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?
Somehow every time I come back from a trip I have annoying airplane stories. For my flights to/from Maui I think the worst was the woman sitting directly behind us on our way to Maui who literally (I am not exaggerating in the least) talked for the entire flight. How the poor woman sitting next to her made it through the flight I will never know. Chris kept offering me his noise canceling headphones but I do not think I should have to block it all out. Rather I think that individuals need to have more self-awareness! Especially when you have a high-pitched voice.
I did tell Chris that he can NEVER tell me I talk too much. I do not think I could ever talk for that long!
The next story has nothing to do with my trip but was an article I read last week about a man on a Portland bound Jet Blue flight that was sleeping and woke up and began peeing on neighboring passengers and their belongings. What, what, what? What is wrong with people these days? What has happened to the art of traveling, the luxury, and the excitement? We no longer seem to care about what is happening around us.
I definitely think a lot before traveling these days. What will my TSA experience be like? What will my overall travel experience be like, and how will the other passengers around me act? A colleague of mine’s spouse is a flight attendant, and they share horrifying stories about the things that people do on airplanes. We need to elevate our travel experiences both for ourselves and those around us.