Small customer service gestures go a long way toward making delays bearable and building loyalty. I want to pay tribute today to a classy captain on American Airlines who turned an annoying delay into a lovely case study in providing superior customer service.
How A Classy American Airlines Captain Turned A Delay Into A Great Customer Service Moment
View From The Wing shared about how a caption handled a delay from Puerto Vallarta with a plane full of impatient passengers. Rather than hide in the cockpit or blame others, the pilot walked into the passenger cabin, explained the reason for the delay (a late arriving aircraft), apologized (even though it was not his fault), and then offered to take questions.
This is customer service. Passengers tend to be amazingly resilient when they feel they are being respected. Transparency is a sign of respect. Humility is a sign of respect. Approachability is a sign of respect.
The very act of walking down the aisle is itself a huge gesture.
I have traveled a lot but this has never happened. The captain himself comes face to face to tell why we are late and of course apologized. Also promised to provide free drinks on the @AmericanAir bill. This is customer service. Thank you! pic.twitter.com/gSLyy9wFlq
— Sami Muhonen (@samimuho) May 21, 2023
Adding icing on the cake, the captain finally announced that all drinks would be complimentary once in the air. That’s a nice gesture. Rather than see it as misappropriating company resources (those weren’t his drinks to give away) or encouraging overconsumption and drunkenness onboard, I see it as the sort of gesture that reflects well on American Airlines and will make people far more forgiving of the delay.
Kudos to the classy captain on American Airlines who turned an unfortunate delay into a chance for customer service to shine. Objectively, American Airlines was late (again). But do you think that the delay is what people are going to be telling their friends? No, they’ll be talking about the cool pilot and the free drinks.