There have been a lot of complaints lately about airlines having incredibly long phone hold times. Most airlines simply say “tough luck,” while one Canadian airline is shutting off its phones for the weekend.
Flair Airlines turns off phones, apologizes
Flair Airlines is a fast growing Canadian ultra low cost carrier. At the beginning of the year, the airline only had a few planes, while this year the Edmonton-based carrier is taking delivery of 13 Boeing 737 MAXs, so the growth rate we’re seeing is incredible.
It seems that Flair Airlines is struggling to respond to customer enquiries in a timely manner, so the company is taking an unconventional approach. Through Monday, July 19, 2021, Flair Airlines won’t answer phones, as the company instead focuses on the backlog of customer enquiries, and on tripling the size of its customer service staff.
As Flair Airlines Chief Commercial Officer, Garth Lund, describes this:
Demand for Flair flights has returned stronger than ever. We are thrilled that Canadians are choosing Flair and it is our privilege to make travel affordable for so many. As a result of this increased demand, we are currently experiencing extremely high call volumes.
In order to address all customer enquiries and catch up on the backlog, we have temporarily closed our phone lines until Monday. We are very sorry for this. Our current customer experience is not what you deserve, and not what we strive for. While our lines are temporarily closed please visit flyflair.com/contact-us and fill out the request form, this is the quickest way to reach us.
To address this, we are currently training new team members to triple the size of our customer care team and we are also working to provide more digital self-serve options. Through these efforts, we will be able to open our phones again on Monday.
Thank you for your patience during this difficult time, we will rise and meet this moment to provide you with the customer care that you deserve.
This is oddly refreshing…
On the one hand, it seems totally ridiculous for an airline to simply disconnect its phone lines for three days, especially as people are continuing to travel, and may need to rebook. At the same time, there’s something about this approach that I kind of appreciate:
- The airline is acknowledging that customers aren’t getting the service that they deserve, and is apologizing
- The company is focusing on responding to existing customer enquiries, rather than continuing to take new enquiries while others aren’t dealt with
- Concrete steps are being taken to solve this issue, by additional support staff currently being trained
Many airlines have been struggling with staffing during the pandemic, whether it’s due to the need for people to constantly change tickets, or airlines laying off too many staff, and then seeing a sudden increase in demand. In the case of Flair Airlines, there’s the added challenge of the airline growing at a fast pace while all of this is happening.
Flair Airlines is struggling with phone hold times, and the company’s solution is to disconnect phones for the weekend. The airline will spend the next few days focused on responding to existing customer enquiries, and training new staff.
While this is no doubt an inconvenience for those traveling in the coming days, here’s to hoping that this proves beneficial in the long run.
What do you make of Flair Airlines’ approach to handling its customer service issues?