FlightChats: Travel Context Matters to Disruption Management


We can all agree that travel is messy. Everyone has horror stories about a time when their travel plans have gone wrong. For every traveler, each element of their trip is significant to them in a large or small way so one experience of disruption can make them wary of travel.

Typically, disruptions are what people remember about travel because it’s easy to focus on the bad events. Frankly, it’s rare for a traveler to acknowledge how many times airlines and agencies get things right. It’s a constant struggle for service providers to effectively manage disruptions and support travelers throughout a journey.

More often than not, when you say “disruption” people immediately think of the big occurrences like cancellations, misconnections, hurricanes, volcanoes, etc. But it’s actually the small, seemingly insignificant delays that can have the biggest influence on a traveler’s plans and overall experience. Small delays can create major disturbances in travel and the responsibility of handling those disturbances will fall on the shoulders of the organizations keeping travelers informed. Luckily, understanding travel context can help those organizations provide a higher level of service and minimize the effects of disruption on a traveler’s experience.

In our new FlightChats video series, Meara and Robyn will talk about the larger issues of air travel. First and foremost, they’ll explore why travel context matters when managing travel disruptions.

If you’re servicing travelers, then you need to understand what really happened during a delay or disruption. A traveler buys a ticket and their flight is supposed to depart at a specific gate and time, but what if one piece of that itinerary changes?

You need to understand:

  • What just happened? Determine if it was a 20-minute delay, a gate change, etc.
  • Who did it happen to? Acknowledge who the traveler is and where they are in their journey. It matters whether they’re departing, connecting or arriving. It also matters what they plan to do before or after the flight.
  • How severely is it going to impact that trip? Assess what that disruption really means. It could mean the traveler is going to misconnect or they’re going to arrive late to a meeting when they land or it might not impact them much at all.

Understanding the severity of a disruption begins with understanding where a traveler is during their journey. But that’s just one piece of it. The other piece is understanding who needs to know about the event and when they need to know about it. What you’re really doing is not just taking information and throwing it across the wall. You’re taking a piece of information and putting it into the context of the traveler’s journey and what it means to that individual so you can be proactive.

All the different stakeholders in travel are going to have a slightly different view and a variety of needs during times of disruption. Robyn and Meara will be looking at disruption from the perspective of all those stakeholders and discussing how context can empower them to minimize the impact of disruption. Stay tuned and subscribe to our YouTube channel to watch Robyn and Meara explore travel context further in the videos to follow in this series.