Lending a Hand to Increasing Numbers of Wheelchair Users
China Airlines has always gone the extra mile to care for our disabled passengers. In order to make trips safer and more convenient for passengers who are disabled or have mobility problems, we set up special service facilities at Counter 9 in Terminal 1 and Counter 12 in Terminal 2 of Taoyuan International Airport. These offer dedicated check-in spaces for passengers with special needs. Besides arranging for ground staff to quickly complete check-in procedures and help passengers to select suitable flight seats, staff describe safe procedures for checking in electric wheelchairs. When travel groups with high numbers of wheelchair users notify us by fax in advance, ground staff also arrange extra wheelchairs and crew members to provide support and reduce waiting times. Since 2019, China Airlines has provided a special waiting area beside the transfer counters for customers with wheelchairs. Updated flight information, support staff, drinks, and snacks are available so these valued customers can comfortably wait for their flight. After collecting passenger feedback, we worked with Taoyuan International Airport Services Co., Ltd. to research additional ways to provide even better wheelchair service. For example, we designed explanatory cards in multiple languages to break down communication barriers, so that passengers who do not speak Chinese or English are still able to clearly understand wheelchair service procedures. The empathy we show puts customers’ minds at ease, letting them enjoy a more pleasant journey.
A Caring, Customer-oriented Approach
When the Ministry of Transportation and Communications filmed a Lunar New Year promotional video, China Airlines offered support by sending employees to take part. The professional, caring image they projected on screen was warmly received. By demonstrating our customer-oriented approach, they let travelers know our commitment to service. China Airlines also participates in the Taoyuan International Airport Aviation Safety Ambassador Contest, as part of our zero tolerance policy towards safety problems and our ongoing efforts to publicize aviation safety. While providing a comfortable journey for passengers, we make sure that everyone happily embarks on their journey and safely returns home.
Boosting Morale with Better Internal Training
In June 2019, China Airlines added “Officer in Charge” as a job description for cabin crew members in order to expand the reach of organizational management. The OIC is responsible for joint management of external counter staff assignments. Besides carrying out staff assignments for regular cabin operations, the OIC handles staff deployment (control center) when flight changes occur. At the same time, the OIC provides updated information to the cabin crew to strengthen their service and communication with passengers. OIC also serve as cabin operations trainers, conduct testing and reviews, and hold ground-based training classes.
The OIC position gives greater control over cabin operations training and opens channels for cabin crews to use their individual interests and skills towards internal career advancement. OIC training supports creation of a reserve talent pool that can be deployed to fill mid-to-long-term management, training, and standards formulation needs. The OIC role also acts as an incentive to boost employee morale.
Consolidation Around a Common Goal of Treating Customers with Care
China Airlines has always placed high value on staff cultivation. We have a strong presence on school campuses, which supports both staff recruitment and staff retention. We cooperate with well-known colleges and universities to pioneer internships for cabin crews using the industry-academia cooperation model. High-level training follows the same standards used for regular cabin crew, and interns who pass review qualify to become in-flight interns. After the first group of interns graduated from the program, at the end of 2019 additional training was offered to prepare them to become full-time employees. Those who completed the training qualified to become official members of the flight crew.
In 2019, cabin crews training was based on the theme “China Airlines’ 60th Anniversary – A Fresh Start.” By aiming to implement a service philosophy of treating customers with care, the training contributed to a record score on the cabin crew service score of our customer satisfaction index. Cabin crews joint training activities boosted team honor and spirit, thus raising service quality and consolidating staff around a common goal.
China Airlines continues to conduct virtual reality training for cabin crews, with virtual and augmented reality tools designed to incorporate lessons on each aircraft model. Other advanced training methods include AI-powered virtual tutors that conduct flight announcement and service training. Topics from cabin crews team training are integrated into these high-tech lessons, including the 2020 team training themes of communication, care and legacy. The team training sessions put China Airlines excellent service on display, showing customers the warmth and friendly nature of Taiwan’s service industry.
New Innovations That Integrate Local Elements
China Airlines seeks to provide the highest quality food. Notably, for our 60th anniversary in 2019, we promoted locally inspired in-flight meals. Spring Festival, one of the three most important holidays for people of Chinese descent, also happens to be tangerine season in Taiwan. In Chinese culture, tangerines are a symbol of luck and fortune. During this period, we therefore provided a whole honey tangerine in place of our fruit bowl. Besides adding to the holiday spirit, the change reduced the use of disposable bowl covers, enabling us to lower our environmental impact. During Mid-Autumn Festival in September, all of our flights served Taiwanese moon cakes and mini-taro cakes from the popular Kaohsiung confectioner Jiu Zhen Nan. These handcrafted treats are low in oil and sugar, so they can be consumed guilt-free. Whether returning home or leaving on an exotic journey, the treats added to the spirit of Mid-Autumn Festival during this important festive season.
