Fly the Unfriendly Skies

“Welcome to Boston.  The local time is 5:45 pm.  We know you have many transportation options and on behalf of the flight crew and cabin staff we’d like to thank you for choosing Delta.  Whether you are traveling on further or if Boston is your final destination, we wish you a pleasant evening.”

Have you ever heard those words before?
Me too. So many times in fact, that I wrote them from memory.

But for whom and for what purpose are those words said each time you land at an airport?

There’s no useful information within them.
The people speaking the words didn’t write them.
To the extent any passengers are even listening, it has no impact on the way any of them feels about the airline.

It’s the industry’s own peculiar version of “Have a nice day.”

But it’s another good example of how all of us, in companies of all sizes, communicate on auto-pilot (sorry).
We could say something different – or at least using different words – but it’s easier to just copy what we’ve always done and what everyone else is doing.

And I get it; a huge company like an airline needs standardization. So one person writes it, the lawyers bless it, and the flight attendants read it until the end of time.

But you’re not a huge company. You can say whatever you want (more or less). So take a look at where you’re just following convention – on your web site, in your Facebook updates, in your E-Newsletter, on your invoices, on your voice mail message, in your holiday cards, etc. Then do something different.

Until then, please return your tray tables and seat backs to an upright position. (Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz)

Photo courtesy of Kash_if, used under a Creative Commons license.

2 thoughts on “Fly the Unfriendly Skies

  1. Mark Brownlow

    Oh yes! My “local” airline includes the line “It’s been a real pleasure serving you on board today”. Given our total interaction consists of:

    “Tea? Coffee?”
    “No thank you”

    …I’m THIS close to asking them exactly what part of that 5 word conversation gave them such real pleasure. I’m pretty sure there are insights in there about how to be happy, etc.

    I could rant on this for years (yes, I will seek therapy) but the “we are now flying at 30,000 feet” also gets me going. What is the significance of that? Should I be relieved? Worried? What if it was 29,999? It seems to be a vital piece of info, since they always tell us. Or is it a coded message to the flight attendants? If the captain says 31,000 feet it means he’s buying beers that evening, 30,000 feet and he wants to get an early night?

    When did humans stop flying planes?


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