PAX vs customer

Old Jan 4, 18, 5:33 am
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PAX vs customer

Only very recently I became intrigued by the announcements on AF flights. The French version is about Customers (clients). The English version has Passengers. Do you know if somehow "passager" might be considered offensive in French?
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Old Jan 4, 18, 5:44 am
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im pretty sure ive heard "passager" pretty often, dont actually recall hearing "clients".
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Old Jan 4, 18, 2:31 pm
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Originally Posted by natcin View Post
im pretty sure ive heard "passager" pretty often, dont actually recall hearing "clients".
same for me. And no, passager is not offensive in French.
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Old Jan 4, 18, 6:28 pm
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There's one case I imagine when using "customer" isn't the best way: say, Lufthansa flight from Czech to Germany, saying "Dear customers ... " in German which is "Sehr geehrte Kunden ...", where the word "Kunden" sounds very close to "c*nts" in Czech
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Old Jan 4, 18, 8:33 pm
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Originally Posted by Goldorak View Post
same for me. And no, passager is not offensive in French.
And I'd rather be called a passager than a client.
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Old Jan 4, 18, 10:52 pm
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Originally Posted by natcin View Post
im pretty sure ive heard "passager" pretty often, dont actually recall hearing "clients".
Originally Posted by Goldorak View Post

same for me. And no, passager is not offensive in French.
They say "clients" during the pre-landing announcement "Nos clients La Première, Business, SkyTeam Elite Plus ont accès au parcours SkyPriority" or something like that.
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Old Jan 5, 18, 12:03 am
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Whatever word they use, the problem is that for many longer time AF employees we are all just “users” (“usagers” in French). The mindset is that there is a public service offered which people use, take it or leave it. No notion of winning and retaining customers in an environment where they can also take their spending elsewhere. It’s not as bad as it used to be and not as bad as at SNCF, but the notion still persists.
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Old Jan 5, 18, 1:33 am
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Passenger is not offensive but I think you are stepping into one of those historical lexical crusades that get French transport companies going.

Basically, till the 1980s, most French transportation companies including the SNCF and Air France were state-owned and functioning as monopolistic public services (notably domestically) rather than competitive companies. At the time, passengers were considered 'users' ("usagers" in French) and there was a broad sense that they were basically taken for granted and that staff did not consider that they needed to treat them as customers.

For many customer-service-focused leaders at AF, this was a conundrum and an issue. Despite the rose-tainted glasses that AF staff have had on some aspects of the AF product and specificities, they were highly conscious of some staff not behaving in the commercial way that they wanted them to show to improve customer satisfaction and people's willingness to actually choose AF based on service in an increasingly competitive environment.

This is when they tried to repeat the mantra that staff were dealing with 'customers' (clients) and not 'users' (usagers) with the implicit suggestion that you should treat them with the carrot you use when hoping to sell a product or service (say, in a hotel or restaurant) rather than the bored stick you can afford to use when people visit their local branch of the tax or social security administration. Understanding that staff faced 'clients' became an ideological crusade against the ghosts of the monopolistic past. My guess is that because the said ghost dates back to a time where foreign customers were simply neither a majority nor a priority for AF, such lexical 'correction' was never needed in English. Indeed, by and large, the genuine internationalisation of AF customer based occurred at a time when the airline was firmly aware of its competitive market anyway. My sense is that this is why 'passengers' probably easily went through the net in English, whilst 'clients' is intended to act as a subliminal reminder to staff of the environment that they operate in.

In a way, AF should be praised for the move however cosmetic. The ghost of the monopolistic heritage was just as strong for AZ, TP, or IB not to mention central European airlines, and arguably, AZ and TP never fully recovered for it and customers are still not always treated as such onboard to this date.
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Old Jan 5, 18, 4:39 am
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Originally Posted by orbitmic View Post
Passenger is not offensive but I think you are stepping into one of those historical lexical crusades that get French transport companies going.

Basically, till the 1980s, most French transportation companies including the SNCF and Air France were state-owned and functioning as monopolistic public services (notably domestically) rather than competitive companies. At the time, passengers were considered 'users' ("usagers" in French) and there was a broad sense that they were basically taken for granted and that staff did not consider that they needed to treat them as customers.

For many customer-service-focused leaders at AF, this was a conundrum and an issue. Despite the rose-tainted glasses that AF staff have had on some aspects of the AF product and specificities, they were highly conscious of some staff not behaving in the commercial way that they wanted them to show to improve customer satisfaction and people's willingness to actually choose AF based on service in an increasingly competitive environment.

This is when they tried to repeat the mantra that staff were dealing with 'customers' (clients) and not 'users' (usagers) with the implicit suggestion that you should treat them with the carrot you use when hoping to sell a product or service (say, in a hotel or restaurant) rather than the bored stick you can afford to use when people visit their local branch of the tax or social security administration. Understanding that staff faced 'clients' became an ideological crusade against the ghosts of the monopolistic past. My guess is that because the said ghost dates back to a time where foreign customers were simply neither a majority nor a priority for AF, such lexical 'correction' was never needed in English. Indeed, by and large, the genuine internationalisation of AF customer based occurred at a time when the airline was firmly aware of its competitive market anyway. My sense is that this is why 'passengers' probably easily went through the net in English, whilst 'clients' is intended to act as a subliminal reminder to staff of the environment that they operate in.

In a way, AF should be praised for the move however cosmetic. The ghost of the monopolistic heritage was just as strong for AZ, TP, or IB not to mention central European airlines, and arguably, AZ and TP never fully recovered for it and customers are still not always treated as such onboard to this date.
I agree with you.
But I also understand San Gottardo argument that the mindset of AF employees is slow to change, or let's say that the change is uneven. And AF unions are there to remind employees that staff come first and passengers are primarily users. Even young recruits are quickly indoctrinated. At least, that's often my feeling whenever I go back to and use AF. I guess that I am now accustomed (customer=client) to a very different environment.
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