These Airlines Are Upping Their Customer Service Game. Here’s How.

How did Korean Air become one of the best international airlines for customer service?

A recent visit to the airline’s corporate headquarters in a suburb of Seoul offers a few clues.

It looks like a moving day. Construction crews are working in the hallways, and parts of the building are closed off entirely.

“We’re making some improvements,” says the airline’s chief marketing officer, Kenneth Chang.

But spend a little time at HQ, and it quickly becomes clear why Korean Air is a customer favorite. In the break room, there’s talk of the company’s new business class section and its acquisition of Asiana Airlines, which will create the world’s seventh-largest airline.

And there’s a recurring theme, no matter who you talk to. All these changes, disruptive as they may be, will result in one thing: Passengers will love it.

On the brink of the busiest summer in aviation history, there’s been plenty of focus on the downside of air travel. The high fares. The long lines. The lack of personal space.

But which airlines are doing it right?

Here are a few examples of international airlines that are charting a more customer-friendly course.

Korean Air

South Korea’s flag carrier has always had a customer-first service culture. If you’re on one of its transpacific flights, you can see it in the attention to detail — the meals, the amenity kits, the attentive service.

Korean Air has a reputation for treating all of its passengers well, no matter where they’re sitting on the plane. For example, the airline includes a checked and carry-on bag in the price of its ticket, regardless of class of service.

But there’s a sense that in the last year, Korean Air has upped its game. In talking with Korean Air’s executives, the airline realized that customer service was one of the things that set it apart from its competition, even other Asian carriers. So it decided to double down on creating an even better customer service experience.

Korea Air is also changing. It is currently awaiting approval from U.S. regulators to merge with Asiana, which also has a reputation for excellent customer service. There are high hopes that the new airline will combine the best aspects of both carriers.

British Airways

After years of fading popularity, British Airways is flying high again. The airline recently announced a $9 billion overhaul of its aircraft. British Airways is adding new seats to its short-haul Airbus A320neo and A321neo jets, as well as new first-class seats on its long-haul A380s.

Experts say these changes are welcome and note that the recent improvements have been underway for a while. British Airways was widely criticized for the way it handled customer service during the pandemic. Customers have noticed a change in the air, which includes improved service and an overall better flight experience.

Air France

Passengers say they love Air France’s service — and yes, there’s the food! — but they particularly liked the airline’s business class service.

“It’s all about French luxury and unmatched service — and, of course, amazing French cuisine,” says OvationNetwork travel advisor Joseph Singer. “I would say it’s the best service in the sky by far.”

The customer service improvements are the likely result of an in-house campaign called “Our caring attitude is our signature.” In late 2022, Air France positioned its customer service as one of its most important assets, according to the company.

“We also set up co-creation workshops with staff aimed at identifying and sharing best practices,” says Fabien Pelous, the airline’s senior vice president of customer experience.

Lufthansa

Lufthansa also fell out of favor with passengers during the pandemic, but it is back. Passengers said they appreciated the airline’s responsiveness to their needs. That includes any problems that might come up before, during or after the flight.

Lufthansa says its top priority in 2023 was improving customer experience. This year, it is investing 4.5 billion euros in new aircraft, seats and lounges, as well as improved culinary and digital offerings, in order to increase customer satisfaction.

Emirates

Emirates has been relentlessly improving its customer service for years. Back in 2022, it introduced a new program to deliver what it calls “signature” moments that create positive memories and feelings for Emirates’ customers. It’s an ambitious program that includes everything from seats to food presentation. That program has paid off: Customers have raved about Emirates’ service. Emirates is also quick to fix any post-flight customer service issues. Indeed, I can’t remember the last time anyone complained to me about an Emirates flight.

How do you know if you’re flying on an airline with great customer service?

Of course, there are many other international airlines with excellent customer service. How do you know you’re flying on one? Here are some questions to ask:

How do they communicate?

“The more avenues of communication they make easily available to passengers, the more likely their customer service will be good,” says airline compensation expert Anton Radchenko, CEO of AirAdvisor. If the airline communicates via phone, text, or WhatsApp, that can be a good sign. Also, look at the airport self-service kiosks. If there are enough of them, it means the airline cares about a good customer service experience.

Do they pay attention to the details?

“Does the business class have full lie-flat seating?” says Denver-based travel advisor Mitch Krayton. “Do you have lounge access within reasonable reach of your gates?” Attention to these little details can indicate that the airline will also ensure a better customer service experience. If the business class seats are just economy class seats that have extra legroom, and if there is no lounge — watch out.

What do the pros think of the airline?

“Travel advisors have in-depth knowledge about various airlines,” says travel coach Lynda Brandt. “This entails not only gaining personal experience by flying with different carriers but also actively researching and assessing reviews to determine the best airline options for specific routes as requested by clients.” In other words, if your travel advisor endorses the airline, that’s usually a good sign.

Finding an airline with top-flight customer service can be a challenge, but with a little help from a professional travel advisor and careful research, you can choose the right carrier for your next international trip.

Article source: https://airlines.einnews.com/article/718343835/tVIGKFXDquACN8Js?ref=rss&ecode=vaZAu9rk30b8KC5H

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