Air travel can be a treat or a chore. Independent of whether you’re flying economy, business or first class, airline employees – both on the ground and in the air – have great potential to impact the quality of your experience.
I’ve flown 10 or more different airlines in the last year. While most of them have provided friendly and efficient service, it was the low key, yet stellar service provided by David of Alaska Airlines when I checked in at Vancouver International Airport for early morning travel to DC last March that most impressed me on the ground.
When it came to booking flights, Cathay Pacific’s Salvatore provided wonderful service by phone. In the air, it was Patrick of WestJet on our April flight from Phoenix to Vancouver and the Singapore Airlines flight crew in general on a flight last month whose service most impressed. In each case, I felt that much more inclined to do business with each of those airlines in the future.
Other experiences can be more comical. When we checked in for a flight departing Charles de Gaulle airport in 2014, we were embarking on the last leg of a month’s travel. Since my luggage had gone AWOL at the outset of our travels, I’d had to do a bit of shopping during the first week – and knew when we were checking in that my luggage exceeded the weight limit.
I explained the situation to the agent and showed her documentation before asking her to waive the airline’s charge for exceeding the limit. She said she had no authority to make such a decision, and asked that we wait while she called over her supervisor. The supervisor made her way to the counter, and we again explained the situation. She paused, checked the weight on the scale, and told us that she could not make such a determination – but offered to ask her manager for her opinion.
A couple of minutes later, the manager stopped by. Yes, the line up behind us was growing. We didn’t enjoy delaying other people, but we’d also been incredibly frustrated for much of the month by the airline, and didn’t want to give them any more of our money.
With the manager at hand, we told our story for the third time. She looked at the suitcase, looked at us, and said (wait for it) that she could not make such a decision. I almost broke out into laughter. Instead, I looked at the manager with a smile and said, “Well, let me help. I’ll make the decision for all of us that we can agree to waive the charge.” And they did.
This Weekend’s Question:
What Airlines Have Impressed You and Your Executives for Domestic and International Travel?
Please take a couple of minutes to complete the poll below. As always, I look forward to hearing what you have to say and will publish the results on Tuesday.