According to The Economic Times Mumbai, the two India’s carriers that have the biggest market share have appointed professional auditors to monitor their services and make sure employees correspond to prescribed standards.
The auditor, according to the contract, will send so-called 'mystery shoppers' on the airlines' domestic and international flights. Pretending to be regular passengers and equipped with their smart phones, the shoppers will keep a close eye on every aspect of the airlines' services starting with ticket booking to in-flight services. They are assigned to take detailed notes, snap pictures, record conversations and even shoot videos. The shoppers belong to the big team which has, in consultation with the airlines' management, prepared an extensive checklist of service standards, based on the airlines’' and the aviation regulator's requirements.
Jet Airways have already had some trial checks and the company will start full-scale audits from January. The auditor will review 450 flights monthly and present a report to the customer services team led by Sonu Kriplani. The airlines will compensate the cost of all the tickets. IndiGo appointed the auditors back in August and intend to monitor 1,000 flights every month.
It’s interesting to know that along with researching the service standards of its own flights, Jet is hiring auditors to simultaneously survey flights of international carriers such as Qatar Airways, which scored high in UK's agency Skytrax rating. Last year, there was an announcement from Jet Airways that it will go back to its original full-price services, eliminating its low-cost branches Jet Konnect and JetLite.
The auditors have already found some deficiencies in service during the trial flights. For example, the airline is using its narrow-bodied Boeing 737s on short international flights to Singapore and Dubai. Some of them take place late at night and passengers experience major discomfort. On IndiGo's flights too, the auditor came across certain shortcomings. IndiGo's rule book says the airhostess has to greet passengers at three places in the aircraft —at the entrance, middle and end. In reality, the flight-attendant could be found only at the entrance greeting. Also cabin staff is supposed to clean the aircraft toilets after every two passengers have used it. However, that wasn't happening either.
IndiGo took the audit results very seriously. Reportedly, in the last six months of Mystery Shopping program, 80 employees have received a warning.
Other international airlines have already used Mystery Shopping to ensure the quality of service, although not always delegating the audits to a special agency. For instance, last year Air France KLM, according to a source, involved a few members of its Flying Blue loyalty program in evaluating the service standards in some of their flights.