Serving our customers and running our airline has taken on many new faces throughout the pandemic. For Lucy Mak, Head of Global Airports, it meant a whole variety of things outside her typical job description - from hunting down laboratory accreditations, to making hotel bookings, to creating a whole new system to help passengers check in.
The travel restrictions that have came into force during the pandemic were strict, confusing and subject to constant change. This caused many issues for customers and airport colleagues alike – with some passengers being caught out and denied travel.
“The Hong Kong Port Health Authority restrictions had particularly specific requirements for the data and the wording,” explained Mak. “For example, the name of the passenger on the test report and travel documents had to be an exact match. If a Hong Kong person added their English name to one but not the other, it would not be accepted as a valid test report.
“Another example was the requirement to have the sample collection time stated: not when the test was taken, but when the sample was collected. Or proof that the laboratory is ISO15189 accredited: but it wasn’te enough for the laboratory to state that themselves, they needed separate documentary proof” explained Mak. “You can get a sense of how difficult it was for customers as well as the airport teams to check all these documents.”
In the early days, Mak and her Live Support teams leapt into action to help customers in every way possible - from trawling the internet to find all information available to calling labs for the correct data - but it quickly became apparent that there was a limit to what could be done at the check-in counter.