Singapore Airlines and All Nippon Airways impress on the telephone

I DREAD calling the airlines – any airlines as a matter of fact – to check on anything. Chances are you will end up burning your ear listening ad nauseam to repeated cycles of the same music, advertising bombardment and vain promises of how you would be attended to in a minute because your call is important to them.

So it was only yesterday when I had to brace myself for the distress when I had to call three airlines different airlines for seat requests because of the multiple connections.

Air Canada

I was able to shuttle between tasks and fix myself a simple lunch while waiting for some assistance. I could have given up, but it would only mean having to wait at the end of the line all over again. Thankfully the customer service officer that came on was patient and efficient.

Singapore Airlines (SIA)

My previous experiences had not been worthy of any mention, but this time I was in blue heaven! You amazed me, SIA! I received assistance with the first ring, and the customer service officer was most polite, patient, helpful and thorough. He brought me through the drill to make sure that I had not forgotten anything. I like to think – and I hope so from now on – this is the standard that will stand SIA out in its telephone service, as in the case of its inflight service.

All Nippon Airways (ANA)

No less impressive; help came with the first ring. The customer service officer was equally efficient. I am looking forward to the flight. First impressions count.

I had given up hope long ago that this last bastion of the airline service for improvement was a hard nut to crack, suspecting it was primarily because it was not an area of priority. But it adds to the total flying experience. And SIA and ANA have shown that a gold standard can be achieved. Interestingly, both are Asian carriers, but I do not think they hold the patent for good service. What they have that many others do not is a corporate customer service culture.

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About David Leo
David Leo has more than 30 years of aviation experience, having served in senior management in one of the world's best airlines and airports. He continues to maintain a keen interest in the business, writes freelance and provides consultancy services in the field.

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