Today I write my first ever post whilst flying – unfortunately not anywhere too exciting. I am going back home to Scotland for the weekend. I of course booked this flight a while back in order to secure a reasonable price for my wife and I. Unfortunately, the choice of airlines was extremely limited which suited travel plans. To cut a long story short, we are flying with easyJet. Now, if you have ever been travelling through Europe, you are likely to have heard of this ‘value’ airline. They are, undoubtedly, one of the cheapest airlines in Europe, but are great at adding on ‘extras’. You basically have to pay for everything from luggage to having a seat allocated.
Upon arriving at the airport, we parked in (prebooked) long stay car parking (was half the price of regular parking) and joined the queue for the bus to the terminal. Big error – we forgot to consider that it is the start of ‘half-term’, which is prime time for families to have a ski trip or impromptu break. We had to wait for the second bus to get a space and by the time we arrived at the terminal we were left with 25 minutes before check-in closed. We made our way to the easyJet section to find… utter CHAOS. One MASSIVE Queue for ‘all destinations’ bursting out the barriers, people shouting, children crying; it was like a scene out of one of those reality airport programs. We managed to get fast-tracked via a different queue, given that we had limited time, r a pretty stressful check in experience, with 5 minutes to spare. This was followed by a half hour wait to get through security and straight into another queue to board the aircraft. With the absence of allocated seats, there was no guarantee that we would be able to sit together; in addition to this, at 6ft 5 I like to have an aisle seat! The queue was in no way helped by the staff measuring the dimensions of every passengers bag before boarding the aircraft – in an attempt to charge them to check it in to the hold. And let me tell you, there were a LOT of passengers who paid a premium today! Maybe they thought they were being smart by keeping it out of view from the check-in assistant; but they just got stung!! The airline charge something ridiculous like £20 ($30) for every kilo that you are over your weight allowance for checked bags, so I dread to imagine what these people were charged. Luckily, there were people later than us and I sit here typing this next to my wife; albeit a little crammed.
After finally getting on board the aircraft and seated, as you can probably tell from my rants; I wasn’t in the best mood. Pretty stressed and generally just pissed off. Then something changed my opinion instantly. The Cabin Manager (or cabin service director) started speaking to everyone welcoming them on board with such warmth, charisma and enthusiasm. There was not a hint of sarcasm and he truly engaged every passenger. I think it is the first time that I have ever heard silence in an aircraft for the safety announcement! This got me thinking. It really is true that people are an organisation’s most valuable asset. People are essentially the primary distinguishing feature amongst companies who do the same thing. For example, mobile phone providers – they all essentially do the same thing, but loyalty is often created from the frontline – the sales staff. The same goes for banks, shops and pretty much any business. Employees are the face of the business, the first point of contact for every customer.
This of course can have an opposite, detrimental effect – and often does. How often do you judge a company or organisation on the person that you have dealt with? How many times do you revisit restaurants because you like the staff, where you felt welcome and wanted? The food is only part of the decision to return. Equally, if the food is great, but the server has a bad attitude and is rude to you, are you likely to go back? We do not consider the fact that they are only one person in the organisation; we are programmed to make judgements.
I am going to write a letter to easyJet to let them know how the Cabin Manager on my flight changed my experience from pretty bad to pretty okay. Companies need to know about these valuable employees who make a real difference. We are all quick enough to complain – how many of you write compliment letters? I for one am not very good at this but I will strive to improve. It really is true – Attitude is Everything!
Jeremy @ Modest Money says
You are so right about the value of good service. This story reminds me of a recent trip around California. The cheapest airline we used did in fact try to add extra charges for baggage and seat allocation. Unfortunately we didn’t get a friendly stewardess to improve the experience. As a result I probably won’t fly with that airline again. The catch is that the cheap companies usually also cheap out on staff wages and benefits. So they usually can’t retain the best employees. Service quality is definitely quite important to me.
I think you are absolutely correct – The more expensive airlines will steal the best staff from the competition, offering better routes and benefits – It really is worth paying for service!
I enjoy reading your musings. You bring up a very valid point.
We are all quick enough to complain – how many of you write compliment letters?
This is something I know I am guilty of as well. Those employees who go above and beyond deserve to be rewarded.
Liquid Indepdendence says
I’m guilty of judging a whole book by one or two pages as well. In any industry where customers can get the same service for the same price from different companies, the quality of customer service can either make or break a business.
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