Last Thursday I had to meet Liverpool Airport as I flew from Madrid. The airports official name – of course – is John Lennon Airport. However I can´t imagine someone who created perfect music for the eternity would have willingly given his name for an airport so bumblingly managed.
Although I am well familiar with the travel industry I have never before encountered such a stupefying money-making scheme.
Checking in for Easyjet actually worked…
Let´s start with the good news. Checking in for Easyjet was simple. The queue was reasonable short – I arrived two-and-a-half hours early. However I am very willing to accept, that for Easyjet staffing and training were adequate and sufficient.
…but from now on nothing worked
At this point everything seemed to stop working. It started with the security queue, which literally encircled the building. We had to wait for more than 70 minutes, losing our nerves more and more every minute. How on earth were we going to reach our flight in time – especially as we had no clue about the actual length of the queue. It meandered upstairs, downstairs – we might have waited two as well as five hours.
A ticket to Fast Lane
Now being worn out and frustrated – help was within reach. Every few steps (along the whole queue) tempting little machine were arranged offering redemption. For just 2 £– a real treat – you could get access to the special Fast Lane. An amazing component of the money-making-schedule.
Fast Lane – the winner takes it all
Of course it worked. You are stewing in a hot, damp and desperately slow lane while a refreshing breezy Fast Lane ist only 2 £ away. Naturally people started buying tickets making the passengers left behind even more fidgety. What if all those people got in front of the lane making the whole process even slower? Let´s buy a fast lane ticket as well. The money-making scheme gains traction.
As you may already have guessed Fast Lane doesn´t mean fast lane in the sense of ´quick” or “speedy”. They justdivided the lane in two lanes. One with payers – marginally shorter – and one with non-payers. As soon as the end of the queue comes in sight you´ll realize.
I don´t envy the guy checking boarding passes at the end of the line. He really got all the shouting and insulting built up in long hours of waiting. He couldn´t´t help of course – which he in vain tried to communicate. Too many flights, too few staff.
Liverpool does not play dice
This kind of service can´t possibly a coincidence or the outcome of bad management. On the contrary it seems to be a well calculated strategy. Treat passengers so badly that they willingly – even gladly – pay extra fees to get a decent core service. Greed looses what it has gained? Let´s go and search for 2 £ notes.
More suggestions for more money
I have some suggestions to squeeze even more money out of desperate passengers. As the Fast Lane-stretgy seems to be working quite well, why not extend it to other areas?
Dirty toilets seem a logical step. Stop cleaning nearly all toilet cubicles. Leave them alone to become as stinky, filthy and repelling a place as possible. For an extra 2 £ people will get access to a clean one.
Boarding with your body unharmed and your luggage intact could be another option. With flaming hoops and shredders instead of security scanners, chances are good, people would pay an extra 2 £ to reach the flight in one piece.
Being in Liverpool why not revive an old Scouse tradition? Suspicious looking youths hanging out in the parking lot offering to watch your car for just 2 £. I would happily pay to not have my car demolized and the interior stolen.
One last suggestion
Why not choose a complete new path, employing enough and well-trained staff, to ensure short queues and waiting periods?
Why passengers in time and the right mood might start to spend money in shops and restaurants. They might even recommend the airport to friends and family. Just like starting over.