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Despite airline woes, CEOs are not changing traveling habits

Travelers wait to go through a security checkpoint at Hartsfield- Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta.
Travelers wait to go through a security checkpoint at Hartsfield- Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta. AP file | Nov. 25, 2015

This week’s question to South Florida CEOs who are on the Miami Herald CEO Roundtable: In the wake of numerous customer service complaints and several accidents aboard airplanes in the past year, do you do anything differently when you travel?

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Other than trying to avoid having all of our leadership team on the same flight, we haven’t made any changes in terms of travel.

John Benz, president, CEO, Community Care Plan

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We don’t do anything differently when we travel. Air is still the safest and best way to travel. We always encourage all of our associates to be courteous and polite to everyone they have contact with while representing AFP. A kind word goes a long way when diffusing any difficult situation.

Armando Caceres, CEO, founder, All Florida Paper

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Despite the recent issues and incidents related to air transportation, it continues to be the safest and most efficient way to travel. I find myself arriving to the airport a little earlier than I used to and packing a lot more patience (pun intended).

Ralph De La Rosa, president, CEO, Imperial Freight

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No. Accidents are certainly unfortunate when they happen, but I remind myself that they are rare as a proportion.

Jalal Farooq, principal, Al-Farooq Corporation

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When traveling we always should be aware of our surroundings. With customer service incidents and accidents, there is very little you can do except to act with empathy toward those who are affected and make sure they are physically safe.

Michael A. “Mike” Finney, president, CEO, Miami-Dade Beacon Council

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I have not changed my travel habits. However, recent news in several industries has underscored the importance of creating an excellent customer service experience, which is a top priority at the University of Miami.

Dr. Julio Frenk, president, University of Miami

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I have traveled extensively since I was a child so I really don’t travel differently. I know what to expect.

Kaizad Hansotia, founder, CEO, Gurkha Cigars

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I’m not a good flyer, but I know, statistically speaking, flying is far safer than driving even if it doesn’t necessarily feel that way.

Javier Holtz, chairman, CEO, Marquis Bank

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No, but I have a suggestion. The airline industry should offer optional safety courses for passengers willing to assist in an emergency. Priority, exit door or other seating should be given to people who take the course. I also think they should redesign oxygen masks with an obvious place for the nose so that fewer mistakes can be made when panicked people don them.

Noreen Sablotsky, founder, CEO, Imalac

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I stick with one airline, Delta, with which I have built a relationship over the years. I take the first flight out in the morning if I can, and will fly in/out of smaller airports if available. This tactic saves me time, as usually the flights are on schedule.

Deborah Spiegelman, CEO, Miami Children’s Museum

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I believe air travel is fundamentally safe, but go out of my way to choose carriers that have consistently delivered on great customer service and on-time arrivals — for me as well as for our associates who travel.

Steve Upshaw, CEO, Cross Country Home Services

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