Lean Aircraft Maintenance
Monday I tried to fly out of Denver on United to Chicago. They loaded the
plane and we sat for three hours while they tried to figure out why one
of the gas gauges wasn’t working. After two hours, they let people get
off to get something to eat.
When we finally arrived in Chicago perhaps 60 people got in line at a
bare-bones customer service desk at 10pm. How much did the delay,
rerouting, hotels and meals cost? Too much I suspect.
It seems to me that:
1. If the aircraft isn’t ready, no one should board.
The woman next to me missed her connection to London, when there was a
non-stop to London at the next gate!
2. Maintenance shouldn’t take so long.
It took 2.5 hours to diagnose the problem and 20 minutes to fix it.
Common problems like gas gauges (I’ve had this problem before) should be
easy and fast to fix. And Denver is a United hub. There should be spare
parts for common problems on the concourse.
One of the most common comments customers will say, in any business, is:
“If it breaks, fix it fast!” This is true of airplanes
and autos and computers and software and web sites and meals in a
As one book title said it: It’s not the big that eat the small, it’s the
fast the eat the slow.
Haste makes waste, but speed enhances customer perceptions because if you
fix it fast and right, you win customers. If you fix it slow and right,
you lose customers. The choice is up to you.