Stakeholder Management for Traveling Families

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Categories: Communication, Stakeholder


By Wanda Curlee

I recently flew across the country with my two grandchildren, both under the age of three. While their mother was with me, we were not seated together., so I was understandably a little concerned about the trip. (And for the people around me.)

The trip did make me wonder, however, if airlines could take a project management approach when small children are traveling. Yes, they allow families with small children to board at the beginning of the process, but is there more that could be done?

All they would need is better stakeholder management.

Before the day of travel, the airline could send tips to those traveling with children. The tips can focus on what will help the child and the parent survive the lengthy trip, such as how to help kids with equalizing ear pressure, how to help with meltdowns and what to pack to keep the child entertained.

Next, for the day of travel, help those traveling with kids understand the rules. I was rather rudely told that I had to have the child in my lap for takeoff and landing. The child was standing between the seat and me (we all know there is not much room) and was between my legs. He was happy while in this position. Once he went into my lap, he went into meltdown mode. While this was not the problem of the flight attendant, it would have been nice to have known the rules and be able to prepare my grandchild for the final part of the flight.

The airline could also provide a small goodie bag for a child. There could be lollipops to help with ears, a list of the rules, a paper book—maybe a couple of pages for the children to draw or color. Maybe even some plastic bags that seal to take care of those dirty diapers that may occur during flight.

During the flight, the flight attendant could reach out to travelers with small children just to let the traveler know that he or she is there to help. I know at the end of flights, during landing, the flight attendant thanks me for being a million miler. So, just saying hi to the mom, dad or grandparent traveling with the small child will go a long way.

This is a little out of the way of what is usually discussed on the blog but taking a better approach to stakeholder management to help families that are traveling with young ones can be beneficial for the traveler, the child and those on the plane sitting around the child. Let’s make traveling a bit more humane for all involved.

Posted by Wanda Curlee on: August 08, 2019 03:54 PM | Permalink

Comments (8)

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It's a great example of how Project Management can be applied on various situations in our daily life.

Thank you

Very interesting, thanks for sharing

Amazing read, thanks for sharing

Very practical. I often sit right next to a crying baby/toddler on the plane. I certainly would highly appreciate all these stakeholder management approaches.

Air travel was sure different when I was a kid in the late 1970's and early 80's. Back then, I remember being welcomed aboard planes with a big smile and a friendly word. Flight attendants would pin wings on my shirt, give me a deck of cards, and sometimes I would get a trip up to the cockpit. They made it special, which made me feel more comfortable. Understandably, things have changed a lot since 911. I travel quite a bit and I sometimes feel like a lot of the flight attendants are stressed out (which they probably are) and not so customer focused like they used to be. But, perhaps their stakeholder management approaches have had to change over the years because of the safety / security issues that we all have to deal with.

Hello William - Thanks for your reply. I agree that 9/11 has changed a lot but I also think that the bottom line has become too important to the senior leadership. The little that I have suggested would not detract from the bottom line. I hope at some point, the airlines will re-evaluate what they can do to help the traveling parent and their children.

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