Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The World Of Exceptions...!

(Photo Credit: UNC Humor)
Texas trip I made during the weekend that went pass by was fantastic by all means. Nice time spent at Dallas Zoo, Museum of Science, Plano Downtown, the yum food at Caffe Chat & ofcourse the fondness showered to me by Nisheet, Nikhil & Pooja (Isn't English language cool - you can get around with heavier terms of addresses - bhabhi etc ;)) made my trip way too special. And while I was cokking yday, my room mate made a pasing statement - "Hey ur batteries seem to be charged up again !" - which is certainly a Feel Good Factor!

Anyways, as I was waiting for my flight at DFW Airport I observed the fellow passengers and what I spotted was a true Brownian Motion amidst the waiting lobby. Everyone or most of the folks seemed to be in such a restless state - flipping magazines just for the sake of staying busy , making tons of phone calls one after another, punching in keys of their blackberries or gazing at their watches every now and then. I was tempted to pick one of those activites since my flight was an hour and half later but then - I observed this lady and was instantly amazed to spot the confident look on her face - like the one you spot on Sportsmen winning Gold Medals at the Olympics ! With plenty of time on my side and inertia to take my laptop out of my Checking Bag, I decided to have a havea chat with this lady who caught my attention right away(Everyone else seemed so busy & tensed !). Anyways, our conversation (It lasted for good 30-45 mins) turned out to be quite memorable for me. After exchanging the usual pleasantries of "Hey, How are you today?", we talked abt our respective professions. I learnt that she was an erstwhile Delta Flight Stewardess who was now visiting Yale for a Campus Tour - she intends to get enrolled in MBA Course there eventually. Flight Attendant and MBA - now that was quite a contrast I wondered. Curious, I asked about how relevant she feels her work ex with Delta is and in return she bombarded me with tons of points which for a moment led me to believe that Delta is THE AIRLINE to work for if one's is in aviation business. Here are few seemingly normal yet different things she utterred which were in total contrast to my erstwhile viewpoints :( Here they go:

  • Passenger Comfort: In any flight (she said) you get to meet a wide variety of people (not so happy me/me/happy me) who have different perceptions about the airline and since most of them assess flying experience on scale of OK/bad/worse/gross, this leaves you with limited options, And thus you've to ensure that every passenger is taken care of properly.
And I thought, offering Peanut crackers & Soft Drinks was quite simple !

  • Demonstrations: Few years ago, they had to do a safety demonstration for all passengers and situation kinda turns strange when your audience feel making that last phone call to their acquaintences is more important than hearing you out or worst still some folks stare you down - and still you should adorn a nice smile. But now, thanks to pre-flight Video Demostrations, attendants can focus on monitoring passenger safety belts, upright seats etc!

And I thought, those demos are so easy than giving a Seminar !

  • Passenger Safety: Well, this she said is the primary responsibility of a flight attendant. They need to verify the boarding particulars (passengers with special needs like handicapsor or minors etc), assist passengers with loading of carry-on baggage, smoke detectors check, emergency equipment check, cockpit check etc.
And I thought, Technology takes care of Safety !
  • Turbulence CrossCheck: This seemingly simple tasks proves to be super effective she said. During those moments when you spot ur plane wobbling from left to right and before you deduce than you are in a Roller Coaster Ride, in consultation with the Pilots - flight attendants have to politely ask the pasengers to keep their seat belts fastened and thats about it - the idea (she emphasized) was to make passengers feel completely safe and it works !

And I thought, Flight Crew relaxes or listens to music when plane is at 30,000 ft !

  • Presentation: Before landing, it is imperative for the flight crew to thank passengers for choosing the airline and ask for candid feedback. She stressed that the situation gets real interesting when say the flight gets delayed due to Technical Problems and you are 99% sure that passengers won't reciprocate warmly to you as they get off the plane towards Baggage Claim.

And I thought, their presentation was all abt nicely pressed bright colored dresses !

The conversation was simply superb and as we headed for grabbing some Coffee, she mapped all these points and lots more very clearly to her reasons for doing a MBA from an Ivy League School and she was near 99% sure(have never spotted such a confident lady) that she'll do well in the days to come. While sipping coffee, she suddenly had this thought that I was being a diligent listener since quite some time & asked about my work , passions etc. -- eeks now that sounded a lil' uncomfortable to me at first (for obvious reasons). But during these testing times, enthusiasm works wonders! I started with the describing the thrill I experience penning down blog posts or better still drawing sketches about the experiences that amaze me on a scale "Wow/Awesome/Brilliant" (I think I like this scale analogy:)) and eventually talked about Technology & DBA Stuff - all this while she was very very attentive which was good (may be). And from the email she sent out early this morning - looks like I made a decent impression too :-). But you know - Good things don't last that long, soon we heard the announcement about boarding flight DL930 to Atlanta. As I wished her "It's very nice meeting you today" - I sincerely felt so !
On board, I realised that exuding passion in what we are doing everyday isn't that tough and honestly each one of us can make make a visible & positive difference in our respective professions - I bet this lady was superb on every flight she was in during her tenure at Delta ! I wish Scinthia all the very best for her upcoming endeavors at the reverred Yale SOM!

"Are we doing things that create ripple & are worth talking about?"


Dhruva said...

Hmm ... Chinmay bete, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship :)

PS - sahi hai bondhuuu .. sahi hai ... :)

Sanjeev K said...

Nice to See your new post..all d very best. Anticipating more freq posts :0)

Sandeep said...

very impressive post..& entertaining too..


Anonymous said...

you can learn & enjoy even in tense situations...that is the lesson from this blog..

Yes..the attributes listed out in right priority & weightage pertaining to service people have a universal appeal but most of us fail to notice or appreciate the hard work & care with passion displayed by airlines staff.
Many of us will be inclined to change our outlook after reading this blog..