Details matter

Flying with family is stressful. Despite best efforts bags are inevitably hanging from every shoulder and kids, rudely awoken at 4am, are short on patience. So it doesn’t take much to trigger a minor crisis which can have a ripple effect on the entire journey as moods sour.

This morning we were informed that Emirates had, in the past four days, discontinued their policy of providing bags for checked-in buggies. I was sent to have the buggy wrapped, for which I was expected to pay with cash which I did not have. And so began the hunt for an ATM, which I found only to realise my card was back with the check-in clerk. 20 minutes of running around later and stress levels are high before we have begun our journey, and only because a cost saving measure had been implemented without consideration for the customer’s experience.

Companies are getting much better at making investments with customer experience in mind. But few realise that the same methods can be used to implement a cost saving initiative. In this case, any measure which could have prevented me hunting around the airport at 6am would have been preferable, including simply charging us for the plastic bag which was once offered for free. We also discovered in this instance that we had the option to take the buggy to the gate, but only when another clerk stepped in after we had paid for the wrapping service. Another detail which matters: staff training.

Check-in experience aside we are now safely on board a 777 headed for Tokyo waiting for our take off slot. Little M is fast asleep which is wonderful for me but tough for Lucy who is holding her in the most awkward of positions. Big M is rattling through the first 10 minutes of every film we downloaded to his tablet and at this rate will have exhausted his entertainment supply before the landing gear is up.

We arrive late in Tokyo and have a 30 minutes taxi ride to the hotel. I’ve set up an account with the Uber-like Japan Taxi app, which I look forward to sharing my thoughts about. For now we have 9 hours to look forward to in the air, hopefully including a little time to reflect on the coming weeks and our arrival in the sprawling metropolis of Tokyo.


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