Embracing change at PSS cutover with Frank Martin and the East
We are only a few weeks away from another integration milestone. On April 25, Virgin America merges into Alaska’s passenger service system (PSS) and 29 stations transition to Alaska branding, making us one airline in the eyes of our guests.
MD of the east Frank Martin is leading the charge for stations east of the Mississippi. Preparations for changes at ticket counters, coordinating co-locations, and continuing to support people as they build relationships are top priority.
“To name a few, DCA just went through a physical change, JFK is collocating from two terminals to one, people are working side by side in Newark… ORD has some physical changes coming up too, the list of prep goes on.” said Martin.
Through all this, local leaders are focusing on getting people together because getting to know each other “is key” to working well together, Martin explained.
Preparing the East
PSS cutover is a big “bullseye” on our leadership calendar, explains Frank. In preparation, eastern stations are wrapping up table tops and preparations for environmental changes are underway.
Yet, Frank recognizes that on-the-job training (OJT) can produce some anxiety.
“We’re learning a new computer system, and people are bound to be nervous. But it’s like riding a bike. You need to think about it pretty hard the first few times, but with practice, it starts to feel natural.
Beyond PSS cutover
Frank is looking forward to bringing everyone together as a solidified team, honing top performance, and providing a great customer experience.
“The east wants to feed the west very happy guests. We want to cultivate that western vibe and provide a consistent Alaska brand experience across the country.”
PSS marks about an 80 percent completion point for the integration, so Frank stresses that PSS cutover isn’t the finish line.
“The airline industry is ever-evolving, and the PSS milestone just gives our two airlines a uniform platform from which we can jump together. It’s that culture of change that will keep us ahead of the curve.”
In fact, changing together is a mantra of Martin’s, and he is determined to leave no one behind as transitions take place.
“It’s different to be the initiator of change than it is the recipient of change. I’ve learned how important it is to pause and take the time to evaluate change from both sides and make sure everyone is on the same page.”