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Top Flight Service July 13, 2009

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Up and Away.

A brief missive about the trip I’d been meaning to write about:

On our return leg, we repaired to Cathay Pacific’s Business Class lounge during a two-hour layover in Hong Kong. There, my dad took a moment to catch up on his cellphone messages.

When we arrived in Manila, he discovered the phone was missing.

After ascertaining that it hadn’t been misplaced on the plane, we came to the conclusion that it had been left behind in Hong Kong. On the off chance someone might have found it, I tried giving it a ring on the ride home. At first, no luck. But on my second attempt I got through to the sound of a woman’s voice on the other end of the line.

The conversation that ensued was none too easy between the poor reception and an apparent language barrier (she was obviously Chinese), but we somehow managed. I explained who I was, to whom the celphone belonged, and asked who she was in return. She explained that she worked for Cathay Pacific, had been the one who found the phone, and completely understood the situation. Thinking that we were still in the Hong Kong airport, she asked what flight we were on so the phone could be rushed over. I told her that we’d already left, providing the necessary flight details. As it became increasingly apparent that we wouldn’t able to resolve the matter then and there, I asked if it would be possible to just coordinate via email. Thankfully, she found it a sensible suggestion, took down my email address, and promised that her supervisor would be in touch with me the next day.

Come morning, I was in the office with my dad waiting to hear from the airline, beginning to worry that maybe my email address wasn’t taken down correctly. Yet before my anxiety go the better of me, I received a call from the local Cathay Pacific office.

They’d already flown the phone in on the first flight to Manila that day.

We dispatched a messenger to pick up the phone for us. All told, less than 24 hours after the phone had been left behind, it was back in my dad’s hands safe and sound.

Sadly, I can’t recall the name of the woman who took my call late that night and patiently talked through the problem at hand (my fault entirely). Whoever she was, she is certainly a credit to the Cathay organization, and the airline is certainly lucky to have her. As for Cathay Pacific itself? Let me just say that I wish all airlines took care of their customers as well as we were taken care of during this little mishap. In the calculus of dollars and cents, it may have been cheaper for everyone concerned to have just given up the phone for lost. Yet simple acts like these are precisely what build brand equity and customer loyalty.

So thanks Cathay Pacific. Hope to be flying with you again soon.



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