Saturday, February 24, 2018

Air Asia India to roll out etiquette video for first-time flyers

New Delhi: Air Asia India is working on a novel way to help its many first-time flyers: an etiquette video instructing them on things such as when to arrive at the airport, how to clear security and when to stand up on an aeroplane.

The Indian arm of Tony Fernandes’ airline is producing the how-to video as one way to ease the experience of flying for those boarding an aircraft for the first time. The carrier estimates that first-time flyers account for one in four of its customers.

As the size of country’s aviation industry has expanded, airlines have found themselves sometimes struggling to keep up with demand — whether because of a lack of aircraft, not enough senior pilots, or passengers who do not know how to use the onboard toilets.

“The video is still in production, but we will try to make sure people see it before the flight, whether through our social media channels or website,” said Amar Abrol, the chief executive of Air Asia India.

“There are a lot of things frequent flyers take for granted, which many Indian passengers don’t necessarily know, such as the importance of packing light or arriving at the airport on time.”

Carriers say the number of new flyers causes unique challenges, such as trying to keep to schedules when passengers take a long time to clear security or trying to prevent customers standing up when the flight is landing.

One frequent problem is keeping the aircraft’s toilets clean, with many passengers unaccustomed to waterless flushes or automatic taps. “Many people don’t have a loo at home and suddenly they are having to use a loo in the sky,” said Mr Abrol.

He added that the levels of experience were often shown in the questions passengers ask.

“We have been asked ‘Can I carry live fish in a tank?’, ‘Can I carry fish packed in ice?’ and ‘Can I carry blood?’,” he said. “People are used to rail travel and bus travel, where anything goes.”

24/02/18 Kiran Stacey/Financial Times