I’m just saying….
First, air travel is amazing. Really, when you think of it, you can get from point A to point B incredibly fast. As Louis C.K. reminds us, “You’re sitting in chair in the sky!” (See video clip at the end of this post.) And you will find some very nice people along the way as well.
Having said that, I would like to make a few observations from my most recent trek through airports. In no particular order:
- Apps rule! I recently deplaned in Atlanta (Concourse B) for a connecting flight to Austin. I checked the monitor for the next plane. “A3” was the designation. On the way to Concourse A, I checked three more monitors along the way. (I know—a bit compulsive!) “A3” they all assured me. When I got to “A3,” I checked the monitor behind the gate desk. Sure enough, my flight was listed-and it was on time. Life was good. I settled in by the window; made a couple of phone calls; read some email; and pulled out my book to read. For the heck of it, I checked the Delta app I had just downloaded. I was getting familiar with it, and decided to check on my next flight for grins. After all I was at the gate and really did not need the information. Imagine my surprise when I found out—on my phone—that the gate for my flight had been changed. I turned around and the saw that the desk monitor had been changed to another flight. There was no announcement to those of us in the gate area. Luckily I discovered this in time to get to my new gate (back in Concourse B!). Observation #1: Never depend on the airline or airport (not sure who dropped the ball here)—continually check on your outgoing flight. (Observation 1.5: I love my Android Atrix!)
- Think like a driver. Folks, were are in it together when we travel. If you are going to stop and look at a monitor, please pull to the side of the hallway—out of the line of traffic. You might have a lot of time to kill—but the guy running to catch his next flight would appreciate a little courtesy. Same for those who are just moseying down the corridor creating a bottleneck. I am all for enjoying the journey but, again, others behind you have connections to make. Observation #2: Slow walkers please use the inside lane. (Observation #2.5: Don’t just stop without checking behind you. You might get barreled over by someone who has not retired yet.)
- Think like a driver (part 2). When you deplane and head for your next plane or baggage claim you might want to consider not just walking straight into the oncoming foot traffic (see #2 above). Observation #3: Merge with care. (Observation #3.5: Even if you check the monitor, keep you airline app handy. See #1 above.)
- Move for oncoming vehicles. When you hear one of those courtesy airline carts coming down the hallway beeping the horn—get out of the way. Way out of the way! On my return trip to the corrected gate (see #1 above), I heard one of those carts coming my way. I moved. Thank God I did; for as the cart went by me, the driver of the cart was looking to the right as the cart was moving straight ahead. Observation #4. Protect your body…move. (Observation #4.5: Move quickly.)
- Thank you Flight #1487 Crew. Let me finish on a positive note. Lately I have had a number of misfortunes with Delta: cancelled flights, mechanical problems, gates closing early, and less than courteous agents. But I realize there are bad days for all of us. On my most recent flight to Austin (see #1 above), I had the great fortune to have a wonderful flight crew. EVERY ONE of them was helpful, cheerful, smiling, and organized. When I asked if there was room for my guitar (on a completely full flight), I was told, “Absolutely!” (I gave the attendant a CD for his kindness. These people should be doing training seminars on how to provide great customer service. While I will complain about poor service, I will show my gratitude for good service.) This was a wonderful experience. Observation #5: There are very good people out there willing to help and make your travel experience a good one.”
© Steve Piscitelli and Steve Piscitelli’s Blog, 2011.
I enjoyed your Observation from the Airport Professoor Piscitelli. I worked for Delta Airline from 1999 until 2001 in the Reservation Sales Department. Delta Airline Customer Service training was so intense I almost quit the 15 weeks of training, until I received the benefits package, which allowed me to travel all 50 states and out of the country for free with Perks. While in training Delta Stressed Great Customer Service. During my travels thats when I discovered that all Airlines didnt have the same policy as Delta. Since 9/11 the employee’s in the Airline Industry attutitues has changed tremandously, because jobs and wages were cut, alone with benefit package. In conclusion to your observation the Customer Service you received is due to under staffing of employee’s in the Industry.
I understand. Question: Should customers no longer expect civil and excellent service because of staffing consideration?
I liked the blog professoor piscitelli. I travle quite a bit and it is important to check those monitors. I was flying to jacksonville from minnepolis and i was sitting at my gate taking a little nap because it was 5 in the morning and im not up that early. i had an alarm set on my phone to wake me up. the alarm went off i woke up and thats when i realized that my gate has changed. if you have ever been to the minnepolis airport you konw it is huge. I had to run pretty much to the other side of the airport in about 10 minutes just barely making my flight.
Important for travelers to stay vigilant.
Flying today is nothing like it was 12 years ago. Less sporadic and more personal interaction with employees (in a professional manner of course.) I really wish people would treat travel like being in a car, because half of the time people dont want to act like they know how to move properly in big groups. It’s very difficult for someone who believes that our country is the biggest and brightest to comprehend how our travel system works with all the miss communications and ignorance from people and the TSA. As a Palestinian, I do feel they profile, and do feel that their searches are unnecessary at times. Also, I’m not sure if you know who Lewis C.K. is (the man interviewed by Conan,) but he is a great comedian and writer. There is much more wiser words from him out there.
You are correct, air travel has undergone major changes.
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Professor Piscitelli I enjoyed your piece on Air Travel and you pointed out some valuable things for the travelling public however, I don’t believe that customer service skills can be taught in a seminar or any other setting. Great customer service skills come from the individual. If you don’t already have it no matter how many workshops or seminars a person sits in they will never get it if they don’t already posses it. I say all this because as another post read I too worked for Delta in Reservation Sales and Service and also at the Delta Shuttle and Main line at LGA in NY. In all my years in Reservations and the Airport I received many accolades for my superb customer service while others who had worked for the company never did and we all had the same training.
Good points. There is something to be said for talent being as important (more important?) than skill. Having said that, education can help sharpen talent. Thanks for the comment.
love flying! everything from the relaxation, meeting interesting people, ears popping, down to the yummy pretzels but i do agree on everything you said when it comes down to the terminals. very hectic, everyones in a rush or confused about something, and its because of the crazy systems. No way do i think its going to get any better though. there is too many people and too much things going on around to monitor and tend to everyones needs. big tip, just show up around 2 hours early. plenty of time to check in bags, get to gate, and sit down and enjoy a good people watching session before you leave:)
Yes! That is what I do…early arrival….cup of coffee…good reading material…and ready myself for the experience! 🙂
I would like to start out saying this was a very entertaining blog. I totally agree with the poor service most of the airlines display now days.In contrast my being blase about flying all i need is a mix up like that and i would be on the wrong plane to god knows where. Professor Piscitelli i mean everyone is not as swift or sharp as you and also every on doesnt have an Android so you were lucky. I applaud you for keeping your cool, I think I would have been irate for being inconvienced in such a manner.
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