Chinese government tells airlines: “Improve customer service — or else”

by Janice Hough on July 31, 2008

Perhaps the FAA should consider hiring China’s deputy head of the civil aviation regulator, Yang Guoqing. When passengers get unruly and riot, he places the blame squarely on poor airline customer service. He recently announced that he has had enough with what are apparently “numerous warnings to airlines to treat their passengers (better).”

“We will severely punish airlines which experience aircraft occupations and other incidents as a result of service reasons which originate with the airline,” Mr Guoqing told a news conference. The statement was a directed at poor airline customer service and an “inappropriate working attitude.”

Mr. Guoqing is backing up his order for better customer service with a threat that punishment could “… include canceling slots at corresponding busy airports.”

As reported in Tripso.com earlier this week, the most recent incident in China involved a riot in Kumming, after 170 passengers were stranded by the cancellation of three China Southern flights.

Yang also said airlines must do a better job of informing their passengers about delays. “If there is bad weather, for example, we will tell the media to publicize it so that passengers can be informed ahead of time and avoid long waits at airports due to the weather.”

What a concept. Better advance warning of delays? Sounds like what airline passengers in the United States have been requesting for years.

Clearly, China’s centralized and at times draconian government has the ability to do things that cannot be done elsewhere. But seriously, we are moving closer to an presidential election in the United States. Perhaps both candidates might do well to consider staffing the DOT and FAA with administrators who believe, as Mr.Guoqing does, that things like taking away slots would be valid punishments for airlines who mistreat their passengers.

It’s probably one thing with which voters in both red and blue states would actually agree.

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  • Chester

    I never thought I will say this, but looks like the FAA and the the U.S airline industry could learn a thing or two from China on how to treat passengers in a civil way.

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