Delta Customer Service Rave!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I recently earned Silver status on Delta Airlines; after years as a loyal American Airlines flier, I've started falling in love with Delta.  I've mentioned my love for the Atlanta Airport (ATL) which is the hub for all things Delta.  As a direct flight, it is pretty convenient for my trips to Augusta, Georgia; and allows me to keep some work/life balance by getting home late Friday night and flying back to Georgia on Sunday.

After boarding my flight Friday, I was bumped up to first class (score!) and quickly moved my carryon up to my big, comfy seat.  I was surprised to see the pilot standing at the front of First Class to make an announcement.
"Oh boy." I thought, "something's wrong, I'm not getting home tonight."
Instead it was Captain Hughes introducing himself and making the standard pre-flight announcements face to face.  I was absolutely floored; usually I see the pilot after landing, as I walk past the cockpit to the jetbridge to get to the terminal.  His friendly smile, humor and genuine warm welcome was a great way to start off our smooth flight to Des Moines. 

I shot engagement photos, a wedding and family photos Saturday and managed to squeeze in a little time with loved ones before flying back to Atlanta on the 6am flight Sunday morning.  Ugh. 6am flight.  I'm sure you can imagine how thrilled I was for that flight.  Surprisingly, I was treated to another complementary upgrade to First Class where I was even more surprised to see Captain Hughes making his pre-flight announcements from First Class again!

As someone who delivers training on customer service, I think my expectations might be a bit high for customer service; and let's be honest, the air travel industry isn't really known for stellar service.  Thinking back to a few weeks ago, I was boarding a flight in Atlanta and saw a Delta poster in the jetway advertising their customer service crew "the Red Coats" were returning.  I didn't think too much of it, but the human touch to a bottom-line driven business was an example of the impact one employee can have. 

Captain Hughes made a freqent flier like me feel appreciated. Taking time to address us personally felt like he knew why he was there; he is there for the passengers.  Without passengers, we don't need the pilot.  Without customers, my company doesn't need me. 

Of course, after the flight, I did the only logical thing; I waited for the plane to clear and thanked Captain Hughes and told him about this little blog and asked if I could take his picture.  He went even further above and beyond by granting my request and showing interest in following up on here.  Captain, if you're reading this - THANK YOU!  And if I misspelled your me :)  There is only so much I'm capable of on four hours of sleep. :)

To Captain Hughes, his flight crew and everyone else exceeding customer expectations in their career - THANK YOU!  And Delta - KEEP IT UP!  We need more pilots & co-pilots like Captain Hughes!

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