Observation / Rant

Bye Microsoft Office 365, Hello Google G Suite

I’ve been an Office 365 user for a number of years now. My main usage was to manage my personal email account/s as I wanted a bit more freedom than what the free providers offer and much more professional looking. I got the Office 365 account without the actual software subscription to Microsoft Office as my girlfriend has that already, so I was paying around let’s say 13 EURs per month for the that package.

A couple of things annoyed me with the Office 365 experience, the main one was how hidden away a lot of the admin elements are. For example I used shared mailboxes to set-up “fake” email addresses that are under my main account to be able to better manage various things such as travel, finance, paypal and newsletters for example. Not only is the option hidden away, but this specific feature is not really supported in many third party email clients (especially on iOS). The second thing that annoyed me was the clunky Outlook.com interface, being big and bold left me wanting more and it reminds me of the UI style introduced with Windows Phone OS. . . . it was hard to manage the multiple accounts and I was put off from day one utilising the web interface.

 

Quick Rant: I think Microsoft really need to overhaul their interface design to be much more minimalistic and pleasing to the eye, without hindering the user. It seems like the current UI was designed by people who don’t actually use the software.

 

So, as of today, I switched to G Suite by Google. This already will save me around 9 EURs per month straight out of the box and the tools on offer are way up my street than what Office 365 offers. The way Google handles “aliases” (Shared Mailbox in Office 365 World) is much friendlier as well and is supported by a nearly all third party email clients (*cough* Airmail) and the interface for the tools are way better! I can also look at how I adapt my workflow now to utilise tools such as Hangouts for consulting sessions as well as tools like Forms. I will for sure look at the Slides application to be able to move my presentation design workflow their as well (my thoughts on the tools coming soon)

Aegean Airlines - Rapid Process Review

This is a new segment which I’m dubbing the not so sexy name of “Rapid Process Review” this is me just highlighting some minor improvements to general processes to make things more efficient and stress free for all involved.

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I recently took 4 flights with Aegean to go from Hamburg to Cyprus and back. Below are my general observations and some recommendations for minor tweaks to make the whole process much more efficient.

 

Boarding Process

It’s nice to see an airline looking at how to streamline the boarding process. Aegean’s approach seems to be in a way in which Business Class and Families go first and then rows 15 to 30 followed by the rest. I think the idea is good but the execution could be improved.


Here are my recommendations:

General you seem to have a two lane set-up, one for Business Class and one for Economy. How about getting rid of the lane for Business Class and have one lane for rows 15 and above and one for 15 and below. Business Class flyers generally will remain seated and only stand once boarding starts, so why have a dedicated lane for them. You could have them cut the line directly at the front mitigating having a separate lane.

 Current Approach 

Current Approach 

 Proposed System

Proposed System

In regards to the economy boarding process, I really like the seating split but no one enforces this and so generally everyone just rushes on and its generally a mess gate side. If you utilized the above mentioned 2 lanes for this, people will already be in these lanes and you can just open one up to board 15 and above first, followed by 15 and below. With the two lane approach I would also still make sure people have the right lane for their seat, if not they should be told to join the back of the other lane, it may annoy some people but that’s what they get for trying to cut the line.


I would also recommend having the gate staff be earlier there, this is a common problem that I see across multiple airlines. The gate staff arrive with only a small windows before boarding starts and they get stressed out due to the time pressure, add the passengers are impatient and annoyed with the boarding process, this can initiate some fiery moments which makes all uncomfortable. Just have them come in good time to the gate to get everything prepared and they can already get the lanes organized and it communicated.


Also you should view this integrating VOX video on plane boarding procedures: 

 

Apple Passbook Ticket

I’m really impressed, Aegean really updates the tickets with the actual gate numbers and any changes that are happening in regards to your flight. The back of there ticket also contains all the information from baggage allowance to take off and landing times. I’ve never had this experience with any other airline (even Lufthansa for example) and I can commend Aegean for being modern and saving me time looking at itinerary boards at the airport. Note: This is based only of 4 separate flights and other flights may vary

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In general I’m really happy with my experience with flying with Aegean and would look forward to doing it again

Morning Commute Observation

Every morning at around 6:20am I arrive at a local train station for my 15ish minute stroll to work. What baffles me is the sheer number of people who are running and pushing to get the next train (this happens everyday) I think this is a terrible way to start the day and they most likely only have to leave around 10 minutes earlier to have a more stress-free start to the day . . . .

Begin the day how you want it to proceed! </rant over>