A few weeks ago, I was boarding a US Airways flight and was warmly greeted by Jay, the flight attendant. That’s no big deal, really, because most flight attendants are very nice to those of us who have status, board first and sit in first class (thanks, USAir for the upgrade!).
What was amazing to me is that he greeted each and every person who boarded that plane with a sincere greeting – like he was really happy that each person decided to fly with him that day!
The guy sitting next to me leaned over and said, “That flight attendant really loves his job.” And it was clear he did.
Everything he did was with authentic appreciation and happiness. It’s hard to explain, but as an example, when he was taking our drink/lunch order, rather than standing and talking down to us, he squatted down in the aisle to talk eye to eye. Usually, after everyone in first class has been served, you never see the flight attendant again. Oh, maybe once in a while, but not Jay. He was always walking the aisle and asking if we needed anything else. And it’s not like he was bored or looking for conversation. He just wanted to be of service.
As we were descending, he took the time to call us by name, shake our hand and sincerely say, “Thank you for flying the New American Airlines.” I knew he meant it, too. (I call that a signature customer interaction. It’s unique and authentic to him.)
Needless to say, as a Chairman (highest premium status flier on USAir), I presented him an “Above and Beyond Certificate” – to which he was surprised and appreciative (and I don’t hand out too many, either!)
I keep thinking about Jay (not in a creepy, stalky kind of way – but more about about what made him so appreciative and darn likable). I think the difference is that he made a choice that day….and probably most if not all days…to deliver exceptional service. But more importantly, I think he makes a choice to love his job each and every day – regardless of what happens.
So here’s the weird part. I sharing this story with a gaggle of friends yesterday, and one friend chimed in to say, “Jay! I know exactly who you are talking about! I know Jay! He’s the best!” So he’s also memorable – which makes US Air more memorable.
Imagine if USAir could clone Jay…I’d never fly another airline to a USAir destination.