A Lesson From The Far East

Fri Oct 27, 2000 3:44 am

I have just returned from a trip that invovled flying on KLM, Northwest and Cathay. All of these flights were in business class and it was interesting to compare the level of service that was offered by the diferrent airlines.

The winner for providing the highest level of service must go to Cathay Pacific. The cabin crew were attentive without being obtrusive and they certainly lived up to the reputation of Asian service. I have also flown with Singapore and Malaysia and once again they displayed similar levels of service.

On the KLM flight, the service was efficient but it simply lacked creativity. On NW, some of the crew did provide a professional and attentive service but overall, I received the impression that they treat the flight as a social club and that passengers should be grateful for the minimum level of service.

We frequently hear so much about the service culture in the US, but from my experiences both on the ground and on US airlines, I am beginning to believe that it is just a rumour.

Perhaps, the Americans and Europeans and in particular the airlines should look to the Far East for tips on how to offer excellent service?


RE: A Lesson From The Far East

Fri Oct 27, 2000 8:39 am

I should say so Bcl! And that's all I have to say...
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Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2000 4:33 am

RE: A Lesson From The Far East

Fri Oct 27, 2000 8:56 am

Personal list, in-flight service, intercontinental flights:
1. Singapore
2. Thai
3. BA
4. KLM, Air France, Lufthansa
6. Finnair, SAS, Air Canada
Rock Bottom: Northwest, and most other North American Carriers.

Worst ever:
Canadian Airlines

There are many companies I've never flown with, so this list will never earn me a price of objectivity!

On a personal note: Code sharing stinks!
Trains and boats and planes....
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RE: A Lesson From The Far East

Sat Oct 28, 2000 3:44 am

Bcl, I have to agree with your comments and observations. From my many experiences flying on the american airlines, I have also formed the opinion that they just do not know or understand the concept of service. All too often, I receive the impression that I should be grateful for receiving any form of service and that the flight is just an opportunity for the FA's to catch up on the gossip with their friends.

For outstanding service, then I definately recommend flying with one of the Far Eastern carriers such as SQ.

if you require service, then definately avoid flying on an American airline.
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Joined: Sun Aug 20, 2006 4:45 am

RE: A Lesson From The Far East

Tue Oct 31, 2000 4:01 am

Yes, I agree with the comments about the poor service in America and on its many airlines.

For many years, I was led to beleive that America was the Land of Service and I beleived that this also applied to its airlines. Since my first visit and flight, I now realsie that they (Americans) have a lot to learn about offering good service. I have now flown with all of the major American airlines in all classes and so far I have yet to find one that offers anything like good service.
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RE: A Lesson From The Far East

Tue Oct 31, 2000 6:48 pm

I believe this has to do with a shortage of qualified staff on the American job market. The only requirements you have to meet currently is having a pulse.
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Joined: Thu Jun 01, 2000 11:50 pm

RE: A Lesson From The Far East

Tue Oct 31, 2000 11:54 pm

The low level of service on American carriers has nothing to do with the full employment economy we have in the US today (come back in 4 years with a Bush presidency and I'm sure it will be a different matter (So shoot me for making a political comment !!)).
We have always had lousy levels of service in our airlines in comparison with Asian and good European carriers. Pan Am and TWA in the 1980s offered a disgraceful level of service on their international routes, and the trend continues today with a few exceptions (Delta's Biz Elite, UA' s Transatlantic Business Class). I've heard that CO is good, but Ive never flown them. In any case, Asian carriers always offered better service than their American counterparts, partly because of the reputation that Asian countries wanted to create for themselves via their flag carriers, and partly because of the standards created early on in the 1960s and 70s by carriers like JAL and Singapore.

On domestic routes in the US, air travel is seen as a mundane ordinary act. Thus, we've come to accept minimal levels of service. Frankly, I'm not sure if the average business traveller flying within the US today even wants all the fuss. For instance when I fly between Boston and DC (a 75 minute flight), all I want is a newspaper, a laptop port and a cold beer, which is usually delivered on a good shuttle flight. On a longer transcon flight most business travellers just want a few more inches of legroom (yes, most of us have to fly coach) and a flight that leaves on time.
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