoubtably been in the British Airways Executive Club more years than those runningit have been alive, and made it to the dizzy heights of Gold Card Level.
Things have changed, to state the obvious, but I still hang on in there in the club, clutching my meagre points in the hope of having a “free” glass of fizz next time I fly to the U.K. However, given the grim news on cancellations and airport chaos, I’m not sure I risk booking a flight, let alone one with BA.
What are my Executive Club friends doing, meanwhile? Sending out cheery newsletters. OK, we all need cheering up, and they must have enough data collected on me by now to be able to make some reasonable guesses about what kind of content might be the most cheering.
A recent newsletter offered me “inspirational stories from LGBTQ+ writers and explorers” as well as “luxurious and remote desert hotels.” I was invited to “take a peek at family-friendly pads” and to do the “which cabin bag is right for you” quiz and fill it with “this season’s must-have travel essentials.”
The ghastly, cliche-ridden trash journalism style is bad enough (written by AI?) but as for an attempt at empathy or customer-centricity or whatever marketers are meant to be good at? It sounds as if they are writing for a not-so-bright 12-year-old with stinking rich parents. Which I’m not.
Equally dreadful is a recent email from P&O Ferries who say: “We’d love to still be your preferred ferry operator for your next trip, and are truly passionate about showing you all that travelling by sea has to offer on board our ships.” Like heck you are. Why would I be enanmoured of a ferry operator that sacks hundreds of its staff without consultation, then replaces them with desperate people paid peanuts?
I don’t want to take transparency to extremes and know every last little detail of corporate comings and goings, but surely people can be treated like adults?
I breathed a sigh of relief when I got this from Lufthansa’s Executive Board. By no means perfect (these things never can be) but at least they are talking the right language:
|Dear Ms. Imgrund,|
Two tough years of perceived and actual grounding lie behind us in aviation. All our Lufthansa Group employees have been wishing for nothing more throughout than to finally be able to welcome you back aboard our more than 750 aircraft.
Unfortunately, however, as the Northern Hemisphere summer begins and with global travel restrictions now almost all lifted, everyone involved in aviation worldwide is reaching almost daily the limits of the resources that are currently available. And the ramp-up of the complex air transport system from almost zero to now almost 90 per cent is clearly not proceeding with the reliability, the robustness and the punctuality that we would like to offer you again.
We can only apologize to you for this. And we want to be completely honest: In the coming weeks, as passenger numbers continue to rise, be it for leisure or business travel, the situation is unlikely to improve in the short term. Too many employees and resources are still unavailable, not only at our infrastructure partners but in some of our own areas, too. Almost every company in our industry is currently recruiting new personnel, with several thousand planned in Europe alone. However, this increase in capacity will only have its desired stabilizing effect by the time winter comes.
In addition, the ongoing war in Ukraine is severely restricting available airspace in Europe. This is leading to massive bottlenecks in the skies and thus, unfortunately, to further flight delays.
In the summer of 2023, we not only expect to have a much more reliable air transport system worldwide. We will be welcoming you back on board our Airbus A380s, too. We decided today to put the A380, which continues to enjoy great popularity, back into service at Lufthansa in summer 2023. In addition to this, we are further strengthening and modernizing our fleets with some 50 new Airbus A350, Boeing 787 and Boeing 777-9 long-haul aircraft and more than 60 new Airbus A320/321s in the next three years alone.
We promise you that our more than 100,000 Lufthansa Group employees will be doing everything humanly possible to provide you with the best possible air travel experience in the coming weeks, even under the current difficult circumstances. And they will be doing all this with a commitment that deserves the highest respect, not only from us on our Group Executive Board.
So on behalf of all our employees, I sincerely hope that you feel very welcome on board after your return, which is something we have all been keenly awaiting. We thank you for your loyalty; and we hope we may count on your understanding, too, should your journey not yet go quite as expected or planned.
We are doing our utmost to again offer you the quality, the punctuality and the reliability that you can rightly expect from your Lufthansa Group airlines as soon as we possibly can.
Stay with us.