It’s easy to make decisions when times are good. When there is no urgency. When everyone sees the world through a crystal-clear lens. It’s a different story during a crisis. When the path forward is fraught with questions and every decision seems to demand impossible urgency … that’s when the real character of a company and its people is revealed.
Todd Hernandez understands this. Now more than ever.
Todd is a customer service supervisor for Collins Aerospace’s ARINCDirect International Trip Support, in Houston, TX. He and his team focus on pre-trip consultations, inflight services, post-flight support for international flights, and bringing it all together in the online ARINCDirect Flight Manager.
“Pilots have enough to worry about during the flight itself,” said Todd. “There’s the weather in route, fuel prices in multiple currencies, visa and passport requirements, security, special fees, where to park the aircraft, how to get to a hotel … the details are endless. Our job is to take the worry out of everything else related to the flight. We give pilots the data they need so they can remain focused on one thing—the safety and security of their aircraft.”
But in February 2020, the world of ARINCDirect International Trip Support changed. Suddenly, pilots were flooding Todd and his team with questions that required additional support and an immediate response. “We’re hearing about something over here. We need help getting home!”
It was COVID-19.
Airports were shutting down. Countries were shutting down. Almost overnight, Todd and his team were managing customer service issues at a scale and magnitude that they couldn’t have imagined just one month before.
Help. That was the operative word. And that universal customer need—born of COVID-19—led to the creation of the ARINCDirect COVID-19 Help Desk. A value-added service that now gives pilots a sense of safety and certainty in a very uncertain time.
Today, Todd and his team in Houston field calls on every aspect of international travel that they did before COVID-19. But now they also handle aviation questions specific to one of the deadliest global viruses in history.
“Right now we’re working a lot of humanitarian flights,” Todd said. “We’re helping pilots fly into other countries to pick up healthcare supplies and deliver them back to their own countries for doctors and nurses on the front lines. In fact, we’re doing this for a flight from the U.S. to The United Arab Emirates and back to the U.S. And it’s tricky because some borders are closed. Some countries require quarantining of pilots and passengers in-country before they’re allowed to proceed with their flight. So it’s a question of where can the flight stop en route and does the flight need to go around certain countries. At the COVID-19 Help Desk we’re answering a lot of new questions.”
The demand for additional support and an immediate response—this is the new normal at the ARINCDirect COVID-19 Help Desk. Part of this new normal is that through May 31, 2020, ARINCDirect International Trip Support is waiving certain international trip support fees for qualifying COVID-19 related humanitarian flights.
But, at its heart, Todd Hernandez doesn’t really think anything has changed. “It’s all part of delivering information and solving problems,” said Todd. “I’ve never seen my team more motivated and enthusiastic. It just feels really good to be able to help.”
And in the process they’re revealing the character of a company and its people.
Collins Aerospace is part of Raytheon Technologies, which is using its manufacturing capacity, and engineering, logistics and finance expertise, to carry out initiatives that serve our communities, deliver on our commitments to our customers and protect our employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.