left corner left corner
China Daily Website  

Storm-delayed flight offers a much-needed lesson in service

Updated: 2015-08-21 10:47
By Huang Xiangyang (China Daily)

As I was doubting the efficacy of this slip of paper, which I was supposed to show to the airline's staff in Kunming for a flight change, box meals and bottled water were dished out.

Meanwhile a broadcaster kept updating passengers with the latest flight information. To my relief our flight was finally on its way, after several hours of delay.

We touched down in Kunming at 10 pm, and the first thing we did was rush to our airline's counter to find out the next, earliest flight available.

I had prepared for the worst: if there were no flights to Beijing the next morning, I would opt for a flight to a neighboring city like Tianjin, where I hoped I could then change to a high-speed train to make it home on time.

The airline staff at the counter looked worn out, and were being bombarded by anxious passengers seeking help of all sorts. But their efficiency was unparalleled.

When it was my turn, I presented the woman behind the counter with the paper note, and in seconds she checked her computer and told me I could take the first flight the next morning, with no additional charges.

She then asked me to wait for her colleagues to take me and the other passengers in a similar situation to a hotel nearby for the night, all expenses paid.

Too often in the past I have listened to criticism of Chinese airlines for their poor service. I have read many reports about agitated passengers, when flights are delayed, getting embroiled in scuffles with airline staff.

Recently a report by Civil Aviation Data Analysis, a Chinese organization that tracks on-time performances, ranked Chinese carriers among the least punctual in the world.

But throughout my journey I could hardly find any excuse to even lodge a complaint.

Call me easily satisfied. But in a country where air traffic has been growing annually by double digits in recent years, with as many as 400 million trips made via domestic airlines in 2014 alone, what more can you expect?

In some cases, flight delays should not be blamed on the airlines.

My flight back to Beijing the next morning was behind schedule, again, this time for an hour, not by weather but by 10 passengers failing to show up on time. Their luggage had to be unloaded and our flight missed its time slot.

But all's well that ends well.

As I sat down to start my first day back at work, on time, I spared a moment of thanks to Chinese airlines.

Contact the writer at huangxiangyang@chinadaily.com.cn

Previous Page 1 2 Next Page

  • Group a building block for Africa

    An unusually heavy downpour hit Durban for two days before the BRICS summit's debut on African soil, but interest for a better platform for emerging markets were still sparked at the summit.