A colleague in Nice once said to me it was important to write decent headlines in order to attract readers to a blog. I was skeptical, and besides, I had said when I launched this blog that my goal was to aim for a very narrow audience – if by the end of 2009 I could get 100 subscribers (or maybe substitute part of this number for regular unique visitors if people don’t use RSS readers) then I’d consider this venture a success. With these modest expectations, it was a pleasant surprise to see a reasonable increase in subscribers and overall website traffic to my recent article on Ryanair. Maybe it was all due to the headline about winning €1,000!

My own contribution to Ryanair’s request for suggestions might have been charging for child free rows. When it is my own child then it is great, but if I am travelling economy class and expecting to get some work done on the flight, the last thing I need is a childing jumping around and spilling food on me or my computer. On a 3-4 hour flight, I’d think this would be worth €20-50, and at least as much as I’d be willing to pay for an exit row seat. But I’d definintely pay for both of these options before I’d ever pay Emirates for a vanity frequent flier number

On a totally different topic, I’ll recount part of an interesting conversation I had with an airline employee today that presented a problem I’d never encountered before. His airline is considering moving their PSS to Amadeus and he was discussing a few items that he thought sounded like gaps. Naturally I can’t name the airline, and I’d rather not name their current PSS, even though I think the problem lay more with systems from different suppliers not talking to one another rather than an inherent problem in the existing system. The request was for a kind of “super button” to be created that could be pressed whenever a ticket failed to be issued, and this button would override the errors and issue the tickets in the online channel. At first I was totally confused, as when I see errors in the ticketing process they arise for a legitimate reason and we would normally queue the PNR for manual review (with a remark in the PNR detailing the problem to be fixed); the aim being that a back office airline employee would fix that particular error and then if appropriate send the PNR back to the Robotics platform for TTP/ET and subsequent automated actions. If the error messages are resulting from non critical errors, then I’d recommend just changing the business rules contained in the pre-ticketing checks that are throwing up these rejects  – a much better solution than a “super button” to override the errors. But if an airline finds it too difficult or costly to fix existing systems so that error messages don’t spit out contant false negatives, maybe it is time to look at moving suppliers after all.