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27 Jul 2009
Cathay Pacific and Dragonair Staff Receive Highest Accolade for Customer Service at Annual Betsy Awards

Cathay Pacific Airways and Dragonair today honoured 14 frontline staff for their outstanding customer service to passengers at its 5th Betsy Awards Presentation Ceremony. A Betsy Award is the highest accolade given to Cathay Pacific and Dragonair staff in recognition of their people and service excellence. In addition to the individual awards, the Cathay Pacific Bangkok team was also given a special recognition for their extraordinary efforts in assisting stranded passengers during the closure of Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport last year.

Today's winners and their stories were short-listed from a big pool of noteworthy customer service acts received from across the combined networks of Cathay Pacific and Dragonair in 2008. A judging panel consisting of senior management then graded each story on the following criteria: level of going beyond the call of duty, value to passengers, level of inspiration to staff and level of promoting services.

Each winning story highlights how Cathay Pacific and Dragonair staff had touched the hearts of passengers with their dedication and exceptional service. This year's top story saw how Amanda Jessop-Shaw, Cathay Pacific's Airport Services Manager in Cairns, had made arrangements for someone to care of her daughter over the weekend so that she could accompany a sick young passenger in the hotel until her mother arrived. See the next pages for other extraordinary service stories from Cathay Pacific and Draongair Betsy winners.

In appreciation for their outstanding service contributions, all winners have received a unique Betsy pin and certificate today. In addition, they were also rewarded with the opportunity to experience something extraordinary, that few, if any, of their colleagues has ever experienced. These rewards include special visits to the Boeing or Airbus aircraft plants or participating in meaningful activities such as a Cathay Pacific inaugural flight or UNICEF field trip.

Speaking at today's ceremony, Cathay Pacific Director Service Delivery, Ivan Chu said, "The special emphasis we place on providing quality service has helped to make Cathay Pacific and Dragonair what we are today. Such extraordinary service efforts from our Betsy winners will continue to set us apart from other airlines and ensure our passengers come back to fly with us again and again."

Betsy was launched in 2005 as Cathay Pacific's corporate recognition programme that aims to express the company's appreciation for acts of extraordinary service performed by staff. The programme was extended to Dragonair on 2007.

2009 Betsy Awards Nominations

Airport Services Manager Amanda Jessop-Shaw, CX-CNS

An unaccompanied young passenger travelled on CX102 BNE-CNS-HKG on 3 October 2008. During the transit in Cairns, the crew informed Amanda that the passenger was suffering from severe earaches and requested for medical attention.

Amanda accompanied the child to the doctor who confirmed that the child's eardrum was damaged and she would not be fit to travel in the next 10 days. Amanda quickly contacted the passenger's mother in Brisbane to inform her. Unfortunately for the young passenger, her mother could only arrive in Cairns on the following afternoon.

As a mother herself, Amanda knew it was tough for a young child to be alone in a strange place. Although she had to look after her own daughter over the weekend as her husband was out of town, Amanda made arrangements for someone to look after her daughter so that she could accompany the young passenger at the hotel over Friday night and Saturday until her mom arrived.

During the wait, the worried mother spoke to her daughter over the phone and was relieved to know that her little girl was being well looked after by Amanda,

Senior Captain Evan Summerfield, CX-FOP

CX580 was diverted to Tokyo when the aircraft couldn't land in Sapporo due to extreme weather conditions. As the plane was being held in the cargo area at Narita airport, local ground staff were scrambling to get hotel accommodation for the affected passengers. Unfortunately, none was available as other airlines bound for Sapporo were also diverted to Tokyo.

There was chaos and confusion at the airport as passengers deplaned and immediately swamped the local airport team to handle their individual cases. At this point, Evan took the lead, jumped on a chair and introduced himself as a CX Captain on his first day of three weeks' leave. He first apologised to passengers for the delay on the airline's behalf and explained the situation was entirely out of CX's control. He also suggested that everyone meet at a designated point near the baggage collection area in 15 minutes, at which he would have more information for them.

When the group regathered, Evan informed the passengers that accommodation was unavailable through the airline and he would try to get the lounge opened for the night. He assured passengers that food and water was being organised as soon as possible and requested anyone with medical conditions or particular hardships to make themselves known to him. Well aware of the airport curfew, he also suggested that passengers who could make their own hotel arrangements return to the airport by 10:30am the next day.

