I love to fly.
There is something incredible about the feeling you get when the engines kick in and you rolling down the runway to begin your take off. I have flown commercially too many times to mention and racked up hundreds of thousands of “air miles” so when I say that air travel has become the “Greyhound” of the Sky, I am saying this from a point of experience and not just repeating some anecdotal story……….even though I am repeating an anecdotal phrase because I didn’t make up the Greyhound reference but rather heard it on a podcast or read it in a book somewhere 🙂
Anyway, I was very interested to read on The Church of the Consumer blog a story about an Airline Pilot who, on his own, has decided to make a flight on plane he is flying a true experience.
Denny Flanagan is his name and if you are on one of his flights……
* He will great you personally in the waiting area
* He makes his own announcements
* He writes notes to the Business Class passengers on his personal business card thanking them for flying with him
* He buys everyone McDonalds hamburgers if the plane is delayed…………and has even called family members of children flying alone to tell them of a delay and re-assure the family that the child is being looked after.
Mr. Flanagan is someone who goes out of his way to make the experience of not only flying with him but flying with United Airlines a better and more memorable event.
There is a quote in the original article (in the Wall Street Journal) from Graham Atkinson , United’s Cheif Customer Officer says “He’s a great ambassador for the company,” and goes on to say that he hopes more pilots and airport workers will adopt some of Capt. Flanagan’s techniques such as the frequent, detailed updates he gives to customers.
I find this quote funny because instead of “hoping” more people would be like Mr. Flanagan (a company rock star) why not make it policy to treat people in a way that they would want to fly with one Airline over the other. Most people I know pick their airlines by price or if they happen to be locked into a loyalty program…other then that I assume most people view the service level of them all as similar.
This article shows that making an effort to provide an “experience” can change people’s perception of your product and I know from personal experience that these people would probably pay a bit more for this type treatment……the same way I pay silly amounts of money to stay in boutique hotels (whenever possible) instead of big honkin’ chains