Customer Service is More Than a Drink and Recognition

“Wow, all this concern for 5% of the passengers. No wonder the airlines are clueless. Back in steerage we’re just happy to physically get into a seat and find a space for our carry-on.”

Customer Service is More Than a Drink and Recognition

This comment posted by paul is in response to this article written by Gary Leff of View From The Wing pertaining to American Airlines wanting its flight attendants to both serves a pre departure beverage and address passenger by name — and I have to admit that I thought similarly when I read that article.

Like almost anyone else who is seated in the premium cabin, I do enjoy that beverage prior to departure and being recognized by name — but that is only part of the equation for me…

…and of course, that does not even apply when seated in the economy class cabin aboard an airplane.

An Example of Indifference to the Customer

“And the fans that don’t want to come to the game? I mean, OK. Bye. I mean, if you feel that’s something, we’re disrespecting you, don’t come to the game. You don’t have to. No one’s telling you to come to the game. It’s your freedom of choice to do that.”

That is what Delanie Walker — who is the tight end for the Tennessee Titans football team — reportedly said when members of both his team and the Seattle Seahawks remained in the locker room during the national anthem before their game on Sunday, September 24, 2017, according to this article written by Jason Wolf of the Tennessean.

Setting aside the fact that this incident is part of the ongoing debate pertaining to equal rights and whether or not the national anthem of the United States is racist, it was the attitude of the response which led to an angry response by fans of the National Football League — which included death threats towards Walker and other football players. Those fans are customers who support the team; and without their patronage — whether that pertains to attending games at the stadium or purchasing products from sponsors who have multimillion dollar contracts with either the team or the National Football League — those players would not be earning the significant salaries for which they earn playing a game which they enjoy.

I am not saying that Walker has no right to express his thoughts and opinions; but now let us place the quote in the context of air travel. Imagine if a member of the flight crew or executive of an airline said “If you do not want to fly on our airline, fine. Do not fly our airline. No one is telling you to fly our airline. It is your freedom of choice to do that.”

While that choice is obviously implied, what would be your reaction about patronizing the airline in the future after hearing or reading that statement?


To me, that statement suggests an obvious indifference to the customer — and at times, employees of airlines, lodging companies, rental car companies and other travel companies do seem to not want to go the extra mile and care about the customer.

What astonishes me about the leadership of airlines and other corporations is the simple concept of helping and treating customers with respect, dignity, politeness and civility is generally overlooked in favor of profits and returns on investments for the short term — it pays to be nice and polite — and certainly throwing in an unexpected small surprise to delight the customer could result in creating a feeling of being special and wanting to return for more, which could indirectly impact the bottom line favorably.

For me, that could be something as simple as asking a member of the flight crew for a bag of pretzels and receiving two or three bags with a smile.

Then again, perhaps I expect too much from customer service — with the latest example from a representative of a rental car facility via telephone.

Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

2 thoughts on “Customer Service is More Than a Drink and Recognition”

  1. Jay says:

    “it pays to be nice and polite”. Absolutely 100% it does. I practice this myself all the time in my business and it is an extremely profitable way to do business.

    The problem is that the high level executives are very selfish people who only care about their personal comfort, convenience, and bonuses that they hope to get by doing the least amount that they can get away with. They’d much rather enjoy life rather than thinking of ways that could really make their customers happy. It is a selfish, me me me world for most people – on all levels and in most industries ( not just the airline industry).

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I could not have said it better myself.

      Thank you, Jay.

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