Sunday, March 09, 2008

Cancelled (or, why new paradigms aren't always good ideas)

I'm sitting at home when I should be sitting in Columbus, OH. (Note the useless boarding pass in the photo).

I booked a very cheap ticket on the much ballyhooed "internet only" (those being the two key words) airline, Skybus. Our flight was just cancelled.

Now when they call themselves "internet only" what they mean is...internet only.
No ticket agent.
No 1-800 number.
No one to help you navigate a frustration in your schedule.

Everything is done online (I think a pilot might fly the plane from his living room by watching videos of the cockpit posted to YouTube). To their credit, they fairly quickly posted info online and let me rebook for later tonight.

But to make it frustrating, I got up at 5:45 this morning to be there. I pulled an all-nighter on Friday night pursuing a wild-hair resource idea for our April series on discipleship that I needed to have done before I left, so I was operating on 6 hours of sleep in 48 hours. Pretty tired.

Now granted, they didn't force to pursue my idea, and Ohio just got hit by the worst snow storm in 96 years, but I'm wondering about their long term viability. Basically, because there was no one there to help anyone. With "those other airlines" that actually employ humans, I'd at least have an assurance that my flight tonight will happen (even if I were to be bumped to another airline), but I've got to say that my confidence level is low about tonight's flight. I love the price I paid, but now I'm questioning it's value.

I can just hear the conversation that spawned the airline.
"What if we started from scratch on this whole airline thing? This is the 21st Century, we do everything online, why not fly that way? Those stodgy big players won't even know what hit them. It's their overhead that's killing them and their rigid paradigms of what's 'needed' that keep people from trusting them! Ticket agents? Just a useless salary on legs. Call Centers? Excuses for people to surf the internet while on the job. How about a whole new paradigm in air travel. We'll clean up! Who's in?"

Of all people, I am game for challenging the status quo, but this is making me think that maybe all quantum paradigm shifts in method aren't good ones. We'll see. I'm off to catch a few zzz's before my (potential) flight tonight.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It wouldn't have mattered what airline you were on, almost 90% of flights in and out of Columbus were cancelled yesterday. In fact Skybus opperated the most flights yesterday, getting almost half of their flights in and out comapred to most other airlines who completly shut down.