Just when we thought we were halfway to Dublin our trip took many unexpected turns. Our three-hour layover in Charlotte turned into over seven hours, which then resulted in our flight getting cancelled. We have been spending the past two days in Charlotte, and during our time here we encountered many business operations in action all around us.
One business that we encountered was American Airlines. Operations management was the main business function that I saw in action since this is what they struggled with the most. During our time at the airport I quickly realized that American Airlines was very unorganized with how they were operating. American Airlines did not seem to have a well-designed process in place because they continuously made last minute decisions and would keep changing their minds with the decisions they made. For example our flight kept getting delayed in 30-minute increments and then we finally got good news that our plane was at the gate. After our gate switching three times we finally got settled at the gate and were happy to finally see our plane pull up. Shortly after, American Airlines went on the speaker and announced that Barcelona was suddenly at the same gate as us. This problem was brought to the attention of the staff since our flight to Dublin was also supposed to board at the same gate. The staff working kept changing their mind on who would get to board first. Sadly they chose Barcelona, which left us sitting at the airport waiting even longer. We received the bad news at 11:00pm that our flight was cancelled. I was upset and anxious to find out what was going to happen and when we were going to leave for Dublin. American Airlines was not efficient when it came to dealing with customers. The customer service line was ridiculously long and the phone service took hours just to speak to an employee. After our experience with American Airlines it was obvious that they need a better business process in place. In addition, the business skill that I saw lacking with American Airlines was communication. During our time at the gate there were very few if any announcements made in regards to our flight. All changes were posted on the app, which were always different than what was posted on the board. The airlines never even made an announcement on the speaker that our flight was cancelled and never apologized for the inconvenience. Communication is a key component in any company and it was clearly lacking amongst all the employees as well as the employees communicating to the customers. The lack of communication and operations management gave American Airlines a bad reputation and many upset customers.
Another business that we encountered during our time in Charlotte was Hyatt. Hyatt’s main business function was human resources/people management. The hotel was very generous and helpful by accommodating rooms for 17 people at midnight. They knew that we were all upset, but wanted to make sure we still had a good stay at the hotel. All the employees were very nice and would greet us every time we entered the hotel or walked pass one of them in the hallway. We originally thought we were only going to be at the hotel for one night, but one night changed into three once we realized that the earliest flight to Dublin was on Tuesday night. Hyatt was very adaptable, which was there business skill in action. They were able to accommodate all of us for three nights, provide us with breakfast, and allow us to stay in the same room all three nights. The customer service at Hyatt provided us with an overall better experience since they were adaptable and understanding of our situation.
After receiving the news that our flight was cancelled I was upset that we were going to be missing three days in Ireland. During our time in Charlotte I have learned to just go with the flow and to always expect the unexpected. Although this is not the study abroad trip we had planned for I have still been trying to make the best of it while in Charlotte. As a group we have become closer and have learned how to all work together and function as a team when we encounter unexpected changes. Overall, I have learned to enjoy the moment and the opportunities we are given even when things do not end up as planned.