Yesterday, I had a scheduled flight at 18:15 from Barcelona back home.
I got to the airport in good time. No rushing around… calmly made my way through security, managed to pick up a cup of tea in the waiting area and made my way to the gate when it was announced.
Only thing – the flight was cancelled.
You can imagine the calmness went out of the window and years of doing FMEA’s (Failure Mode Effect Analysis) in my head of these type of situations made me prepared.
So walks out the pilot…
Along the lines of… “Ladies and Gentleman, we have just inspected the plane, and noticed there was something not right – by that I mean there was some damage. I’ve just sent the information to Heathrow – and they’ll get back to me”
Questions from the public were – “how long do we wait? what are the alternatives? how bad is the damage?, etc…
The Pilot’s phone rings – and then he shares some more information..
“Okay.. Heathrow have said it’s not safe to fly with that damage. I do apologise. I know you all want to get home, and we’ll ensure everyone is taken care off – there’s a few folk at the desk that will help you either catch a later flight and or look at other options”
The possibility of staying in the airport begins to dawn on me.
As the pilot is walking away, a number of folk are asking all sorts of questions to him…
“I know it’s not something you wanted to hear. But some news is better than no news”.
Imagine being stood there for hours, and not knowing what is going on. We were originally informed the flight was delayed.
To a) receive this information – that the plane is damaged and unable to fly – we straight away have a clear reason immediately to why it’s cancelled (and safety first – I want to get home… alive), and b) we have people to help re-arrange flights, and ensure that everyone, at some point, will be on a flight home – therefore we have options.
I liked the way this was handled by the Pilot – not sure if this is British Airways policy, that the Pilot comes and talks to the passengers or it was this individual that took on the accountability and responsibility to inform passengers.
Either way – Many of the passengers felt slightly better because they knew why it was cancelled and they knew they had options.
And that’s what we needed, to allow us, move quickly through the change curve…
It’s these stages that can sometimes not appear… take too long… or not be handled correctly, that allow us to stay in either Denial or Anger… the quicker we get to exploring options and acceptance, the better.
Things will go wrong… I believe we all know that… and from time to time, something can happen out of our control… but ensuring we have 1. Information and 2. Support – then we can start to look to the future, quicker.