Sunday, March 07, 2021

Throwback: When JRD Tata personally arranged toilet rolls in an Air India flight

New Delhi: Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata who was fondly known as JRD Tata, was the founder of Tata Airlines and father of civil aviation in India. Air India was never just a job for JRD, rather it was a labour of love. JRD's ardour for and commitment to Air India was what made it a world-class carrier when he was at the helm of the airline. There are many stories that show JRD's commitment to Air India.

According to a story shared by Harish Bhat, Brand Custodian, Tata Sons on Linkedin, JRD was once travelling on an Air India flight. He was seating next to L.K. Jha, ICS, one of the country’s top bureaucrats, who had also served as Governor of RBI.

JRD suddenly left his seat, and Jha wondered where he had gone. In fact, JRD was missing from his seat for nearly an hour. When JRD returned, Jha asked him where he had been, what had happened.

JRD replied – “Oh, I went to see if the toilets are clean, and that everything is as it should be.”

“But what took you so long?”, Jha asked.

“The toilet rolls were not placed properly”, JRD replied.

It turned out that JRD, Chairman of the airline, had thereafter gone to each of the several toilets on that Boeing aircraft, and personally corrected whatever was wrong.

Jha recalled in a speech that it was this kind of attention to detail and concern for service which made Air India, under JRD Tata’s chairmanship, one of the finest airlines globally.

As the chairman of Air India, JRD always believed in personalised attention. He was dubbed a perfectionist for he called upon his staff: "Always aim at perfection for only then will you achieve excellence." On every flight on which he travelled he kept detailed notes of his observations and would painstakingly take action on them on return to base.


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