Unity Airways: Chris Watson (a)

3 Pages Posted: 23 Jun 2009

See all articles by Sherwood C. Frey

Sherwood C. Frey

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Lucien L. Bass

University of Virginia


Chris Watson, a customer service representative at Unity Airways, had just begun to address the rebooking of Melissa White, one of the almost 100 passengers whose itineraries would have to change due to an in-flight emergency with a Washington-Chicago flight. White's ultimate destination was Hong Kong; unfortunately, all the available rebooking alternatives involved at least a one-day delay in her arrival. Watson needed to take care of White's needs as expeditiously as possible; the customer service queue still had 25 passengers in it.



Rev. March 16, 2009


It was another busy day for Chris Watson at Dulles International Airport in suburban Washington, D.C. The winter holiday season was approaching and air travel was beginning to move toward another peak. Watson had been a customer service representative at Unity Airways for seven years.

A flight originally destined for Chicago O'Hare was returning to Dulles due to engine failure. It would be a long afternoon, especially with that day's understaffed customer service team. Even though he was experienced in dealing with passengers, it was becoming increasingly difficult to satisfy them because they were becoming more demanding even as the airline's budget was tightening. In recent years, Unity Airways had become more cost-conscious and had begun restricting the amount of discretion available to customer service representatives in accommodating passengers' needs. Customer service representatives were advised to be understanding and empathic with customers and to provide reasonable flight adjustments in accordance with the guidelines given to them during the company's annual training session. The “unspoken” rule was not to give extra upgrades, coupons, refunds, accommodations, or transportation unless the passenger asked, keeping in mind the airline's tight budget.

General Guidelines

. . .

Keywords: negotiations, two-party negotiations

Suggested Citation

Frey, Sherwood C. and Bass, Lucien L., Unity Airways: Chris Watson (a). Darden Case No. UVA-QA-0723, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1423309

Sherwood C. Frey (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.darden.virginia.edu/faculty/frey.htm

Lucien L. Bass

University of Virginia ( email )

1400 University Ave
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

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