One was the fact that this was her first time back in Samoa from Australia for a while, and secondly, when she heard on the PA system the standard Samoa Airways touchdown message, in Samoan, “Faafetai I le alofa o le Atua ua taunuu ma le manuia le tatou faigamalaga I Samoa” which translates to “Thank God for His love that we have arrived home safely”.
It may not mean much to the seasoned traveller who just wants to get off the plane as soon as possible, but for people like Sina, it meant the world to her to be welcomed back home in her own language, on her country’s national carrier. It brought back a surge of fond memories for her.
“It was just like being back in the old Polynesian Airlines day”, Sina reminisced. “I love that we always give thanks to God first when we arrive safely at a destination. It means a lot to me. And the fact that I was returning home to take care of a critically ill parent made this an even more emotional and special homecoming for me”.
It was Ms Sina’s first time on Samoa Airways since it was re-launched. She said she was hesitant at first because of what she heard and read about the airline, but a strong sense of patriotism eventually led her to try it out for herself.
And she was pleasantly surprised. To the point where she is now a Samoa Airways convert and actively advocates to anyone who she comes into contact with to fly with the national carrier.
“Apart from us lending our own airline our support, it is also great value for money. The fares are cheap, and the love and care shown by the crew, especially towards the elderly, is what touches me the most”, she said.
It’s the little touches like these that are quickly becoming synonymous with the Samoa Airways experience.
People have expressed similar sentiments on social media and other platforms.
It’s something the airline is committed to enhance as it heads into the future.
“‘Talimalo’, ‘tautua’ and ‘faaaloalo’, which translate to ‘hospitality’, ‘service’ and ‘respect’ are core values of our Samoan culture and way of life. At Samoa Airways, sharing these values in the form of our warm Samoan hospitality is an integral part of what we do”, said Seiuli Alvin Tuala, CEO of Samoa Airways.
“Our team and crew outside of work (and just like the rest of us) have family, village and church obligations. These shape who we are and so when it comes to our line of work, there is that natural Samoan flair which comes through in the way we care for our customers, including our elders. We’re encouraged by the feedback and look forward to continuing to serve our customers the Samoan way”.
Only four months into its new operations, the airline is well on its way to re-establishing its presence in the airline industry. It has a range of exciting new developments and services in the pipeline that will be revealed in due course. This should translate to a better and more improved customer experience.
For people like Sina, who will fly back to Australia in the coming week on Samoa Airways, this trip was a real revelation for her. And she wants others to experience what she did for themselves.
“I urge all Samoans to come together and support our airline. This is ours, and we have a big part to play as passengers and customers to ensure that our airline continues to thrive”, said Sina.
Photos by Toleafoa NS Toleafoa. Caption: A taste of the renowned, warm Samoan hospitality and service that passengers can expect on all Samoa Airways flights.