Virgin Atlantic promises better flying experience for customers
THE British flag carrier, Virgin Atlantic Airways (VAA) has assured its Nigerian customers of a more robust flying experience come 2019.
In an interview with the Nigerian Tribune, the airline’s Country Manager in West Africa, Samuel Lindfield who described the flag carrier as number one choice of Nigerians on the Lagos/London route, attributed the feat to what he called the airline’s strategy which enables it to offer good customer service to its Nigerian passengers.
His words: “We are proud to be Nigeria’s airline of choice to London, as measured by market share from Nigeria point of sale. We’ve achieved that accolade by pursuing a customer strategy that enables us to sustainably offer consistently great customer service and amenities to our Nigerian customers. No one likes to have something they enjoy when they fly on an airline one year and the next year is no longer there anymore. So whatever enhancements we put in place we ensure are for the long-run.
“For example, we work with the highly distinguished chefs of our world-class catering partner to curate exciting and varied menus to and from Nigeria, that respect the culinary traditions of Nigeria, and that are refreshed every few months. Because no one likes the same food on the same flight! But even more thoughtfully, we know that our customers have to wait a long time for their bags in Nigeria, due to limitations with Lagos Airport’s infrastructure, so we offer all deplaning customers chilled water and free luggage trolleys for their luggage. We’ve seen our customer satisfaction scores rise significantly from Lagos over the last 18 months. Going forward, we are looking at ways to improve the check-in and boarding experience from Lagos Airport, so watch this space for news on some initiatives we have planned to make what is often cited as the most stressful part of the journey, more relaxing and enjoyable.
Speaking on if the airline had plans to fly to more routes in Nigeria, Lindfield while welcoming the idea if the opportunity comes, declared: “We would always welcome the idea of expansion in Nigeria, which has for so many years been a successful market for Virgin Atlantic. Should the right opportunity arise, it’s definitely something we would consider. By 2050, we expect Nigeria to have a population in excess of 500 million people, and that will bring huge opportunities from the regions of Nigeria. So we would like to be at the forefront of serving that growth.’’
The Country Manager though agreed there was still need for improvement on airport infrastructure at the Lagos airport, but added: “Work is still required to further improve the airport infrastructure to levels we are accustomed to elsewhere in the world, but we appreciate the openness and willingness of the airport authorities to work with us to better the airport experience for our customers and crew. I’ve certainly seen great strides of progress over the last 18 months.”
On the airline’s challenges in Nigeria, Lindfield retorted: “I don’t like to see business in terms of challenges, but rather in terms of opportunities. We see significantly increased year-on-year industry capacity from Lagos, which for most airlines would be a bad thing. However, I see it as an opportunity to better prove our excellence to our Nigerian customers. An impetus to work more efficiently, to invest more than ever in our customer experience, to remain Nigeria’s airline of choice to London and beyond.”