Service Culture refers to a concept where employees think about providing outstanding services to the customers. They act in the same manner. They understand how and why they do it. The best definition of a service culture is one where employees are obsessed with customer service. Certainly, this culture is unknown to PIA.


The prime job of the airline is to extend the best services to the customers. Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) was at its pinnacle five decades back. Its services were the hallmark of its existence. The airline is all about extending services.

Read more:- Pakistan International Airlines

PIA Customer Experience

The experience of a customer begins from the point of purchase. My personal experiences at ticket counters are bad to relate to. It is a common observation that there is no priority of a passenger standing at the ticket counters.  You are lucky if you are a big shot or an elite member of the armed forces. This will resolve your problem by revealing your identity. If you are not, you will be juggled around from one counter to another like a rolling ball.

PIA customer desk

Customer service should be the top priority of any organization to excel in the airline industry. In PIA, passengers are handled very casually. The passengers with no education or air travel experience suffer the most. It is not whimsical, but it is an unfortunate fact.

I consider it a matter of pride to mention something very unique about PIA. There was a time when PIA was looked upon by passengers from Europe and the USA. The present generation is not aware of an important fact about this airline. PIA once had the honor of bringing the First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, wife of Late President John.F.Kennedy, to Pakistan in 1962.

Some glimpses of her arrival and stay in Pakistan.

Jacqueline Kennedy at PIA

The First lady was extremely impressed by the hospitality of the aircrew and cabin crew of PIA.  While answering a question about her travel with PIA, she remarked, “Great people to fly with.” This remark became the logo of the PIA. The logo remained a hallmark for the airline for years to come.

Read more: Jacqueline Kennedy Hugs PIA Captain Upon Landing in London (1962)

The logo “Great people to fly with” has lost its credence over the years. Customers’ preferences change when the service providers do not meet their expected needs. The same phenomena have occurred in the case of PIA. Customers are now the least priority of the organization, be it customer safety or customer services.

Read more: PIA 8303 – Reminiscence of an organization failure

PIA Service Culture

Why has PIA lost its credibility and interest in the passengers over a period of time?

Safety records aside, its service culture is now almost hanging from the threads. Passengers’ preferences are based upon the services extended to them by the airline. Some of the world’s leading airlines have the best onboard services, which is the reason for their success. On-board services do not mean the inflight entertainment systems, but it is primarily focused on how the passengers are treated during the flight. The cabin crew has behavioral issues that frustrate the passengers. The passengers are not treated well by the air hostesses. The passenger has no choice but to feel about his experience. Most importantly, thinking of changing his preference for the next air travel.

Read more:- Best Airlines for Customer Service.

Unfortunately, no elected government has succeeded in improving the service standards of the organization. The airline is in heavy debt. Despite constant funding from the government, the airline has failed miserably. The service culture is nowhere found in this organization. Due to its bad repute, the airline has become a laughing stock whenever its services are discussed. Something rightly said here,

Read more: Managing Culture in Aviation.

Word of advice

It is sad to see a shining star falling from the sky. PIA earned a good repute in a concise span of time. That glory got lost somehow. It requires dedicated efforts to earn a name in the market.  A shift of focus on its service culture will definitely make PIA a tough competitor for other airlines. It has a reasonable fleet with a good number of aircraft. It has better reach than other domestic airlines in terms of Northern areas and the Gawadar region. Better exploitation of its reach with a precise focus on its customer services will be the defining point of success for the airline in the future.

Read more: Skardu Airport to start international operations.

Written by guest writer, Faisal Bashir