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Dignity in 2008

Well, I just ran the gauntlet again, zipping from coast to coast and back. Here we were 30,000 feet over the ground on a United flight. Remember when they used to feed you? Now they sell you a “meal” for $5. We aren’t even going to discuss the food!

Here we were, three of us, strangers, side by side. During takeoff they made an announcement about food and because I’ve heard it 40 or 50 times recently, I can tell you that they were asking us to take out our in flight magazines and check the menu for our options. BUT. That wasn’t what we heard. What we heard was more like, “Welcome to oulaksjdflkajsdflkjaflkjsadfj. Thanks for Choosing United.”

Our attendant arrived quickly at our row (the second in steerage) and asked the guy next to me in the window seat what he wanted. His response seemed reasonable, he asked what the options were. Her response was amazing in its simplicity, “The menu is on page 104 of your inflight magazine!”

It was like a small bomb of rudeness had been dropped. The three of us were instantly on the same team, arrayed around her, the weak little prey. She was done fore on the spot. And she didn’t care. The FACT that she didn’t care about her passengers in the slightest was written all over her response. We recovered. We all actually ordered a “meal” from her as it was a 5 hour flight.

As I said, I’ve flown a lot and this crew wasn’t the worst I’ve been with, but it was close.
They weren’t just rude, they were also at times chatty! You never knew. Manic came to mind. On the way home, we were treated to a crew that went out of it’s way to make us happy. So what’s the problem? This is a question of Dignity!

When I fly to Houston or Newark, I’m on Continental. To Chicago? American or United. Denver… You get the idea. I am choosing primarily by schedule. BUT. Every once in a while there is a choice. And when there is a choice, I choose to fly with the most dignity that I can.

Think about that one next time you are interacting with a customer/friend/relative/mentor/stranger! Is this relationship transaction leaving both of us with our dignity intact? If not, is there something simple that I can do to preserve his or her dignity? Dignity is at the root of all good customer service interactions. Shared dignity!

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