It seems like every time I travel I come home and have some story about crazy passengers, annoying TSA agents, and just the overall experience of flying the [un]friendly skies. Yes, I am picky, but I also think we’ve lost the service out of customer service… which means the customer is left hanging. As companies fight for market share what many are finding is that service is actually what sets many companies apart. Think Zappos or Nordstroms.
I just came across this story back from May 2015 where Southwest Airlines elevated their service game. After reviewing a few articles about her story, here is a recap of what happened:
A woman is on a Southwest plane flying from Chicago to Columbus finds out her son is in a coma after an accident. The plane turns back to the gate and the flight attendant asks her to get off. At the gate they told her to call her husband. She finds out that her son, who lives in Denver, is in a coma after a head injury. This is what Southwest does:
_Offered her a private waiting area
_Rerouted her luggage
_Allowed her to board first
_Packed a lunch for when she got off the plane in Denver
_Her luggage was delivered to where she was staying in Denver
_She received a call from Southwest asking how her son was doing
Amazing right? Yet, should it be? I wish we did not think that was stellar service. I want that to be the normal type of service that we can expect. How often does this type of tragic thing happen to folks? Often. People travel to sick, hurt, and dying loved ones, but so often we do not know their story. The morale is — how can we raise the bar and make what Southwest did for this woman the norm?
I am always in awe that an airplane can fly. I do not take that for granted. We get into a metal contraption, and fly through the friendly skies. It is a mostly natural event in many of our lives, and it used to be one that was a luxury. Today it seems to feel like herding cattle. It is no longer much fun, and no longer feels luxurious. Sure, we have the ability to have wi-fi Internet, while flying at 30,000 feet. Pretty amazing if you really think about it. In recent years, I have heard folks get pissed off on an airplane when the wi-fi or TVs do not work. Annoying right? I mean annoying that someone would complain about it. I mean you are flying 30,000 feet in the air. Yes, I will say it again, you are flying, quit complaining!
Having said all that my bone to pick (here is where that saying came from) is that they charge you for everything. We recently flew across the country on Delta. They are usually the airline we fly. I do not have any problems with Delta. In the last few months though they have put more fees on things. It is starting to get annoying. I fear that soon I will have to use my credit card to pay to use the bathroom whenever I fly. Trust me that could get expensive. Whatever happened to customer service and caring for your customers? Think back to when flying was a luxury and way less expensive. It was about service. The TV screen in the seat in front of me had movies and TV shows. They used to be free. Now it is $6 for a movie, and $6 for any amount of TV (or $1 a show). On our flight the TVs were not working. I was not annoyed that they were not working, I understand that happens. I was frustrated that we have yet another fee. Seriously. We pay hundreds and thousands of dollars to fly around the world and we have to pay more for a few hours of entertainment in a seat that we can barely move around in, while eating pretzels and horrible coffee. (It was. I even heard the flight attendant tell the other flight attendant the coffee they made was bad).
flight #1 TV broken
What has it come to? We now pay to check bags, we may eventually have to pay for our carry on bags. We have to pay for real food, and now we cannot even get free entertainment. Ugh. It is annoying. Yes, I am still grateful for the amazing feat that we can even fly the friendly skies, but airlines, if you are listening, save something to brag about – give us a little customer service. Please. A little can go a long way.
#2 flight – this plane needs to go into retirement