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11th October 2016 at 2:55 am #47675adminKeymasterMember since: 1st January 2005
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- Practcally Cretan
So at literally the 11th hour the planned four day strike by air traffic controllers (and whoever else) was called off. At what cost and disruption?
Aegean Airlines faced a logistic nightmare. The airline hired countless extra staff to man the main reservation call centre to rebook passengers not knowing the status of flights day-by-day.
Yes I know Greece is in a mess. It is going through structural changes in the economy like no other country in the civilised world has had to face in modern times. There will be disruption and discontentment. But Greeks in positions of power must face up to reality. Change can only come through negotiation and consensus not bickering over the spoils of a deal.
There is no doubt that the average Greek is truly suffering through measures imposed by the dreaded "Troika". But the way the latest strike was handled by both sides caused extreme difficulties for travellers’ flights in, out and around Greece.
But my hat is tipped to #Aegean Airlines management. No wonder they have won so many airline awards for service efficiency. Here is what their CEO was forced to apologetically write on the disruptions:
We are aware of the inconvenience and the upheaval that was caused to many of you, due to the strikes previously announced by the Greek Air Traffic Controllers Association and the subsequent cancelation of flights.
The Strike had been announced for the 9th, 10th and 12th, 13th of October. On Friday 9th evening, once we were forced to proceed in the cancellation of flights for the first two days, we had to find a proper solution for the 40,000 passengers affected in the first 2 days of the strike, whereas the other 35,000 passengers of the second 48hour, were upset as well. Regrettably, despite our efforts to reinforce our Call Center with more manpower during a 24hour operation and despite the valuable assistance we had from the Travel Agencies, there was a significantly increased waiting time on the incoming phone calls since all customers were simultaneously contacting us for booking modifications.
As soon as the Strike was called off, late on Saturday evening, just few hours before its initiation, we put the best of our efforts in order to immediately reinstate all our flights for Sunday and Monday and of course, to offer them to our customers so as to be able to re-book again. Inevitably, there were still difficulties on the communication due to the significant volume of incoming requests. All this time, we provided continuous updates through our website and via all social media channels.
The sole purpose of this communication is, once again, to sincerely thank you for choosing us and for the kind patience of those who faced difficulties in contacting us. During circumstances which are out of our control (strikes, adverse weather conditions, etc.), we do make every effort, knowing however that sometimes this might not be enough.
Within the next hours, having served the greater volume of the incoming contacts, we will return to our usual response levels.
Thank you very much for your kind understanding.
Fortunately, I flew the day before the strike but the thought of being caught up in such a problem is down right scary. No insurance policy would cover such an eventuality as the strike was called off. And I would have suffered serious loss having to buy fresh air tickets for connecting flights.
I have expressed my disgust at the behaviour of the negotiators on both sides, as there is no compensation under EU rules for passengers affected by such action arising from a dispute. Yes, I was not affected by many were.
*Polifasaria loosely translated means an unwarranted fuss over nothing.
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