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Addressing concerns

Aug 05,2017 - Last updated at Aug 05,2017

The national air carrier Royal Jordanian (RJ) is finally responding positively to increased criticism over its services, last-minute flight information and abrupt changes in flight schedule.

RJ's CEO has recently addressed the controversy over the food and beverage served on certain flights, but neglected to offer explanations for much more serious criticism, namely, plane changes, which saw the use of planes bearing the name of foreign companies, including a South African airline, instead of the normal RJ planes, no doubt due to the unavailability of the RJ planes.

In this vein, the CEO commented that "RJ stays constantly in touch with our customers and listens to their suggestions, keen to accommodate their needs."

He admitted that the airline "has recently substituted hot meals with sandwiches and snacks on short- and medium-haul flights of up to three hours" and promised that the airline will "coordinate with its catering partner to review the food and beverages offered". 

Still, the food and beverage issue is not the main concern for passengers. Much more serious problems remain unaddressed, including poor public relations, temperament and behaviour of its ground staff even at main terminals across the globe. 

Few employees seem to know or understand the ABCs of public relations when dealing with passengers.

Where airlines differ is not so much about the type of planes they use or the food served on flights, but rather about how its staff deals with passengers.

This writer has travelled many times from Montreal to Amman aboard RJ planes, which were rather pleasant, but the demeanour of RJ ground staff at Pierre Trudeau Airport leaves much to be desired. 

On the food and drinks issue, it is generally accepted now that there is a growing trend in commercial aviation to lower the standard of this items offered on board some flights, in order to cut costs, or that passengers are charging for food and beverages, but as mentioned above, the issue as far as RJ is concerned is not really about such service.

The criticism against RJ flights goes beyond what passengers can eat or drink. More important is the availability and dependability of regular RJ planes that are safe and not last-minute switches to planes belonging to other airlines, as indeed happened during this summer season for flights from Dubai and Istanbul to Amman.

Passengers' main concern remains the safety and maintenance of the planes they fly on. 

Punctuality is also critical, since passengers have schedules they must follow. 

Moreover, RJ prices have not been competitive, but much higher than those of some competitors, which forces passengers to switch to other airlines serving the same destinations. 

I often found that prices on other airline are much lower.

Of late, RJ has reviewed its pricing policy, offering more competitive fares. This is the way to go if the company wants to compete with other airlines.

Whatever the real concerns of passengers, RJ can do better on most fronts if there is a will to do so. 

 

Now that it has a new CEO who is professional and experienced, one expects a lot more from the airline in the days and months ahead.

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