I fly â a lot. That said, I and other passengers are usually treated like chattel by the airlines. Their disdain towards us, the flying public, gets transmitted like a virus to the passengers. It creates a bad atmosphere in the waiting areas, the check-in counters, the planes, baggage, etc. The bad feelings can start with either a bad attitude on the part of a customer or an airline employee. Regardless of the inception, the service professionals of the airline industry should be the ones who rise above it all and create that aura of flying enjoyment.
Because I get this, I try, I really do, to be diplomatic, cool and helpful to other passengers. In even really bad situations, I try to take the high road. I trade seats to accommodate travelers flying together although the airline has separated them. I give away free drink coupons on Southwest to newlyweds, partiers, and others. I even say hello to the people with me on the overly constricted seats on my row. And, when that ever rarer moment occurs when American Airlines lets me upgrade on a transcontinental, I even thank the airline employees for this opportunity.
I ended up sitting next to Liz Jazwiec at Chicagoâs Midway airport the other day. We were waiting for our respective flights to board but a bad bit of weather was delaying these planes in ever longer intervals. Initially, we had no conversation but 3-4 hours of delays forced us to help each other out. It started with watching each otherâs bags while flight statuses were checked, food was acquired, etc. Eventually, we ended up having a good conversation while waiting through these delays.
Liz does a lot of public speaking and training, like me, but her clientele includes hospitals and nurses. She wrote a book call Eat That Cookie! (that Iâve since read) that describes her personal journey from being one of those ER nurse supervisors with a poor attitude in a hospital in a bad neighborhood to a completely different individual with a different attitude towards work and patients. Her book, as hokey as it seems Iâm describing, is about introducing workplace positivity and how that changes workers, retention and service/customer satisfaction levels.
I particularly liked the story in this book. Itâs a personal journey of discovery and self-awareness that could and should transfer across to countless managers and supervisors in many, many industries. It should be required reading in airlines and Iâd encourage Liz to add that industry to her clientele…