Superior airport customer service can seem like an urban legend. However, there are some airports breaking the myth and providing passengers with a five star customer experience or at least try. This is what we like to call excellent airport customer service.
The Airports Council International (ACI), a nonprofit organization based in Montreal with 591 members operating in 1,861 airports in 177 countries, surveys some 550,000 passengers each year to find out passenger satisfaction levels with their on-the-day experience at those airports participating in the program.
We think airports that care about our layover focus on what is important to passengers, not just to the airport. Providing simple things like a clean restroom or an inviting and uncomplicated atmosphere is essential to a happy airport experience.
Some airports like Duluth International Airport have even promised to deliver superior airport customer service via their “Above & Beyond Service Pledge.” Now that’s great airport customer service!
10 things airports do that show excellent airport customer service
1. They care about the special needs of people passing through.
No two travellers is the same. Some are experienced road warriors while other are first timers and some even travel with a group of young kids. We think superior airport customer service is able to cater to the unique needs of every traveller.
Airport customer service: London’s Heathrow trains airport staff on how to help travellers suffering with the complexities and anxiety of dementia. While Gatwick Airport has become an Autism Friendly airport and their staff has been specially trained to help assist autistic passengers.
2. They communicate and reply via social media.
Nowadays we can use our smart phone or laptop and access all the information we need instantly. We can send an email or tweet a request. Airports that have responsive customer service show us they care about our experience.
3. They have airport customer service programs.
Airport customer service: DFW Airport has an airport customer service certificate.
4. They involve the community and are doing good for others.
Airport customer service: Sydney Airport auctions off lost luggage and gives the funds to charity; Dubai Airports’ latest charity campaign has raised AED1.25 million (US$ 340,600) for international eye care charity Orbis; and Toronto Pearson Airport collects money to fund location organizations making good things fly.
5. They have hydration stations.
We know airports are a costly place to step in. But a basic human need like water is prime price! There are many airport that have set up various hydration stations so you no longer have to feel parched or dish out premium dollars.
Airport customer service: SFO’s Hydration Stations are located post-security in all Boarding Areas, Denver International Airport has four stations on each concourse, and recently we found many airport hydration stations in Philadelphia Airport.
6. They have airport therapy dog programs.
7. They have great airport design and are sustainable.
Airport customer service: San Diego International Airport is incubating The Good Traveler, a non-profit project that aims to “make travel sustainable” with the goal of making a positive impact on our environment.
8. They provide healthy eating options.
Forget bad airport food and the stale pre-wrapped sandwich. Many airports around the world are providing much better options than they have in the past.
Airport customer service: Miami International Airport has many places to eat fresh food and so so many airports around the world.
9. They have clean bathrooms.
The bathroom could be a decent place to escape from airport insanity. It’s a good time to brush your teeth, do you hair, or fix your make-up. So walking into a dirty bathroom will just generate a sad face. Boo hoo.
10. They provide us with entertainment.
Airport customer service: Some airports have live music you can trance into, a piano you can play, even circus performers so you can laugh a bit.
We are obsessed with happy and airports that care make our layover more humane. Airport therapy dogs, clean bathrooms and circus performers could help ease tensions, but many of us may not even notice while racing through the airport hustle.
For those who have bit more time embrace those things going on at airports, change the myth to a dream come true. After all who wants to be bored and sad before they board?