Breaking My Promise

I long ago promised myself I’d stop using airline service horror stories. (A tautology, if ever I’ve heard one.) I got tired of beating dead horses, and was boring myself to death—and doubtless boring you as well.

Still, a useful reminder is a useful reminder. I flew home last week from Mexico City to Boston, on Delta, via Atlanta. The ATL-BOS leg was delayed about 75 minutes, both in the waiting area and on the plane.

I do not exaggerate: Never once did waiting area personnel or the pilot provide any explanation whatsoever. Not one bloody, frigging word.

No, this is not really news in “airline service sucks land”—though it was a smidgen worse than usual. Nonetheless it was a reminder of the Insanely Important Value 100% of the Time of Keeping People Informed/Over-informed. To reiterate a reiteration of a reiteration: We can almost all deal quite well with shit—we all/almost all deal very poorly with uncertainty. Tell me it’ll probably be a 90-minute delay because the pilot is in the bar popping Tequila shots—and I’m fine. (More or less.) Total Silence? I’m on edge, pissed off as hell—irate, in fact.

(NB: Show of electronic hands of those who think Delta-Northwest will in any way, shape, or form positively impact air travelers. TP: Really Big & Crappy + Really Big & Crappy = Shockingly, Gaspworthy Sucko Monumentus.)

Tom Peters posted this on April 17, 2008, in Service.
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