In the Trenches: Crisis Mode
By now, you’ve undoubtedly heard about the Asiana Airlines crash landing at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) on July 6. Although the news didn’t affect many small businesses, it had a huge impact on ours, as well as others in the travel industry. You see, anytime there’s a crisis at a major world airport, it’s bound to cause big travel disruptions — and that means our clients are often directly affected.
As soon as I heard about the accident on Saturday, I turned on the TV and went online to get details. Then I checked our client calendar to see how many people were flying to or from SFO. I already knew about one client, because she’d emailed us from Costa Rica to figure out how she was going to get home that day. It turns out that she was the only client we had routed to SFO that day, so we focused on helping her.
The concierge assigned to her itinerary was on top of the situation and found alternate flights for her. In the meantime, I manned the phone as we received calls from new and returning clients looking for help with their trips. I also took to Twitter, where I could share what information I had. Twitter proved to be an excellent source of news from reliable sources, but it was also rife with rumors. With more than 125,000 followers, I figured at least some people would be looking for me to share the facts I could verify.
Once things calmed down, the reality set in that SFO was a mess (as in experiencing major delays and cancellations). That’s when I took a look at our clients’ upcoming travel plans and contacted the whole Cranky Concierge team. I asked each concierge to reach out to any clients who would be traveling in or out of SFO this week to let them know that we were monitoring the situation and available to help.
After that, all we could do was stay on top of the news and be ready to react if further developments meant we needed to redirect our clients to other airports. This was far from a relaxing holiday weekend, but we were able to help people in a very trying time. And that’s what we’re here for!
Brett Snyder is President and Chief Airline Dork of Cranky Concierge air travel assistance. Snyder previously worked for several airlines, including America West and United, before leaving to create a travel search site for PriceGrabber.com. Snyder did his undergrad at George Washington and earned his MBA from Stanford.