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Agents Talk Back – The Latest Update on the 787 DreamlinerJanuary 18, 2013 By: Adam Leposa
Agents Talk Back is a recurring feature on Travel Agent magazine where travel agents can sound off about the top issues affecting the industry today. Let us know what you think in the comments below, on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TravelAgentMagazine and on Twitter at @TravelAgentMag with the hashtag #agentstalkback. We’ll collect your responses and share them on www.travelagentcentral.com.
As the investigation into the safety issues surrounding Boeing’s new plane deepens, travel agents are split in their opinion regarding the new plane. Here’s what agents from across the industry are saying:
Robert Porter Malmberg writes, “The agency community is virtually helpless in managing the myriad changes in equipment, schedules, departure and arrival times on the replacement aircraft. To make maters worse we cannot even do a spectra to determine what the actual equipment for a specific flight is going to be at departure time. It's very frustrating and the customers are concerned, with good reason. Of course, new equipment can have "bugs" to be ironed out but even the Concord or the A380 did not have major problems on the rollout. And their performance may have had growing pains of oone kind or another but nothing in memory as frightening as what we've seen with the 787. The press calls these problems ‘mechanical problems’ but I see it as a management problem more than anything else.”
Other readers called into question the Dreamliner’s overall design and comfort level. Patricia Berry says, “I don't know about the safety aspects, but I flew on LH Dreamliner business class last summer and it was a great disappointment. Most uncomfortable flat bed every slept on-or tried to sleep on. If you were sitting on the window you had a place to put your things-on the aisle nothing. Everything had to go in the overhead-books, ect.
Even so, the biggest inconvenience agents have cited is simply rescheduling customers to deal with the grounded planes. Bill Sarcona, assistant general manager of KIE / Kintetsu International, tells Travel Agent, “As one of the world’s largest Japanese travel agencies, we obviously move a lot of traffic on ANA and JAL. Currently, we are not seeing any major concern among our clients, due to these recent malfunctions. Many of our clients are seasoned travelers and as with any new aircraft introduced in the market, they know or expect in the beginning there may be some issues. This situation is similar to when the A380 was first rolled out. The most inconvenience is due to the rescheduling with all these 787’s being out of service.”
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