What a Difference an Attitude Makes

I’m literally writing this post from the cloud–onboard Delta flight 2462 from Atlanta to Newark. The free wifi is courtesy of Google, but the pleasant atmosphere on the plane is courtesy of one of the most friendliest and customer-friendly fight crews I’ve encountered in a long time.

Southwest Airlines employees are invariably friendly and fun, but outside of that island of civility, it’s been pretty bleak and discouraging to be a flier the last couple of years. Whether it’s the thought of fighting your way through airport security or being treated like an inconvenience and bother by flight attendants, for the most part the friendly skies are few and far between.

That’s why today’s experience stands out. As we were boarding, the pilot came on and told us we had George Clooney and Brad Pitt at the controls. He proceeded to tell a few other jokes, but he had us all at line one. Then to top it off, he came out of the cockpit and walked up and down the length of the plane, saying hello to everyone and asking how we were doing.

This is my 4th flight on Delta in less than a week. The first three weren’t terrible–one was delayed for several hours due to weather, which was not Delta’s fault–but this flight stands out because of the extra attention of the crew.

Let’s face it. The American public is frustrated with air travel in general, TSA security processes in particular, and the screw you attitude of most airline personnel. It cost nothing, took little effort and just 5 minutes of one pilot’s time to make a world of difference–so much so that I’m sharing this with the world before we even land. In fact, what he did probably made the entire crew’s job easier for the duration of the flight by defusing any tension and frustration amongst the passengers.

We’ve known for years that employee attitudes make or break a brand. How many times do organizations need to learn this lesson the hard way? Here’s an example of what happens when you do things right.

Message to Delta: Find this pilot, reward him then clone him. If you can’t find Clooney and Pitt on your employee rolls, try looking for someone named Craig. Rumor has it that’s his off-stage alias.

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