When A Team Pulls Together

Today I’m thinking about innovation, service and teamwork. As I write, I’m flying back from Washington, DC where I attended the national ASTD conference. Here I am sitting on an airplane 35,000 feet in the air able to use my itty bitty EEE PC to write my blog post. Marvelous!

Travel for me – business travel anyway – has lost a lot of its luster in the years since 9/11. In addition to all the other challenges of air flight these days – like being practically stripped down to walk through the security gates – airlines have now begun to charge us for the “privilege” of checking our bags leading many people, including myself to carry on more than we used too. Of course that typically leads to longer boarding and deplaning times, but I guess that doesn’t matter much to these airlines who often treat us more like cattle than human beings. On top of pricey airline tickets, huge penalties for making changes if your plans change, now we have to pay $15 a bag each direction if we don’t want to hassle dragging all of our bags on board. I wonder, what’s next? Is expecting great customer service just too much to ask? I am a bit cynical on this topic, so I would normally say yes. Today was a rather unexpected and thoroughly enjoyable surprise.

delta1A Lesson in Professionalism and Teamwork

I’m traveling on the noon Delta flight #1965. As I discovered after arriving at the airport, the flight just before mine had been cancelled. That led to the usual challenges for people who had connecting flights that were now impossible to make. And it meant that my flight, which wasn’t full when I changed my travel plan this morning, now, had to accommodate those people impacted by the change. It could have been a disastrous, frustrating situation for everyone. It wasn’t!

The attendants manning this flight have to some degree restored my faith that great teamwork and stellar service do exist. Gate attendants quickly and expertly re-booked tickets and soothed frazzled feelings. Onboarding happened about as quickly as I have ever seen. This flight crew totally had it going on! They helped people get bags in the overhead bins quickly and organized them in ways that accommodated all passengers. Everyone co-operated (passengers included) and we took off right on time. Awesome!

During the early part of the flight, the air conditioning was working over time. We’re talking serious meat locker here, and as soon as attendants noticed they worked to correct the issue to ensure everyone’s comfort.

Professional, courteous, kind, efficient, friendly – what more can you ask for? This Delta team worked together like a well oiled machine, and it is obvious that they care about doing great work. Hats off to the flight crew on Delta #1965! You made my noon flight from DC to Atlanta one that was truly more pleasure than pain. Thank you! Your peers and management should take note!

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