How to Create an Experience on the Fly.

October 1, 2011

A First Class Experience!

Today was an interesting day.  After a great few days in Big Sky, MT,  it was time to head back to the East Coast.  After sitting at Bozeman airport with my friends, who were begging me to stay a few days more, I sadly said goodbye and walked through airport security.  As I arrived at my gate they were boarding those travelers with “status” so I walked onto the plane. When I got on I noticed that I was the first one there. I needed to use the restroom so I quickly ran to the back so that I could get back out to my seat without blocking the aisle .  As I opened the door to walk out I was surprised to see that the plane was still empty.  I walked over to the flight attendants and they weren’t sure why the boarding process had stopped. We were all remarking about the fact that it was odd that I was the one person on the plane when suddenly one of them asked me if I had a camera. I whipped out my uber-fancy camera (that I have yet to learn how to use) and handed it over. That began a five minute photo shoot of me in sitting first class, me with the pilot and me in an empty plane. They handed me a beverage to really complete the shot. We laughed. I had fun. They had fun. We had an experience.

I stress that the plane was empty and they were not in anyway neglecting their duties. Instead, they saw the chance to create an experience for me.   They asked the pilot for permission to take photos and he authorized it.  I couldn’t thank them enough.

Here’s the thing. This was a United Airlines flight, but I noticed that there badges said GoJet. This was an interesting observation because, as someone who has been a Continental Airlines loyalist for some time, I have found a huge difference in the level of service and charm from the flight attendants since the merger with United. In fact, I can almost always pick out who was a United employee and who was a Continental employee. To be blunt, I think that United could use a little help in the “people” department. It was very clear to me that these women did not come from the United culture. Instead, the culture that they reflected was one of professionalism and charm.

I fully understand that a flight attendant’s job, first and foremost, is to maintain safety. However, there is no reason that this cannot be done with a smile and with spunk.  There is no reason that flight attendants, waiters, doctors, lawyers, bus drivers, or really anyone shouldn’t try to make a client’s experience, well, an experience. The women on this particular flight from Bozeman to Chicago did this as if it was what they were born to do.

The ironic part of my story is that I ended up getting bumped off of my flight and didn’t get a chance to chat more with the lovely ladies who made me laugh.  But I have the photos as memories and the blog post to prove it.

The bottom line is that people notice when people don’t smile and they really notice when people go above and beyond. At least I do.

What stories do you have of a companies or people creating an experience for you? When have you done this for someone else.