Evan chose to stay behind with the remaining passengers and gave up his room for a passenger and his pregnant wife. As the lounge could not be made available due to security restrictions, Evan insisted that an area at the airport was allocated and sleeping bags, food and drinks provided for the passengers stranded at the airport.

The group spent the night in the arrivals hall. When the terminal re-opened the next morning, arrangements were made for them to be given access to the lounge where they had breakfast. Their flight, scheduled to depart at 12:30pm, was further delayed for another two hours until the airport at Sapporo re-opened. During this time, Evan continued to keep the passengers informed of the latest situation.

Captain Evan was hailed by passengers on CX580 as "Captain Cathay" for his leadership in this flight disruption. He took the initiative, put himself forward as the face of CX in front of hundreds of unhappy and frustrated passengers and made himself accountable.

Supervisor Holly Fung, CX-APT

Due to the late arrival of CX764 into Hong Kong, a passenger missed her connecting flight to Los Angeles and was rebooked on CX884 the next day. As she did not feel well upon arrival, Holly made arrangements for an ambulance to take her to the hospital since the airport clinic was closed. She also insisted on accompanying the passenger to the hospital despite being able to sign off duty in 15 minutes.

Holly did her best to comfort and reassure the passenger as they made their way to the hospital. She also accompanied the passenger back to the hotel to rest after the doctor declared she was fit for travel.

The grateful passenger wrote a complimentary letter to say that Holly was a smart lady with a big heart. "She not only made me feel less scared, but also treated me as a patient right from the start...It was 3am that night so this was not a routine act of kindness," wrote the passenger.

Winter Yau, Inflight Services Manager, CX-ISD
Ratchada Thaidhanaiswan, Flight Purser, CX-ISD

A passenger mentioned to Winter and Ratchada that she wasn't feeling well after their flight from Toronto landed in Hong Kong. The two crew took the initiative to accompany the passenger to the airport doctor and also contacted the passenger's sister in Bangkok to inform her.

When the passenger was referred to the hospital for further treatment, the crew gave her HK$450 for the journey and also offered her one of their mobile phones so that her sister could contact the passenger when she arrived in Hong Kong.

Airport Services Manager Ashok Batra, CX-DEL
Manager on Duty Monica Badhwar, CX-DEL
Manager on Duty Sanjay Yadav, CX-DEL

A flight from Dubai to Hong Kong was diverted to Delhi when a passenger gave birth to a baby on board. MODs Monica Badwar and Sanjay Yadav met the flight on arrival. While Monica was entrusted to take care of the well being of the mother and child on ground, Sanjay worked hard to turn round the flight as quickly as he could. With great teamwork, the flight was able to depart in an hour.

Monica accompanied the mother and baby to the hospital where she assisted with the admission formalities. As the hospital required a CX representative to be with the patient at all times, Monica volunteered to stay with the passenger for two nights while other staff manned the day shift. She also went beyond the call of duty and bought clothes for the baby out of her own pocket.

Meanwhile ASM Ashok Batra liaised with the Philippine embassy to pick up the hospital charges as the passenger had insufficient funds to pay for the bills. Together with Sanjay, they were instrumental in getting the birth registration and other necessary documentation for the newborn so that mother and child could return home to Manila.

Airport Services Supervisor Janet Jothi, CX-SIN

A passenger wrote in to compliment Janet for her utmost consideration and effort in making his journey a good one every step of the way. The passenger used to be a frequent traveller on CX to Singapore and Janet began to recognise him and always made a point to say hello and check on him.

On one occasion, the passenger had rushed through a booking for a weekend trip home to Hong Kong. In the process, he forgot to request for his special meal and couldn't update his profile. He also completely forgot to ask about it when he checked in at the airport.

As he was leaving the check-in counter for the lounge, he bumped into Janet who was on her way home. She could still recognise him and they chatted for a while.

Not five minutes after the passenger had checked into the lounge, he got a call from Janet, who had discovered that he didn't have his special meal requested and wanted to confirm if he still wanted it. The passenger was stunned that she had remembered from years earlier that he was a vegetarian and was thoughtful enough to look after him.

Janet's action has certainly exemplified CX's "Service Straight From The Heart" and proved how little things can make a difference to great service.

Airport Services Supervisor Kharen de Castro, CX-MNL
Airport Services Officer Doddie Baciles, CX-MNL

A passenger was travelling from Manila to New York for an important business trip. When he was about to check in, he realised that he had left his passport which contained his US visa at home.

