American Airlines didn’t meet their (very modest) operational goals, but they hit higher marks than in weeks three or four.
In sharing this news with employees American recognized an Airport Customer Service instructor for “going the extra mile for our customers this peak travel season” during irregular operations.
On June 16, Dallas Fort-Worth :experienced 330 cancellations and 447 delays.” This staff member “engaged with a customer at the customer assistance desk.” Then later in the day she saw that same customer come back. Showing up more than once for rebooking is a bad travel day, indeed.
The passenger was “visibly distressed, almost on the verge of tears” so the employee offered him a bottle of water, and put him on the phone with reservations. The passenger said thank you. He was traveling to see his sick father who was being removed from life support that night, and American almost prevented him from getting there in time.
The employee reports that know she “helped this customer on an important life journey, as sad
as it must have been for him, really made [her] day.”
At American Airlines, an employee putting a customer on the phone with reservations is considered ‘going the extra mile’ and indeed significant enough to warrant a company-wide feature story. I’d say this was the ultimate example of George W. Bush’s ‘soft bigotry of low expectations’ but she did also offer a bottle of water.
Indeed, customer service usually has ‘refuel and refresh’ carts with bottled water handy during irregular operations.