Categories: Project Management
At the start of our vacation, we had one stop en route to our final destination. We were supposed to have a two hour layover, but after landing we learned that our outbound flight would be delayed by another hour. As the end of that extra hour drew near we were informed that our flight would be delayed by a further two hours. While we were dismayed by these successive delays, I enquired and learned that the cause was a mechanical problem with the plane we were supposed to have departed on, hence the airline operations staff had to scramble to locate an alternate aircraft. While this was a frustrating situation, we appreciated the safety first focus of the airline and as we had built sufficient wiggle room into our travel plans we weren't overly concerned.
As we soon overheard, this was not the case for all of our fellow passengers who were waiting near the gate.
On our flight was a small tour group whose subsequent travel plans appeared to have much less buffer built into them. While the new departure time for our outbound flight would still fall within their critical path, their group leader was understandably concerned. Rather than addressing her concerns by speaking with the gate staff to understand the cause for the delays or by exploring options with them in case our flight was further delayed, she decided to take matters into her own hands.
She booked the group on a new flight with a different carrier to the final destination. As this was a last minute booking, the costs were quite high.
Our outbound flight pulled in to the gate on time based on the updated departure time. The group leader proceeded to argue with the airline's gate staff that they should refund her group for the costs of their alternate bookings. The airline staff were very professional but also quite firm in letting her know that the airline was in no way responsible for her actions and she should have consulted with them prior to taking such a step.
We may be accountable for an outcome but we shouldn't assume ownership for issues which belong to or can be better resolved by our team members or delivery partners. We have enough concerns which we personally own to take possession of other's albatrosses.