Fortunately, he met Kharen and Doddie who were able to help him get out of the dire situation. Taking advantage of the regular flight frequency from Manila to Hong Kong, they assured the passenger that they would help him take care of his problem and he should proceed with his travel with the passport he was holding.

The passenger called his driver to deliver his other passport to the airport. Kharen and Doddie arranged to send the passenger's passport to Hong Kong on the next flight, and he was able to pick it up in transit before his flight to New York.

The great support from Kharen and Doddie was most appreciated by the passenger. He sent a letter to CX commending the pair and praising them for their professionalism.

Flight Attendant Iris Tsang, KA-ISD

An Indian passenger wrote to thank Iris for providing a hand-written mini booklet with useful Chinese vocabularies, maps, useful tips and places to visit that made his seven-day stay in Shanghai a very easy and a rewarding one. Her initiative and efforts in making the booklet on such a short and full flight was most touching and highly appreciated by the passenger.

He also praised Iris' attentiveness, smile and helpfulness towards other passengers and said it was a one-of-a-kind experience that he had never encountered in his years of flying.

Assistant Manager, Customer Services Tommy Li, KA-BJS

A passenger was upset that she had left her PDA in a taxi. Tommy, who was then Duty Manager, quickly pacified the passenger and immediately proceeded to help her. He made a call to the taxi company to look for the taxi driver. His efforts were rewarded when the taxi company called back in ten minutes to say that the PDA has been found and the driver was on his way to the airport. Unfortunately, his taxi was stuck in a taxi queue and he was unable to carry on his journey.

After several calls with the taxi driver to determine his location, Tommy took the initiative to retrieve the PDA phone himself by driving his own car out to the taxi queue. He was able to return the device back to the passenger just before her departure.

Customer Services Supervisor Maggie Ma, KS-SHA

A family was going back to Los Angeles after attending the Beijing Olympics. As their baggage went through security check, two magnetic UFO toys were identified as forbidden items and had to be disposed due to heightened security levels at the airport. The children were very upset as the toys were their favourite souvenirs from the trip.

Maggie was then engaged to help resolve the case and suggested to the family that she could assist by sending the toys back to them by post. Unfortunately, the post office also rejected the toys, causing the children to cry.

As the family did not have any friends and relatives in China, Maggie took the liberty to keep the toys for them first and promised that she would send them to the family after security levels for the Olympics were lifted.

Two months after the 'embargo', Maggie honoured her promise. She tried to send the change from the postal charge back to the family but was told that no money was allowed in the parcel. Finally she decided to put the money in the airport donation box which was acknowledged by the family. Maggie was highly praised by the family for her thoughtful arrangements.

CX Bangkok Airport Team

On 25 November 2008, Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport was closed when hundreds of members from the People's Alliance for Democracy occupied the highway to the airport. Most CX flights arriving in and departing from Bangkok were cancelled, rescheduled or re-routed. As the airport closed down, all check-in services were suspended and passengers who had already arrived at the airport were stranded in the departure hall.

On 28 November 2008, the Thai Government announced that Utapao Airport, a military airport near Pattaya which does not have proper equipment or facilities for the handling of commercial flights, would be used as the alternative airport to help relieve passengers stranded in Bangkok.

Following the announcement, a number of foreign carriers began to operate flights to/from Utapao Airport, resulting in thousands of passengers rushing there to get a seat back home. The small airport became very congested and the situation was chaotic. Many passengers were anxious to get home even though they weren't holding a confirmed booking.

Despite working under such stressful conditions and with very limited facilities, the CX Bangkok Team showed their professionalism and demonstrated their efficiency and excellent service to our passengers. In essence, they worked through many hurdles which resulted in the following:

- Relocate the check-in counters so that passengers did not jam inside the UTP airport terminal.
- Set up manual check-in counters to speed up the waiting time for check-in.
- Group the no record and standby passengers together in the standby line and accepted those standby passengers after all booked passengers were being accepted.
- Liaise with the local immigration authority to arrange an immigration officer to perform the travel document check after passenger checked in.
- Group all the passengers who had completed the document check and escort them to pass through CIQ and boarding which saved a lot of transportation time.
- Arrange extra shuttle buses to transport passengers from the boarding lounge to the aircraft to speed up the boarding process.

CX passengers were very impressed and highly appreciative of what the local team had done. The staff worked endlessly from 28 November to 4 December 2008 until Suvarnabhumi International Airport was re-opened.

Their hard-work and dedication really deserve a special recognition.