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Monday, June 22, 2009

The Demise of Quality - My Wife's Friend, British Airways and Air France

I was vacuuming the living room last evening, when my wife told me that her friend arrived safely in Egypt after a long flight from Washington with a connection in London. She then added that her 10 year old son is walking around in his swimsuit at home and her friend is wearing some old maternity clothes she had from a decade ago. I asked my wife "Did they lost their luggage?", she replied that no a single bag of the eight pieces her friend and her three kids had arrived.

It has been two days since my wife's friend family had arrived on board British Airways with no luggage. I mentioned to my wife that her friend should request a compensation of some sort, may $100 per passenger, so they can use this modest pocket money to go buy some clothes until their bags appear. My wife's response was "we are thankful that they arrived safely". Well, yes of course compared to Air France's latest flight that plunged in the Atlantic, the losses and inconvenience is minimal, and one should always be thankful, regardless of what one goes through". The point however is that the passenger's (customer) expectation is be transported safely along with his luggage from point A to point B. If customer's start changing their expectations, quality will automatically by definition change.

An attorney would seize the opportunity and ask the passenger to file a suit against the airline asking for some ridiculous amount of money as a compensation for damages. Maybe $1 million dollars per lost bag, or the highest that the court will allow. We have various mindsets of customers when it comes to settling disputes with a service provider. At one extreme a client will say no problem, just get me my bags if you can, when you can. On another extreme another customer will say meet me at court, and then there are infinite of perspectives in between.

What would you do? What would a good system's engineer do? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

1 comment:

Arif Kabir said...

I would call the company and tell them in a polite but firm voice that I lost my luggage and am very disappointed and hope that this does not happen in the future. I will follow up every three days or so, and if things are not working out, then go to higher levels of management and see what I can do

Wallahu A'lam