Friday, November 7, 2008

How about bus concierges?


By PAT MURPHY
Express Staff Writer

The problem: The dreaded bus ride between Twin Falls and Hailey (and vice versa) when SkyWest Airline flights are cancelled or diverted due to inclement weather.

Len Harlig's solution: Assign on-bus hosts to accompany diverted passengers to explain the unexpected ground trip.

"SkyWest can do better," Harlig said.

Harlig recalled his own experience of a ride from Twin Falls, when he observed the anger and distress of passengers from out of town who weren't told what was happening.

"We're losing too many friends, making too many enemies," Harlig said.

Airport manager Rick Baird said having guides on the buses would make a difference in passenger attitudes. "Customer relations is a big part" of making the trip to the Wood River Valley pleasant.

"It's a horrible situation," chimed in airport attorney Barry Luboviski, who repeated his own experienced on a bus after a diverted flight.

Luboviski said a busload of passengers would be a perfect "captive audience" for a guide to not only soothe distress about the bus trip, but also to extol the joys of the valley's activities and history.

Harlig will push his idea with the Fly Sun Valley Alliance, a business group promoting travel to the valley and with SkyWest Airlines.

Still not determined: Who would pay for any expenses.

Depending on how statistics are analyzed, some 20 percent of Sky West flights to and from Friedman are canceled or diverted during the winter season.




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