The Most Excellent Flight Attendant EVER!

I left home on Sunday to speak at a conference in Michigan. I had quite an exciting trip overall, and you can read more about that by clicking here.  But this is a fun story that happened before things got really, really nutty…and it is worth telling.  I love GREAT customer service, and I want to celebrate it whenever I can.

IMG-20120506-00446I met the best flight attendant ever on the American Airlines flight that was supposed to leave Chicago at 1:30 p.m. and arrive in Traverse City at 1:40 p.m. (EST).  I can say this with complete objectivity because I have flown since I was six months old with typically at least two flights annually since then.  Because I am turning 38 next Friday, that is a lot of flights.  I have had many good flight attendants, but none of them have ever been EXCELLENT like Josh.

Josh made me see him as an excellent flight attendant from the very start of the flight.  After the emergency instruction speech, Josh took the time to go over them again with a small girl near the front of the plane.  He was goofy and interacted with her on her level.  He did not scare her with these instructions.  Instead, he was silly and actually allowed her to put the mask (“in the event of a change in cabin pressure”) on her.  This was great!

Many of you may have read my blog post a few weeks back about The Survivor’s Club.  In that book, the author talks about the importance of knowing the safety information for each airplane flight in order for passengers to be prepared and helpful in the event of a crash.  The more passengers who are prepared, the more likely that all will survive (as long as the crash does not include especially horrible impact conditions).

Josh’s re-telling of the emergency information was a great way to connect with the little girl on the flight.  He put her at ease, gave her information, and allowed her to be helpful in the event of a crash or a change in cabin pressure.  He was wonderful with her, and he remained entertaining throughout the flight to the rest of us.  He was kind, caring, and entertaining.  He also relayed information about our delays (and eventual cancellation).  I have never met a flight attendant so well-created for his position.  In fact, he was so good at what he did on the airline that I wish that I could hire him myself someday for a position working with students.  Those same qualities would transfer well to working with students.

Rabbit trail: I wonder if he would ever want to work for me? Sorry…back to the story!

More importantly than all of that, though, Josh prepared pretty much the entire passenger group on that flight by going over the important points of the emergency information a second time.  He highlighted specific items that we all could use, he used very simple language so that the little girl understood him, and he demonstrated the important items a second time.

The great thing was that most adults in the plane had no idea that they were learning while he was doing this.  They all were watching and commenting to each other, though.  They thought he was sweet, and he was!  But more importantly, he got their attention, and they were watching him.

Honestly, if I were an airline trainer, I would use this example to train others so that they could ensure that many people – who may not otherwise pay attention – would.  When a child is being entertained by a caring adult, that catches the eyes of others.  If this “entertainment” actually has curricular content, all the better!  Although most on the plane who watched Josh learned, they did not realize it.  I would not have even thought of this had I not recently read a book that shared the statistics pointing to the necessity of preparedness on airplanes.

But I had recently read the book, and Josh completely caught my attention!

If someone from American Airlines by chance is reading this blog, I hope that you show your appreciation to Josh by promoting him to a larger airplane or whatever he wants to do career-wise with your company.  Although I would be pleased to ride his airplane again sometime (a small plane out of Chicago), I would be even happier if you would recognize his talent and the asset that he is by making his dreams come true.  Please do not lose out on this wonderful young man.

Readers, if you find great customer service somewhere, do your best to pass it on to the management.  It really does make a difference!  In some cases, those complimented get gift cards, bonuses, and even promotions.  I have heard somewhere that, for every compliment a business receives, they have 5-10 complaints.  How can we turn that around?

I wish you all a happy day!

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