What a Pleasant Flight

January 5, 2009

“There will be a brief stop for re-fueling in Guam and then we will be on our way to Manila.” This was the announcement given when my family and I took PR105 from San Francisco to Manila on January 2 in San Francisco. I had the opportunity to meet Sir Norman, the very kindly and friendly manager of Philippine Airlines and we had a brief chat. I wish I could spend more time with him for he is such a pleasant person but we would be boarding in a few minutes. So we shook hands I wished him well and he quickly turned his attention to other passengers in need of his assistance. He is very hands-0n.

We had a pleasant flight. Not because the plane was new, it was functional but I would have liked a total make-over of that craft. We had a pleasant flight not because the line was short, it was quite long actually. Not because the travel time would be short, it was in fact going to be long but we had a pleasant flight because the crew made it pleasant.

Talk about impossible. There was this passenger 2 seats away from me who was making life difficult both for the passengers and the crew. I can see he was nervous but he tried to hide his nervousness by being rude to everyone in the plane. He threw his things on the floor expecting the flight attendants to pick it up and they did without a single word of complaint. He shouted at a another one when he needed something like someone in New York hailing a cab but the FA courteously approached and even with a smile on her face assisted him with his needs. People were shaking their heads. Some were clenching their fists and the situation was tense but thank God his seat companions were 2 very gracious gentlemen who tried to calm him down.

This made me observe that the crew in this flight was made up of very young, fast and hard working (and very good looking) women and men who did their job very well. I guess the only unpleasant thing with the flight will be this unpleasant passenger who gives everyone a hard time. Well… you can’t win them all.

I read my book. I dozed off. But when I woke up I saw a very charming flight attendant seated across this difficult passenger engaging him in a very lively and animated conversation. (This difficult passenger was seated along the emergency exit area). She made him laugh, she asked him about his family, how long he has been staying in California and what he intended to do in the Philippines and to cut the story short, I saw a great transformation from an insecure, uncontrollable difficult passenger into a smiling, joyful and even helpful gentlemen who started helping others with their needs. It’s amazing that a little kindness spiced up with a genuine interest and a natural smile can do to transform a beast into a prince. What a classic “Beauty and the Beast” story inside a PAL flight taking place. Here is excellent customer service at its best. When I read business books Southwest Airlines are full of stories like these and they are used by trainers and speakers like me. But good stories also happen in our local airlines. It’s just that only a few get to know about positive experiences like these. The FA’s are trained well and they certainly know what excellent customer service delivery is.

What is customer service anyway? We do not need to be technical. It’s a concept as simple as  inconveniencing oneself for the convenience of others… that’s all there is to it. And the cast and crew of PR105 that day did very well. I wish every person in the service sector get to understand this principle. I wish every person will understand the power of kindness. Truth to tell, there is a beastly side to all of us in the first place but a loving and kind person can bring out the best in us.

My congratulations to the crew and staff of PR105. There’s just too many customer horror stories you find but when you and I benefit from a good experience, a great performance or an act of kindness, we should talk more about this and encourage others to do the same shouldn’t we?

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Charlo

    Very inspiring story on customer service.
    I will tell others in our company about this.
    Thank you and God bless.

  2. denver

    I really gained some new VAT (value added thought) from your story. I wish I get to experience that too! God Bless you sir!

  3. Paul Garilao

    This is an interesting story about a passenger.

    Usually, I encounter passengers who are friendly and talkative aboard. But it’s interesting to note that PR has young crew members; I encountered grand mom stewardess in my recent flight to Las Vegas.

    I like your writing style Sir Francis. I hope to further develop my craft like yours.

    God bless!

  4. Gemma Banaynal

    Thank you, Francis Kong! Just what we need after all the negativity and drudgery brought about by the unsigned CBA. This is surely a spark of light, a source of inspiration of what we can do, that we can, after all, bring out the best of anybody, everyday!

    1. Francis Kong

      Thank you! hope everything will turn out better than expected!

  5. grace

    thank you sir!
    for you had a great time flying w/ PAL. i hope all the passengers will enjoy every flight they will have. god bless!

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