The 11th of
September in 2001 was the day that changed the world, as we know it. It also
changed the face of the aviation industry. As long as I live I will not forget 9/11. Ground zero is a
reminder on how fragile our business and the world economy is.
We had some
months earlier come out German ownership and I was now the sole owner of the
company. Everyone was motivated by the challenge and we were slowly starting to
act like a nimble little company again and working towards our goal which was to
become profitable. We had tons of debts and because of the sad state of the
company’s affairs the collection agency came to do a visit every day, each day
representing a new company who wanted money.
spi.jpgrit was soaring. The autumn of 2001 was going to be great and the sweet
smell of progress was on the air. The 11th of September was a particularly
sunny day. Everyone was going about his or her business in the office as usual.
It was almost like in the movie Pearl Harbour. Everything was fine and then … curtain.
I have written about the attacks several times before here and I’m not going
back to all the details.
aftermath of the collapsed towers there were more people cancelling flights
than ordering and subsequently more money going out than coming in. It was so
bad that I remembered us just laughing.
showed their lack of contingency plans when the shit hit the fan. Their poor
customer service departments buckled. We were acting as counsellors to people
who were terrified about flying we were scrapi.jpgng up the few pi.jpgeces of
information available and made it public to our customers who couldn’t get
though to the airlines for days. For a couple of weeks we were all just trying
to get by. Several of the major airlines didn’t make it and amongst the casualties
were Swissair and Sabena.
Some of us
were quick to create a new handy insurance, which we called airline default policy,
which cost a couple of Euros. It was a big seller for a while. Sadly people
forget and these policies normally have their peak after airlines goes bust,
which happens all too often.
For us as a
young start up 9/11 meant two things
1. We could renegotiate all contracts,
because everyone expected us to go bankrupt. And why not when large airlines default
perhaps it is not so strange if a start up does. So the collection agencies
stopped coming. Thank you Usama.
2. Once the dust settled people started
flocking to the Internet to find deals when saving money was a must. Thank you
The advent of Internet in connection with the 9/11 attacks was the definitive
break through for the new world order in travel. It was also the definitive
blow for the network airlines but most of them have already forgotten. But I guess the airline bosses they are like bankmanagers who seem to forget recessions and overspending.