Expectations of airline passengers are not only shaped by how well an airline performs versus its direct competitors, but they are also fuelled by standards set by experiences that consumers have in other industries, as innovative products and services in one industry raise the bar for all industries. We can’t stand still; it is a world of continual change. Hence, our continued commitment to fuller service.Margaret Phelan, Vice President, In-Flight Services
We want every one of our passengers to have a positive experience on board, and the key to achieving this is undoubtedly our on-board service. The challenge for us is to reduce costs while maintaining a level of on-board service that exceeds that of our competitors, thus ensuring passenger satisfaction and maintaining our image as a full-service, high-quality airline.
The quality of our on-board products and services should not be in doubt, as we have received a four-star rating from the prestigious Skytrax system, which analyses cabin products and customer service standards both on board flights and in terms of the airport experience.
We excel in providing high-quality in-flight entertainment, which has long been an integral part of the air travel experience. For example, we have equipped 16 aircraft with RAVE IFE streaming systems, which now make 22 aircraft in total, providing both domestic and international passengers with a wide array of content delivered on personal devices, thus making long flights a more enjoyable experience. Our Boeing 757 and 767 aircraft are equipped with RAVE individual in-flight entertainment systems. On other aircraft, we offer hand-held personal entertainment systems in Business Class on all flights longer than three hours. When it comes to selecting in-flight entertainment, we aim to ensure passenger satisfaction. Keeping the nationalities and age groups of passengers on each route in mind, we make a careful selection of feature and documentary films, television series and music to suit passenger tastes. We also expanded our content in 2017 with the addition of a new release movie, bringing the total number of films available on each flight to nine. We also added three boxsets to bring them from two to five (three Hollywood and two Russian box sets). Another factor that sets us apart from our competitors is that we pay close attention to offering multicultural and multilingual entertainment options, with a library of films available in Arabic, Cantonese, English, French, German, Hindi, Kazakh, Korean, Mandarin, Russian and Turkish. All new releases are currently available in English with Russian and Korean dubbing, and beginning in March 2018, new releases will also be available with both Mandarin and Cantonese dubbing.
In 2017, we became the first airline in the world to install Inmarsat’s GX Aviation technology on our Boeing 767, thus reinforcing our focus on technological innovation and excellence in passenger service. This is currently the only technology available that was designed specifically for in-flight broadband, offering unprecedented speed, reliability and consistency.
While some passengers like to focus on entertainment while on board, others prefer to keep up to date on the news and current affairs. With this in mind, we offer passengers access to a wide variety of press in various languages.
On international flights, Business Class passengers can rest under a luxury duvet that is available on our long-haul night flights. Whether travelling for business or leisure, passengers can enjoy our stylish new Business Class amenity kits on board our medium- and long-haul flights.
Featuring designs by Christian Lacroix and Furla, the amenity kits for both men and women have the stamp of style and luxury. Providing high quality and functionality, as well as refinement and comfort, our designer kits are filled with Christian Lacroix and La Mer cosmetics in addition to numerous travel essentials, thus ensuring that our guests look and feel their best throughout their Air Astana experience.
We offer an Economy Sleeper Class on flights between Astana and London Heathrow, Frankfurt and Paris. Economy Sleeper passengers enjoy more personal space and privacy in a dedicated and partitioned section at the front of the Economy Class cabin. With a guaranteed row of three Economy Class seats for every guest, passengers are able to relax with greater comfort, all for just a little bit more than a full Economy Class fare.
Passengers travelling with infants (under one year of age) can use our baby bassinets to make their journey safer and more comfortable. This service is available on board the following aircraft: Airbus A321 (Economy and Business Class), Boeing 767 (Economy and Business Class), Embraer E190 (Economy and Business Class) and Airbus A319 and A320 (Business Class).
Keeping our youngest guests in mind, we also offer Little Prince and National Geographic bags, a dedicated children’s section of in-flight entertainment, healthy children’s meals, an on-board library, a Kid’s box, which includes a variety of toys, drawing books, puzzles and other small things to entertain a child during the flight and recently introduced headphones designed especially for the comfort of children.
Our catering product continued to evolve throughout 2017, and we have introduced various changes that will have definitely contributed towards a Fuller Service.
A good example of this is our new range of Business Class welcome drinks. On all outbound and inbound international flights, we now provide passengers with a choice of freshly prepared raspberry and lemonade. A definite improvement on the prepackaged juices and positively commented upon by the Skytrax auditors.
Economy Class passengers have also received attention and much appreciated improvements. As an example, on the Astana-Almaty frequent flyer route, and by popular demand, we have introduced an express hot meal service, replacing the long-established hot sandwich offering.
During the seasonal celebrations periods, we provided gifts to all of our Business and Economy Class passengers. These chocolate gift boxes were locally manufactured and were specially designed to match the colour coordination and seasonal designs of the cabin interior product. They were well appreciated by all; and very many positive passenger comments were communicated to our Cabin Crew.
Much work has gone into the design of a completely new range of tableware for both our Business and Economy Class cabins. This new range of equipment has an elegant and contemporary design feel and with the new colour scheme, is very appealing to the eye. Planned introduction will be in early 2018 and the intention is that this new equipment range will see us well into the next decade. Needless to say, all of the Catering and In-flight Service team are looking forward to this introduction, which will surely mark a new chapter in our service standards and be much appreciated by our valued customers.
Cabin Crew Performance, Training and Development
Having a fleet with an average age of 5, the latest technology or an outstanding onboard offering without any doubt is very important, but it also is very important to have frontline staff i.e. Cabin Crew that can deliver on passenger expectations and a full service.
Behind every one of our achievements are the efforts of our cabin crew members and the entire In-flight services team. It is their contribution that is instrumental to the overall Air Astana experience.
Keeping that in mind, we put a lot of energy into the development of our human resources. 2017 was no exception.
We conducted over 260 training courses for cabin crew members to enhance our service standards, maintain safety on board and improve coordination between flight and cabin crew members.
Moreover, the Quality & Standards division regularly monitors customer satisfaction and is constantly working with the cabin crew to sustain the required motivation and performance according to our high standards.
Apart from our ever-increasing focus that is placed on recruitment and training for cabin crew in terms of full service, we strongly believe that if you treat your employees like they make a difference, then they will.
We spent much time and effort on the work flow, light and design of our new crew check-in area, management offices, crew briefing rooms and, best of all, the crew rest/chill-out area. These areas are where the crew start and finish their duties, so the tone of their working day is set there. Recognition of the work, hours and environment in which our crew operate is essential to good performance. Good performance equals better service.
Throughout the year, we focused on encouraging a more dynamic and cohesive team unit among the operating crew with the introduction of a joint pre-flight briefing. This in turn will contribute to an efficient, safe, productive and high standard of service for our airline.
We are certified with a four-star airline rating for the quality of our on-board product and service. This rating is determined through the Skytrax audit system, which analyses cabin product and customer service standards on board our flights and also across the Air Astana airport experience.
Our third audit was completed in September and October over a period of three weeks. In anticipation of this, we had spent much of the year studying all previous audit reports, ensuring that the recommended adjustments had been integrated where possible.
We hope to retain the accolades of “Best Airline in Central Asia & India” for the seventh consecutive year and of “Best Airline Staff Service in Central Asia & India” for the fifth year in a row in 2018.