Last week, in the run up to Thanksgiving, I did about a dozen radio interviews around the country. The main subject of those interviews had to do with travel tips, the interviewers wanted their audience to hear what they needed to do to have a good travel experience over the holidays.
It gave me a good chance to talk about all the great things airports are doing to care for their passengers and help them on their way. Everything from putting on more staff and volunteers, to children’s play areas to free Internet to music programs. It also gave me a chance to talk about how airports have stepped into the breach as airlines have withdrawn from more and more of the customer care functions they once performed. Most of the time, the interviewer was surprised about all that airports do, so it was a great chance to educate them and their audiences.
The frustrating part was the feeling I got that the interviewers believed airports are responsible for things like lost bags and a bad security checkpoint experience. I talked about how we work with our airline, and government, partners to make things better, but that the responsibility for these things lies elsewhere. I did that in a subtle way of course, didn’t want to seem defensive. But the lack of understanding out there of what airports do is really striking. We have never done a good job of telling our story. A lot of people have no idea we do many of the good things we do, and they blame airports for the missteps of others. That is why we have embarked on a major public relations campaign.
We have a great story to tell. But we need to start telling it!