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Business Traveller (Asia-Pacific) - - CONTENTS -

16 Your let­ters and on­line posts

It is fas­ci­nat­ing to read com­plaints by the CEOs of the three ma­jor US air­lines about the com­pe­ti­tion from nonUS air­lines, in par­tic­u­lar Mid­dle East air­lines. They have a lot to say about al­leged gov­ern­ment sub­si­dies to such air­lines but choose to ig­nore the sup­port they get from their own gov­ern­ment. They prob­a­bly use these ex­cuses to avoid talk­ing about rea­sons the trav­el­ling public have to avoid their ser­vices…

On a re­cent Amer­i­can Air­lines flight from Mi­ami to Los Angeles, I wanted to turn on my over­head light so that I could con­tinue read­ing my book – given that no in­di­vid­ual seat-back screens are avail­able, even on a rel­a­tively long flight. The lights didn’t work. I asked a pass­ing flight at­ten­dant for help, but the only an­swer I got was that the lights on my side of the air­craft didn’t work – a mes­sage de­liv­ered in an an­gry and ir­ri­tated tone. The flight at­ten­dants need to be trained in cus­tomer ser­vice and made to un­der­stand that with­out pas­sen­gers, they have no jobs.

Be­fore that, I was booked on a United flight from Mi­ami to Wash­ing­ton, con­nect­ing to Europe. The flight was can­celled re­sult­ing in us stand­ing in line for nine hours (!) wait­ing to be served. The United ground staff were ab­so­lutely hor­ri­ble. Ad­di­tion­ally, noth­ing was of­fered to the hun­dreds of pas­sen­gers wait­ing for hours – no wa­ter, noth­ing!

So it can’t be a sur­prise that our com­pany has in­structed our travel agent to en­sure we are never booked on a US air­line when other ser­vices are avail­able, even if that means an ad­di­tional trans­fer some­where.

US air­lines – stop com­plain­ing and start pro­vid­ing ser­vice. Make pas­sen­gers feel they are ap­pre­ci­ated, treat them with re­spect. Teach cabin crew to smile and look as if they ac­tu­ally like be­ing there, and ed­u­cate check-in staff of the im­por­tance of be­ing friendly and po­lite.

That is what other in­ter­na­tional air­lines con­cen­trate on, in par­tic­u­lar Mid­dle East car­ri­ers, so no won­der they are pre­ferred over the US car­ri­ers. Jef­frey Car­swell, Copen­hagen

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