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YVR collects international customer service award

Vancouver International Airport is one of 12 airports in North America to win the recognition from Airports Council International.
Airport's chief experience officer Eric Pateman was in Seoul this week to pick up the award at the ACI Customer Service Global Summit

The Vancouver Airport Authority (VAA) has won recognition for strong customer service throughout its many touch points with passengers.

Its Vancouver International Airport was one of only two airports in Canada, and 12 airports in North America to win Level 1 Airport Customer Experience accreditation from Airports Council International (ACI).

The industry organization this week held its ACI Customer Service Global Summit in Seoul, Korea, where it gave out awards. 

The VAA's chief experience officer Eric Pateman told BIV from Seoul that his airport's decision to bring its paid customer-service officers in-house, instead of continuing to contract a third party to provide the service was one thing that helped the airport's customer service in the past year.

This is the first time that the VAA has won the award, and it comes mere months after Pateman assumed his current role in February.  

YVR has about 400 customer-service volunteers, and about 130 paid staff, he said.

ACI's determination of an airport's customer-service level includes the service provided at franchised restaurants that operate at airports, as well as any other worker who interacts with passengers, Pateman explained. 

That means that having grouchy customs staff or dismissive restaurant servers could bring an airport's ranking down a notch.

Having strong customer service also includes presentable facilities, and clean washrooms, Pateman added.

"It all factors in," he said. "The guests' satisfaction is ranked on their entire experience."

The only other Canadian airport to achieve ACI's Level 1 accreditation was Halifax Stanfield International Airport.

The other North American airports to achieve this accreditation include: 

  • Dallas Love Field Airport (Dallas, United States);
  • Detroit Metropolitan Airport (Detroit, United States);
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (Atlanta, United States);
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (New York, United States);
  • John Glenn Columbus International Airport (Columbus, United States);
  • LaGuardia Airport (New York, United States);
  • Newark Liberty International Airport (New Jersey, United States);
  • Ontario International Airport (Ontario, United States);
  • San Antonio International Airport (San Antonio, United States); and
  • San Francisco International Airport (San Francisco, United States).

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