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Hey, Mr. Skinner — is Turquoise Emulating Airlines?

Chris Skinner gets in his rant about BA, and mine about Virgin follows. The scary thought, tho, is that the new CEO at Turquoise seems to think airlines are a model of customer service:

In his presentation at Finexpo, Turquoise CEO Eli Lederman drew an extended analogy between trading venues and airlines with the entirely counterintuitive suggestion that airlines are delivering far superior services since deregulation.

Does he know an airline that I don’t, or does he just fly in the front of the plane?

So let me recount my flight over from

Newark

Friday and hope this isn’t an indication of where Lederman plans to take Turquoise.

Around 3 a.m. Friday I awakened to finish packing for an 8 a.m. flight from

Newark

. I checked a message on my mobile to learn Virgin had cancelled the 8:03 from

Newark

but I could take the 7:40 flight from JFK. The message included a toll-free number.

Which took me to a call center in

India

where I had to go through a voice menu to reach someone. Who couldn’t tell me if Virgin would return me to JFK where I planned to leave my car. The ticket was a code-share that I had booked through Continental, but to Virgin, this looked like a travel agent. Call your travel agent,

India

advised.

I tried a few more calls to Virgin with some variations such as selecting “new reservations” to find someone helpful. No luck. I called Continental. Their systems hadn’t been updated by Virgin and showed the flight out of

Newark

still scheduled as usual.

I drove to JFK where the Virgin desk couldn’t find my reservation. They sent me to ticketing where the issue was quickly resolved and, even after one of the slower security lines in at least a week, I made it to the flight with minutes to spare. And yes, they plan to fly me back to JFK.

Tell me again, Eli, what this promises for Turquoise?

Wouldn’t you think that when an airline is canceling a flight because it is underbooked that they would at least provide a direct line through to a reservations agent who could handle the change? Wouldn’t it be lovely if the airline had a policy that they would get you back to the departure airport and informed its agents? How about if the people on the phone could actually see the ticket record and were able to take intelligent action?

About Chris M Skinner

Chris M Skinner
Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, the Finanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

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