Mar 1 2014, 7:59pm CST | by Forbes
Does lightning really strike twice? Is there such a think as Deja Vu? Can people and companies change? Can people and companies just have a bad day? Is one person’s view too limited to make judgement? Are we responsible for things we put in print for the world to see?
I have been asking myself these questions recently.
You see, I have been feeling guilty.
One year and two weeks ago I wrote an article called A Few Key Differences Between Southwest And Delta. In fact, I wrote it on Valentines Day 2013 after a flight on Delta to Las Vegas that I compared to a similar length flight to Los Angeles on Southwest within the same week.
I had a great experience on Southwest. A not-so-great experience on Delta. Now I don’t go about writing articles this poignant without more than a single event. I had several comparably different but similar experiences within just a few months on both airlines.
The article I wrote highlighted the differences between the two experiences quite bluntly.
Now every time recently when Delta has done something right I have felt guilty… really guilty.
It didn’t help with a comment from one of my readers named Steven Prusakowski 2 weeks ago
Wow! You can judge an entire airline and its 20,000 flight attendants based on one flight? You are incredible.
I have had wonderful experiences on Delta. I especially love that they can take me to so many other destinations 600+ (across the globe) compared to less than 100 SouthWest has. I prefer options to an extra bag of pretzels… but that’s just me.
Nevertheless, I felt like a schmuck. The power of digital media requires responsibility and thought. More than I had given it.
So lately I had already been watching closely, looking for change, for improvement.
And one year later, almost exactly. I took a similar flight to Las Vegas on, you guessed it, Delta Airlines.
And you know what?
It was as good as my previous experience on Delta a year before was not.
And I thought back, several other flights on Delta had been just as good recently.
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We won a Silver Stevie award (2nd place) in our space, Sales and Customer Service, during the dinner awards ceremony. Feeling a little let down, and due to the fact I got out a little earlier than I thought, I decided to check if I could get home that night instead of the late morning flight I had going back on Delta. After checking, I didn’t have enough time to catch the flight out that evening.
But I could get out at 6 am or 8 am the next morning instead of just before 11am. More time with family.
So I called Delta and had them move me to the 8 am flight. (I didn’t need to get home bad enough for the 6 am flight.) It cost me $50, with clear statements about ‘no refunds’ once I made the change. But that is pretty standard, no big deal.
So I got to McCarran Airport in Vegas bright and early only to find my plane was delayed with a parts problem.
My 8am flight was delayed until 11am. The same time as my other flight.
I went up to the gate counter and asked how much chance there was that my flight would be delayed further.
The gentleman at the gate said, “I think we should put you back on your original flight, just in case. And I’ll give you a voucher for the $50 you spent.”
“I thought you couldn’t give refunds?” I asked.
He smiled, “It doesn’t make sense for you to spend $50 to be back on your original flight, does it?”
It wasn’t the money. It was the gesture.
Then I’m sitting on my flight back home to Provo, Utah, from Las Vegas when the weird feeling that I’ve been here before crept over me. This time they let me wear my headphones. But wait, the government had relaxed their requirements. Now I could keep wearing my headphones without fearing the little red light on my headset and the high wattage of an iPhone 5 would destroy the navigation and communication capabilities of the massive airliner.
Maybe it wasn’t Delta after all. Maybe that original stewardess hated the stupidity of having to enforce stupidity as much as I hated being the lucky recipient of her enforcement.
The new stewardess handed me pretzels and my ginger ale, exactly like my experience a year ago. But contrary to last time, she was all smiles. Obviously having a great day.
I couldn’t resist playing it out.
I asked, “Don’t you have those awesome Delta cookies?” She said, “Sorry, they didn’t give us any on this flight.”
Dang! There was that second strike of lightning. Oh well.
I pushed my seat back and closed my eyes.
When only moments later, the stewardess with the bright smile was back, with a careful napkin-wrapped package in her hand and a big grin.
It was one of those packages of amazing Delta cookies.
Just for me.
She had remembered and scoured the plane for two wrapped cookies.
She knew what it meant.
She put her finger to her lips swearing me to silence so we wouldn’t have a run on the cookie bank.
Pretty impressive Delta.
Keep it up.
Source: Forbes Business
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