Have you ever noticed that whenever you travel there always seems to be a person, wearing a suit and carrying a walkie-talkie that seems to be everywhere at once? That’ll be the Duty Manager, and at Gatwick, Nik Glennon-Farris is that man. Nik has worked for Virgin Atlantic for over 20 years. He started off at Heathrow, first as a clubhouse agent, and then caring for our VIPs and celebrities before moving to check in and onto airport management.
We went to meet him at our new North Terminal home as he got his team ready for the busy summer months ahead.
What does a day look like?
No two days look the same for Nik, with each bringing new challenges and new people. However, he’ll begin each morning by having a conference call with everyone servicing our flights that day: our operations team, engineers, caterers, security, check-in agent, Virgin Holidays, Cargo, our handling agent Swissport and our Clubhouse team.
The goal of the briefing is to make sure everyone’s ready and motivated to carry out our great customer service to all who come through the terminal doors. Nik walks from gate to gate, making sure the flights are running smoothly and helping with any issues as they arise. Multitasking is a key part of the job description; he has to be ready for anything that could happen. When the flights have all departed, he then needs to analyse Gatwick’s performance for the day, before preparing for the following day’s flights.
Our new home in the North Terminal
It’s a few months now since we moved into our new home. Despite saying a tearful goodbye to the South Terminal, the feedback from both customers and our people has been fantastic. The dedication and long hours involved in moving to our current location have definitely proved worthwhile. “This light and spacious check in area is a fantastic way for customers to start their holiday, and a brilliant working environment for our team”, says Nik. With outstanding facilities and short walks to the gates, our On Time Performance has improved enormously, along with our Net Promoter Score (customer satisfaction rating).
What makes Gatwick so special?
Nik is incredibly proud of his Gatwick team and their consistently high customer ratings: “The secret of our success is that our people really bring their personalities to work, bounce off of each other, and have a bit of fun and look after one another,” he says.
As with any airline, the biggest challenge is keeping everyone happy during the occasional delay. It’s not unusual for Nik and the team to take a different approach: he’s even been known to nip down the shops and buy 400 cookies to surprise our customers. The entire team are passionate about connecting with customers and making sure their holiday begins as soon as they arrive at the airport, rather than once they touch down at their destination. It’s an approach that explains why we often see so many familiar faces at check-in.
Looking forward to summer
Summer at Gatwick is our busiest time of year, with lots of travelling families. Nik and his team are stress reduction experts, who along with volunteers from our offices will be on hand to answer questions and help give you the best start to your holiday.