Monthly Archives: April 2013

I travel quite a bit, as much as 1-2 times per week albeit primarily regional travel.

As such though I spend more time in airports than I would prefer and am always looking for opportunities to minimize time in line ups, minimize baggage and minimize any other aggravation.

Many of you road warriors probably use electronic boarding passes. I used to, but then didn’t as I was frustrated with my phone’s (iPhone at the time, but others too) constantly changing orientation depending on how you (or the security agent, boarding gate agent, etc.) were holding the phone.

But I tried something new that worked pretty well: essentially I was able to (on my Windows Phone) isolate the QR Code portion of my electronic boarding pass and pin it to my home screen. This way I can simply hand my phone to the agent, they scan and I go (although I’ve been stopped a few times by agents with, “what KIND of phone is that!? That’s cool!” as a result of this… which has caused it’s own delays!).

And this is what it looks like:


Don’t have a Windows Phone 8? Too bad … you’re out of luck, but if you do, this is how you can do it:

Step 1: Receive your Electronic Boarding Pass

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Step 2: Zoom in on the QR Code so that it fills the entire width of your phone’s screen.


Step 3: Pin the page to your Start Screen


Voila! The agent can easily scan the QR Code, the phone isn’t jumping around between portrait and landscape orientation and you get to show off the phone (and photos of your gorgeous wife).

If you need the boarding pass details, simply click/press on the QR Code since it is also a shortcut to the boarding pass.


By the way, if you DON’T zoom in on the QR code in Step 2 you will get the following (which is often too small for them to scan).

wp_ss_20130424_0002 wp_ss_20130424_0001

I love simple ideas that seem so obvious after-the-fact, but have real and immediate impact to business problems.

This was one of those solutions and the problem is fairly common, even outside of this industry.

We’ve all experienced it. You show up at 7pm at a restaurant that you have your heart set on only to be told by the host that it may be a 1hr or more wait. So you walk away, cursing yourself for not making a reservation and maybe even going to your smart phone to search for alternatives in the neighbourhood (having just paid $20 to park your car).

The Cactus Club ( is a mid-market Western Canadian restaurant chain that serves fairly standard urban fare, with a slightly up tempo atmosphere. A recent opening of a high profile location (Cactus Coal Harbour), being as busy as you would expect of any opening in downtown Vancouver, threatened to steal business from several other downtown Cactus Club locations, but when asked about the impact to the nearest location (Cactus Bentall), the manager exclaimed, “actually we’re up 20%!”.

The reason is simple and something that I think we can learn from. They took the popular opening of a new location, the obvious seating limitations and the resulting prospect of turning away paying customers and created a boon to their other locations.

The solution? They hired a sedan/car service, which was on stand-by on busy nights so that instead of apologizing for an unreasonably long wait, a host could simply offer an option: “At the moment we’re looking at a 60min or more wait. However, I’ve taken the liberty of confirming a table at one of our other two nearby locations and have a car service right outside the door waiting to drive you straight there. We’ll even pick you up when you’re finished. Which location would you prefer?”


That is the type of experience that people talk about … and not only did they rescue their $50+/seat in revenue that would have otherwise walked away, but they likely have influenced future buying decisions for quite some time to come. The cost? Based on contract rates … I’m guessing in the ~$10 per roundtrip neighbourhood.

I wonder if those people felt “rejected”, having been essentially turned away from the restaurant of their choice, or did they feel like VIPs having been delivered “door-to-door”, ushered in to a table already waiting for them?

I think this scenario plays out in many other industries. In the consulting business we often have to “break bad news” to customers in terms of options, opportunities, risk/issues or other impacts and constraints. The difference though is to have an immediate solution (or several) available that has the effect of creating delight.

The car service was a no brainer. I wonder if I would have thought of that?