CLIENT SERVICE TO THE MAX How Travel and Transport helped travel buyers manage the grounding of Boeing 737 MAXs

On the heels of the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on March 10, momentum was building worldwide to ground other aircraft of its type - the Boeing 737 MAX. Requests quickly came rolling in from companies that needed to determine which of their travelers were booked on the specific aircraft type.

This was information that didn’t exist in our pre-trip reports – until our employee-owners jumped into action and made it happen, within hours.

Jim Svoboda, director, Application Development, saw the questions flooding in from customers and the account management team and made it a priority to find a solution. He met with Tim Malone, senior developer and pre-trip programmer, who added a new “equipment type” column in one of our existing reports so both internal and external customers could determine if any clients’ passengers were on the affected planes.

Jim Svoboda

Jim then went a step further. Talking with Operations and our in-house Command Center, he discovered a new report was needed to list all scheduled 737 MAX flights for all clients. A new pre-trip report would require too much programming time, so he created a database query and sent it out to leadership manually every day.

“Jim and his team were instrumental in quickly identifying the travelers that were ticketed on these flights,” said Julie Porter, manager, Command Center. “His daily report allowed me and the operations leaders to manage the affected passengers on a branch level.”

The effort did not go unnoticed by our clients.

One travel manager, who swiftly received word from account manager Susan King about the new report’s availability, expressed her gratitude during a GBTA New England chapter meeting. Nancy Battaglino, director, Operations, was in attendance and reports the travel manager credited our organization’s quick action for allowing her to reach out to her travelers and be proactive – and that the response she received back from those travelers, knowing they were being looked after “was terrific.”

Ultimately, Jim said, it’s all about serving our customers.

“I'm proud that the Application Development team was able to quickly respond to our clients' needs and that our work helped the operations and account management teams provide excellent service to our customers,” he said.