Last minute travel and a thing called ethics

Last week a young couple wanted to book a last minute flight on a German low-cost airline. They were confronted with a peculiar arithmetic operation.

The couple was well aware that low-cost airlines offer low fares in exchange for eliminating many traditional passenger services and that one has to pay for every extra service. They selected a flight to the island of Majorca for a total cost of € 720. In the midst of the booking process the screen refreshed and the price changed to € 750. In a small colored font the explanation was given that a last minute price change was applied. There was no referral to extra costs that could justify this increase. After they had finalized the entry form, the screen refreshed again and the booking price changed to € 1,130, accompanied by the same non-informative message. Needless to say that the couple was not amused by this cascade of last minute price changes. They terminated the booking operation and went to another supplier.

The gap between image and identity of this company, that claims to offer a first class product, appears to be huge. One may wonder how sustainable an airline despite a turnover of several million euros is when the ethic vertebrate of the company is made of such unreliable substance. The forces that drive the intelligent enterprise of the 21st century will pulverize their business model if it is applied in this way.

(See also chapter 1 in Blueprint for an iBPMS competence center)

Without being trustworthy, having great operational efficiency will not be enough. Organizations have to be trustworthy, high performing and evolving at the same time.

One doesn't need to apply predictive analytics to foresee what is going to happen to companies with this type of behavior. Perhaps a sequence of changes can be applied to the strategy and organizational culture before the last bell tolls

Otherwise they will soon have their own last minute flight.

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