Waiting for One More Crew Member

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Photo by Blane [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]

The announcement at the gate was “ladies and gentlemen, for those traveling on flight … to …, we are just awaiting the arrival of one more crew member and will begin boarding shortly.”

I’m wondering about this announcement and its effects.

To those of us waiting, what could it say?

We want to update you. We want to run on time. We’re being detailed in the reason for the delay. We acknowledge that you’re waiting.

Is it a euphemism for something else?

With an oversold A321 flight holding 200 people, and 4 crew, I can imagine that the pressure a single flight crew members might have on delaying it. That’s over three human life hours per minute delay.

Do they know where the crew member is? Are they on their way? Could boarding begin without them? (there’s usually priority boarding and for the first few minutes, it’s two crew members saying high)

What fascinates me is just how much and what type of information should you surface to the user? Everyone talks a lot about transparency but reveal-all (like the Radical Honesty movement) doesn’t necessarily mean more happiness in this case. The information needs interpretation as it leads to more questions.

In the end, what we really need is an accurate estimation of the boarding time (when we need to be somewhere) and its effect on arrival time. Boiling this down, it would be this question: what impact does this information have on what I’m doing?

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Independent daily thoughts on all things future, voice technologies and AI. More at http://linkedin.com/in/grebler

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