As most of you know last year I transitioned into a wheelchair – this year I’ve been getting air travel figured out, which has been pretty interesting.
A flying disabled person ends up with a surprising list of equipment including all sorts of laminated tags that explain how your chair works. You can take your own chair and check it like baggage or you can keep your own chair right until you get on the plane. You can use the airline transfer chair or if you are ambulatory like I am you can bring your own crutch canes for transfers.
Different airports and airlines can vary but the one thing that is consistent is that you need to get there early. Very very early. You’ll need to find the special services desk and it’s a fun filled adventure but that isn’t what I’m here to talk about today.
As a result of always being at the gate approximately one bazillion years before my flights I’ve had the chance to observe some of the background operations of airlines I had never seen before. Since I’m the first person on and the last person off every time I fly I’ve even gotten to the point where I can tell the difference between airport ground crew and airline personnel.
Today the airlines are building the titanic every day and that got me thinking about the web.
Did I just lose you? Bear with me for just a second and it’ll all make sense, I promise.
See the airlines have these little cages at the gates to show you how big your carry on bags can be – you’ve probably seen them, and you’ve probably noticed lots of folks kind of ignore them.
What you might not know is that if every passenger actually uses the maximum allotted space not even half the bags would actually fit on the plane. Then end result of this law of physics is the gate check cha-cha where customers battle for space as they board with at least a few people always getting upset that there is no room for their stuff.
I’ve learned about this because I have a bunch of stuff I carry on that is “protected” by the flight crew, it’s considered (and mostly is) part of my wheelchair equipment. So yup, all four of those bags in the overhead bin are mine and no you can’t move them – sorry about that. The end result is anger and chaos. People panic, chaos is caused – and we’ve all seen plenty of news about the stress folks are under on airplanes recently.
The thing that amazes me is that there is always someone who freaks out about the lack of space– the system is designed in such a way as to make sure that always happens. All day every day they launch the Titanic, there are not enough lifeboats for the passengers.
This is actually the same thing that happens when websites create a “unredeemable offer”. There is a fine line between a ‘limited time offer’ and creating a stampede.
Here’s the bottom line for Internet Entrepreneurs: when you make offers to your customers consider if they might be “titanic” marketing – if it isn’t possible for everyone to successfully redeem the offer you’ll spook the crowd. I’m not saying it isn’t possible to intelligently create a great sense of urgency but please make sure it’s done intentionally so that you know it if you are creating Titanic conditions when you make your digital offerings.
In the meantime you can find me patiently waiting to deplane while enjoying a bag of blue potato chips.