Well British Airways has certainly taken a hammering - customers, the media, comedians - everyone has had something to say about the debacle experienced during the bank holiday weekend.
Many crisis experts have commented on the apparent lack of planning or systems to enable the staff to say something - anything - to the poor customers who did not know if they were going to be flying on holiday or not. But the truth of the matter was they appeared to have nothing to say - or did they?
Clearly they did not know when flights would be resumed, or how people would be re-booked or compensated for their experience. But there is one thing they could have said over and over again which might have softened the blow. And that is 'sorry'. I remember having the 'wind taken out of my sails' in a hotel in Ireland, where the receptionist explained she had made a mistake and was very, very sorry that our packed lunch was not ready. It is very difficult to be too cross if someone says sorry.
Sadly, as we saw with the Thomas Cook court cases a number of years ago, lawyers advise companies not to say sorry as it is a tacit admission of wrongdoing. But if you are empathetic and apologetic then it counts for a lot.
The other advice in this article that I liked was using old-fashioned techniques to communicate - megaphones, notice boards etc. Don't just rely upon social media or websites to say nothing!
Equally as important were British Airways’ staff, left to deal with customers without any information. Ah, that’s the fault of those blasted systems! Is it? How did we communicate in the days before technology? We used the basics. In the aftermath of 7/7, when the mobile phone network was suspended temporarily, communications officials used megaphones and good old fashioned notice boards to issue safety messages to staff in central London offices. In the wake of 9/11, when mobile networks and transport systems were crippled, Morgan Stanley sent staff to visit the homes of every employee working within the vicinity of the Twin Towers to check that they had managed to escape.