Customer Care Connection

Welcome From Richard Heslin, General Manager, Newark Liberty International Airport

2012-01-09 Richard Heslin 1

Hello and welcome to our airport’s Customer Care Connection. Below you’ll find details about the Port Authority’s enhanced customer service program that provides you with the best amenities and services possible. Customer service has been a priority of mine since 1997, when I was Manager of Landside and Customer Services and helped create the Customer Care Representative program that’s a hallmark here at Newark Liberty and throughout the Port Authority’s airport system. As an airport customer, you’re responsible for Newark Liberty’s enormous economic impact: more than 172,000 jobs, more than $8.6 billion in annual wages, and $23.7 billion in annual sales. We appreciate your business, and we’re committed to making your airport experience pleasant, efficient, and enjoyable.

 

Please send your ideas and suggestions to airportcustomerideas@panynj.gov

The Port Authority's Customer Care Program

At the Port Authority’s airports, the customer comes first. We take great care to provide our 117 million-plus annual air travelers with the best services possible.

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Great service begins with our red-jacketed Customer Care Representatives (CCRs), who can answer just about any customer question and provide one-on-one personalized service for thousands of travelers every day. With more than 300 CCRs mobilized across the Port Authority’s airport system, we’re prepared to assist travelers throughout the airports: at our state-of-the-art Welcome Centers, terminal frontages, ticket counters, doorways, AirTrain stations, federal inspection facilities, and anywhere else customers may need help.

Other customer care services and initiatives include:

  • Welcome Centers in every terminal, staffed by CCRs and offering extensive information about ground transportation, hotels and tourist points of interest
  • Hundreds of power poles and charging stations throughout the airports, many featuring USB ports, to allow customers to recharge portable electronic devices at no cost
  • 30 minutes of free wifi for all customers
  • Thousands of new seats
  • Better and easier access to airport and airline information, including a mobile phone app, FlySmart; more flight information monitors; free airport alerts (subscribe at http://www.airportinfoalerts.com/); and “next-arriving-train” monitors at AirTrain Newark and AirTrain JFK stations
  • A cell-phone parking lot at Newark Liberty and JFK where customers can park legally and for free while waiting to pick up arriving passengers, who call their rides waiting in the lot when they are ready
  • “Mystery shopper” airport quality assurance teams to monitor and evaluate vendors and other airport employees in order to provide the Port Authority with analysis to make targeted improvements in services
  • Anti-hustling campaign to assist arriving passengers and targeting illegal rides and drivers
  • Customer Care Avatars — computerized, hologram-like CCRs that provide automated airport information to millions of travelers in arrivals areas at Newark Liberty, JFK and LaGuardia airports
  • Expansion of the agency’s award-winning airport signage program
  • Expansion of the Port Authority Customer Care Training program to emphasize attitude, appearance, awareness and knowledge for airport employees

Spotlight On Service: Kiosks For Nursing Moms On-The-Go

Every year, the Port Authority conducts a comprehensive survey of its customers at John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia, Stewart International, and Atlantic City International airports. We question more than 10,000 customers on a host of topics, and we use the results to inform the initiatives we undertake.

For example, in response to overwhelming demand, we recently delivered 30 minutes of free wifi for all airport customers. Logging on at the airports has never been easier—or cheaper!

We also heard from mothers who asked for clean, comfortable and secure areas where they could nurse their children or use a breast pump. Working in partnership with manufacturers and sponsors, we delivered on this customer request as well as on-the-go moms now will find feeding their babies easier at the Port Authority’s airports with the installation of free areas available for nursing needs at JFK, Newark, and LaGuardia airports. The airports are among the first nationally to offer the freestanding stations that provide a place designed exclusively for women who need to use a breast pump or want to nurse in privacy.

Port Authority Aviation Director Tom Bosco said the agency is always seeking ways to better serve our customers needs, “and we’ve received multiple requests for an area specifically for nursing mothers. Our customers are our top priority, and their feedback allows us to make improvements and provide a higher level of service. We appreciate our partnership with private industry to make these nursing areas available to the public.”

The Port Authority worked with sponsor Seventh Generation – manufacturer and distributor of environmentally safe household products – to install three units. Two units are located inside Newark's Terminal B beyond the security checkpoints – one in the B2 concourse near gates 50-57, and another in the B3 concourse near gates 60-68. A unit at LaGuardia’s Terminal B is located in Concourse A. The Port Authority expects to install additional units in the future. In addition, JetBlue worked with Seventh Generation to install a unit at JFK’s Terminal 5 near Gate 12.

The freestanding suites, created by Mamava [Spanish for “mother on-the-go”], feature bench seating, a fold-down table, and power supply for pumping, as well as space for luggage or a stroller. When a unit’s door is closed, it can be locked from the inside and displays an “occupied” message on the outside.

Reward and Recognition Program

Every quarter, the Port Authority recognizes airport employees who go above and beyond their normal duties to assist our customers (Port Authority employees are ineligible). We also hold an annual awards ceremony.

Elijah Brown of Gateway Group One, CCR Program

Mr. Brown, center, with Port Authority Assistant Aviation Director Ralph Tragale and Newark Airport Deputy General Manager Diane Papianni

Mr. Brown was recognized for keeping a boy of about 10 from being separated from his family at the airport. He sprinted through AirTrain's Rail Link station to speak with a train conductor, then sprinted back down the platform to the waiting room. The young boy's parents already had boarded the train and the boy had accidentally been left behind. The train began pulling out of the station but then came to an abrupt stop, and Mr. Brown was able to help the boy reunite with his parents, who had disembarked from the train. After reuniting, the family continued its trip. A supervisor noted that "far too often we criticize people and don’t recognize them. I was impressed by what Elijah did and he should be commended for recognizing the situation and for his quick thinking. I am certain the boy felt comforted and not alone knowing that he was being helped and I am sure his parents were appreciative."

Lidia Thomas and Veon Lassiter of Gateway Group One, Taxi Dispatch Program

Veon Lassiter, second from left, and Taxi Dispatch Manager Rod Crudup (on behalf of Ms. Thomas), third from left, with Mr. Tragale and Ms. Papianni

A couple visiting from London was not aware of the distance between their hotel in Delaware and Newark Airport. Within 45 minutes, Ms. Thomas and Mr. Lassiter were able to help the couple cancel their existing reservation and reserve a hotel room in nearby Harrison, all without skipping a beat in helping passengers off the taxi line in an efficient, courteous and friendly manner.

Edeline Medino, Blondyne Etienne and Regina Shields of Terminal C – OTG Management

From left, Mr. Tragale joins Ms. Etienne, Ms. Shields and Ms. Medino along with Ms. Papianni

A customer with a young child had arrived at Newark from a family funeral in Kentucky too late to catch her connecting flight to Ft. Lauderdale. The customer was distraught because all her belongings were on their way to Ft. Lauderdale and she had minimal money and baby supplies. While Ms. Medino and Ms. Etienne consoled the customer, Ms. Shields interceded with airline officials and was able to get the customer rebooked on a Ft. Lauderdale flight for the same day. Ms. Shields also secured extra diapers for the customer’s child. When Ms. Shields returned with the diapers and new boarding passes to Ft. Lauderdale, the customer began to cry tears of joy.

We Want To Hear From You!

In 2007, the Port Authority launched a dedicated email address asking customers for their input and feedback to enhance the customer experience and solicit ideas about improving the airports. Since then, hundreds of customers have written, and we’ve responded with a number of initiatives, including more power outlets, additional seating, Welcome Centers, in-terminal entertainment, and much more.

Contact us with your ideas and suggestions by emailing airportcustomerideas@panynj.gov

 

 



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