Directly Explaining and Apologizing to Customers for Delays
Gate Announcements by Mechanics
Line Maintenance Department, Line Maintenance Office 4
JAL Narita Aircraft Maintenance Co., Ltd.
In July 2006, JAL began a new initiative at Narita Airport. When there is a mechanical delay of an hour or more, a mechanic goes to the boarding gate to explain the situation to passengers*1. The idea for this effort actually came from the mechanics themselves, in order to explain the reason for a delay and help alleviate customer concerns. Considering that we usually have little contact with passengers, we do feel nervous to appear in person at the gate. However, I think it is important to experience the frustration of customers, and work harder to ensure more thorough maintenance.
Nothing makes me happier than to finish a repair and tell the passengers that their flight is safe for boarding.
*1. There were 17 gate announcements by mechanics in fiscal 2006, and 23 in fiscal 2007. In addition to Narita, these measures are also being carried out at Haneda, Kansai, and Shin-Chitose Airports Taking the customer’s perspective does not only apply to service. Basic quality improvements to air travel as a means of transportation also form the core of customer expectations. Passengers want air travel to be safe, on time, and hassle free.
In fiscal 2007, JAL achieved substantial improvements in its on-time departure rates (the percentage of planes that left within 15 minutes of their scheduled departure time), compared to the previous year, with a 95.4% on-time departure rate on domestic Japanese routes and an 88.8% rate for international routes. JAL is working to create timetables that allow aircraft to operate as efficiently as possible. Accordingly, everyone from the airport service staff to the head-office timetable planning department is working together to achieve the best on-time departure rate performance.
Safety is JAL’s top priority, so sometimes delays are unavoidable. In order to reduce customer stress caused by long delays, the JAL Group puts effort into providing accurate, timely flight information. For example, JAL’s email notification service was further improved in fiscal 2007. When weather is likely to impact regularly scheduled flights on domestic Japanese routes, passengers registered for the service receive advance email notification. There is also an information service for people who are seeing off or picking up JAL passengers on international routes. When there is a flight delay, the service allows friends and family to obtain the latest arrival and departure information.