The aircraft tray table broke. Perhaps the forces of daily passenger use overcame the lifetime capabilities of the mechanism. A post-it note confirms the tray table is inoperable. We can overcome the inconvenience but might it feel better if there was clarity on how and when broken becomes operational. If the post-it note stated the tray table would be fixed tonight, this week, within a month, might we feel that our suffering was temporary, which is a more fathomable and digestible period?
How might we acknowledge the broken elements of our cause and share our plan to return the disrupted piece into service? We may still receive complaints, but a definitive answer on how we are moving forward is better than ‘we know.’
How long would you allow your bedroom smoke detector to continue sounding a low battery alarm? If it is evident and annoying, we tend to remedy the situation quickly. If we run a large hotel and the bedside clock is alarming in an unoccupied room, housekeeping might turn it off the next day. There is a scale to inconveniences, but we might want to understand the perspective of the people who interact with the problem. Almost every airline challenge ranks above the broken tray table. However, if it remains unfixed for a week, sixty passengers are disappointed. Continue for a month, and two-hundred forty passengers are without the tray table amenity. Fix it the first overnight, and the inconvenience stops at eight.