Our experience of customer service this trip has been very educational. There are multiple lessons we have learned and I will be writing about in the upcoming days from varying customer service. To start with, there was our experience of Turkish Airlines, the first time flying with them for either myself or my wife.
Loyalty Through Customer Serviced
We love travel, and are passionate about building relationships with the business people and educators of the Middle East and Africa. As such, discovering that one of the more cost-effective carriers also had excellent customer service was a great way to win our loyalty.
When we walked onto the airplane for our transatlantic flight, a flight attendant walked through the cabin handing out bags of toys for the children. This thoughtful action set apart the airline and reminded me of when Delta would give out wings clips on flights as a kid. I loved and looked forward to that, and I think my kids will remember and look forward to their bags of toys.
These were followed by travel kits for every passenger, including special children travel kits. Each kit included a toothbrush and small toothpaste, eye covers, earplugs, and slippers. I still wear my slippers. The children’s kits could be folded into the pouch they came in, or unfolded into a backpack.
Just this thoughtfulness made the flight with Turkish Airlines a memorable one. The entertainment options were another plus, as the podcasts, music for sleeping and meditation, movies, and games could have easily occupied us for multiple flights.
Finally, we received 3 meals in 2 flights with Turkish Airlines. Airplane food is always a trick to get well, but Turkish Airlines does their best. My favorite by far was the chicken curry on our flight from Istanbul to Cairo. I have not been on an airline based in the United States that had a full meal for a 2 and a half hour flight since I was little.
Because of this customer service (combined with a reasonably priced ticket), we will likely fly Turkish Airlines for many years, as long as they keep up that level of customer service and are flying to and from the cities we need to go to.
Areas of Improvement
You do not have to have perfect customer service in order to build brand loyalty. Areas I think Turkish Airlines could improve include integrating online check-in with their Star Alliance Partners. They can improve the Istanbul Airport for faster loading times on the airplane.
Our experience with check-in was odd because there was little communication between the Jet Blue system (our first flight) and Turkish Airlines. But, once we got to the Turkish Airlines desk at Boston Logan International Airport, we were able to check everything through. And, all our luggage arrived safely.
Our experience with the Istanbul Airport had to do with a 40 minute delay and bussing us out to the tarmac to load the plane. But, they are building an entirely new airport (planned to be the biggest in the world) so the loading experience should be improved once that is opened.
What about you? Have you experienced innovative customer service that earned your loyalty? Have had a different or similar experience with Turkish Airlines?