First impressions matter greatly in any context, including on a flight. My flight to London on United this week had a very disappointing start.
I’ve resolved in 2019 to resist being offended. Thus, I’m not (or at least trying not to) directly complain. But I do want to point out what a missed opportunity poor service is.
I boarded my flight from Los Angeles to London earlier this week. Just 30 seconds after taking my seat in business class, a frowning FA appeared with a clipboard and simply stated:
First and second meal choice?
That was it. No smile. No “welcome onboard.” And certainly no, “Mr. Klint, we’re pleased to have you flying with us today. Have you had a chance to review the menu yet? I’m taking meal orders now so that we can get you served promptly after takeoff to maximize your rest.”
Same question to my seatmate. He asked if she had a recommendation and she shrugged and did not respond.
What a juxtaposition to the purser, who later came around to offer a personal greeting to every business class passenger.
It annoyed me so much. I know I should not let it bother me. Life is too short to be offended over things like that. But again, what a missed opportunity. What a failure to show kindness and extend a smile, like De Ann did on a recent United flight.
I know United has cut back a galley position and FAs feel overworked, but how much does a smile cost? Doesn’t even a forced smile make you feel better?
I’ll have more to say about the flight in a later post, but United has all the ingredients for success. But when flight attendants act like this one, human capital is not maximized. That’s ultimately a poor reflection on leadership and customers do take note. And even if they continue to fly United, as I certainly will, they shake their heads in disbelief. How can these levels of service be tolerated?