Travel industry telecoms hit by ash chaos

Travel industry telecoms hit by ash chaos

The travel industry has seen telephone call volumes jump as high as 700 per cent as passengers stranded by the Icelandic ash cloud deluge them with calls.

Leading business telecoms provider Elite Telecom reports that airlines, tour operators and hotels have needed urgent assistance with unprecedented levels of phone traffic generated by the prolonged closure of airspace and widespread cancellation of flights.

Matt Newing, chief executive of Elite Telecom, said that the increase in the number and length of calls has required extra technology to help cover.

He said: “It’s an enormous leap in the number of inbound telephone calls that we deliver. With some clients seeing a sixfold rise we have had to install extra services such as call queuing to help them deal with the volume.

“Even bringing extra staff in and lengthening call centre hours won’t cover an increase of that magnitude so we have had to split traffic and route it to other call centres.

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“Unlike previous delays due to snow or bad weather, it’s not a waiting game. Flights have been cancelled outright, so passengers are spending longer on the phone with agents to either rebook or get a refund, rather than simply ringing for information about the delays. This has a clear knock-on effect on call centres’ capacity to cope.

“Our 24 hour customer support team have been working through the night with customers in the travel sector to ensure that that their telecoms systems can cope.”

Elite Telecom, provide business telecoms services to a range of multinational travel and tourism clients, including AirFrance/KLM, Czech Airlines and Stena Line.