As part of the Graduate Scheme, we each get the opportunity to experience and work our way around the business, in order to fully understand each area’s input in creating those amazing holiday experiences. As a Commercial Grad, these placements last around 3 months, and as we enter the New Year, it’s nearly time for us to move on. Since September I have been working on a project for Thomson Airways evaluating the way the airline handles passengers who have a reduced level of mobility, both at our airports and on-board our aircraft. Apart from the great exposure to the airline, this project highlighted the complexity of issues that come from an ever aging population and how a business like ourselves must keep on trend and up to date.
In order to fully understand the customer experience, I decided it would be a good idea to embark on a fact finding mission. This included a handful of airport visits both in the UK and abroad, understanding a passenger’s journey from check-in to take-off. One of the most insightful trips was spending a couple of days in Palma airport to experience a busy TUI operation for myself. GCSE Spanish in hand and with 17 of our aircraft arriving and departing in the space of around three hours, you can only imagine how hectic the operation was. Loaded with a high-vis and some very valuable ear plugs, most of the morning was spent on the tarmac ensuring that our ground handlers were helping us towards hitting that crucial on time departure. I also got the chance to interact with customers and hear their opinions (typically most were about the poor week of weather).
I did in fact also get to go on a very short holiday (that lasted approx. one hour and I didn’t even venture very far from the aircraft). My day trip to Paphos gave me the chance to see how hard our crew work on a long rotation and the challenges they can face. What I didn’t manage to get was a tan or a souvenir. Apart from sampling the simply fantastic cuisine on-board and the great range of shopping, this familiarisation flight helped to highlight the areas of improvement for those customers with reduced mobility.
Working with the airline has been a great experience but as it is time to move on I am very much looking forward to swapping the skies for the seas as I start my next placement with the Cruise department.