Recognizing that when traveling abroad, Taiwanese travelers miss local food and beverages, in September 2019 China Airlines introduced three special drinks containing ingredients grown by small-scale, Taiwanese farmers: kumquat lemon, Chingshin green tea, and plum juice. The drinks were available on all flights. The kumquat lemon juice used kumquats from Minxiong, Chiayi, together with lemons from Pingtung, combining two flavors that are only found in tropical island environments. The Chingshin green tea is a common, traditional drink grown using Taiwan-grown tea leaves. The plum juice, meanwhile, made using plums grown in Meishan, Chiayi, had a sweet and sour flavor that helped to relieve the summer heat and paired in a new, exciting way with in-flight meals.
Besides beverages, China Airlines improved food fare in August 2019 by offering an all-new snack mix. The bold gold packaging complements the new style of our NexGen cabin. With different color schemes for each cabin class, some passengers collected the complete set. The distinct, handwritten “Snack Mix” label adds extra value to the product and provides a novel snacking experience. 2019 was also China Airlines’ 60th anniversary. To mark the occasion, the head chef of the China Pacific Catering Services personally designed special packaging for our in-flight meal box. The meal box top showed a picture of a celebratory cake, and our 60th anniversary logo decorated the packages for our gelato, snack mix, Taiwan Beer, and Buckskin Beer. These extra touches provided a chance for passengers to join us in celebrating this important milestone.
Cross-industrial Cooperation to Expand International Visibility
China Airlines is a long-time supporter of Taiwan and sponsor of sporting events. As part of our 60th anniversary celebration, we cooperated with the outdoor sporting brand The North Face for the first time in a cross-industrial partnership that satisfied our customers’ preference for professional, fashionable products. The jointly branded items, which are particularly popular among young travelers, add to our image as a healthy, youthful, and active brand. At the same time, in response to European Union directives on plastic use restrictions and international campaigns to reduce environmental impact, we continue to examine use of plastic packaging for in-flight products. Our objective is to make these items integrated, interchangeable, and simpler while reducing plastic volume at the source. In 2019, initial progress was made by using birch instead of plastic for drink stirrers. This effort will continue in the first quarter of 2020 when the change is expanded to include our business class. Looking ahead, we will limit plastic waste in cooperation with leading domestic suppliers, thus fulfilling our social responsibility while raising the international visibility of made in Taiwan products.
To increase revenue sources, in 2019 China Airlines continued to strengthen retail business. Improvements to duty-free items included expanding the diversity of our portfolio, promoting online pre-orders, and using our media channels and travel company partners to increase marketing. In July 2019 we began publishing a completely revised version of our Home Delivery magazine, offering a wider range of original items. A number of products featuring the China Airlines logo sparked both excitement and trends. These included a China Airlines lightweight bomber jacket suitable for early fall, a China Airlines business class wine and champagne glass set, and a China Airlines first class sake bottle and twin glass set. Other special items included 60th anniversary painted planes and China Airlines jetliner backpacks.
More Incentives to Support Member Needs
On October 2, 2019, China Airlines began offering new seat selection and no show fee items to the Fare Family group of products. Seat selection, which is currently only available on our corporate website and at customer service centers, ticketing counters, and airports, already has achieved monthly average revenues of US$900,000.
In 2020, ongoing improvements to our corporate website are expected to include opening the sale of priority seats, prepaid baggage allowances, and collection of no show fees by travel agents, which will further increase revenues.
Active Dynasty Flyer members surpassed 3.8 million by the end of 2019. Cooperative partners included 23 airlines (18 SkyTeam members and China Southern Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Japan Airlines, WestJet, and Qantas Airways), 22 banks or credit card issuers, six global or regional chain hotels, two online hotel booking agencies, and three global car rental agencies.
To support our members by making their membership more beneficial, we consider revenues when crafting mileage accumulation policies, in line with industry trends. New weighted mileage accrual based on the purchased ticket class provides higher mileage percentages for members flying business or premium economy class on China Airlines or Mandarin Airlines self-operated flights. Besides increasing corporate revenues, the change also provides a better flying experience for our higher-level members.
As part of the benefits of our cross-industrial cooperative ventures, members can exchange their miles for high-quality products, including magazines, accommodation and dining, travel goods, Wi-Fi hotspot devices, facial masks, and red wine, or they can exchange miles for other reward points. China Airlines continues to seek new partnership opportunities to expand mileage redemption scope in line with member needs.
To support member rights and interests, China Airlines offers a number of incentives, including an award ticket promotion of up to 3,000 miles for reservations made through the China Airlines website as well as limited time redemption offers to encourage customers to redeem their miles for short- or long-haul tickets. The HSBC China Airlines co-branded credit card offers travelers an easy channel to exchange their miles for award tickets on flights departing from Taiwan. In cooperation with CTBC, holders of the Greater China Connection Co-branded Card who link their card to Dynasty Flyer membership can receive reward tickets with discounts of up to 20,000 miles for round trip economy flights between Taiwan and Hong Kong or Mainland China. Additional discounts of up to 6,000 miles are available for upgrades on select routes to Japan or South Korea, and discounts of up to 40% are available for reward tickets on select flights to Los Angeles.