Friday, April 19th, 2024

Planning for failure…


[Originally written on Sunday, just getting around to post]

This morning as I checked in to the flight the lady at the checkin desk asked me if I wanted my bags checked through to Tokyo. My answer was simple “Thanks, but I plan for failure, and Heathrow being an epicentre of failure, I think I’ll collect my case and carry it to Terminal 3 myself”. It’s a sad state of affairs that I have to do this, but I have no trust on the ability for people to execute.

I don’t know what it is with travel in the UK. I often wonder is it down to the people involved not caring, or are they just plain stupid ?

Take the train up on Friday. Get on the train at Peterborough, noticing that it isn’t the usual East Coast carriages. I then get to the seat in the reservation, only to be told by the people in the seat that due to a change of train, there are no reservations. So, let’s analyse this situation for a moment:

  • Failing 1: why not tell people on the platform via an announcement in advance, rather than create total and utter chaos by a whole load of people getting on a train looking for a set of reservations that don’t exist. I must confess that I don’t really appreciate being made to look stupid and embarrassed in front of a bunch of Durham Young Conservatives !
  • Failing 2: the complete inability to have any assistance on the train for people to help them find alternative seats. Staff non-existent (clearly didn’t want the hassle).
  • Failing 3: absolutely no backup plan in place. Okay, trains break down and alternative configurations get put in place. However, there are only a few train configurations and there should be an easily translation guide to enable reservations to be ported over. I guess this needs a degree of planning though.

As a result, I was in a really irritated mood, so had to deface the reservation ticket in a fit of rage:

Thankfully, of course, the tickets didn’t get checked.

Of course when I got to Heathrow this morning, there was a problem. In this case, total carnage at the Virgin checkin area due to the US immigration computers being down. I didn’t even bother attempting to speak to anyone, I just wandered over to the lift, pressed the doorbell for the Upper Class Limo checkin and checked in there- why bother even attempting to seek assistance in chaos when you have an alternative solution yourself.

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