(Image Courtesy of http://www.telegraph.co.uk)
A solitary airport employee stood behind the small podium looking back and forth between the screen, and their own hands. As I approached, their gaze looked down towards the floor. Any attempt at eye contact seemed impossible.
A few minutes earlier, as most of us prepared to board the flight, the announcement was made. Due to delays for an inbound flight, our flight was going to postpone boarding and wait 30 minutes.
Sighs, frustrated words, angry looks, and tension filled the boarding area. Some of which was directed at this solitary employee.
Another employee joined that employee and some softer words were exchanged. Finally, they both looked up at me.
“Can we help you?”
“Yes, I just wanted to say Thanks for the Delay.”
“Please let me explain. The last time I flew with you, my plane was a late. Storms caused us a delay, and you held my connecting flight, just like you are doing right now. So, Thanks for the Delay. I know what it feels like to think that you will be stranded, and you took care of me.”
Smiles. Relief. More Smiles.
“Well, you are welcome. Funny, someone who came up here was explaining that someone else’s delay was not their problem at all.”
I smiled, waved, and went for a walk to get a smoothie (before the delay, there was no time to get one). As I was leaving I overheard them speaking to each other.
“You know, we may just have to remember that.”
I hope they do. More so, I hope we remember that sometimes planes wait for us. Sometimes you are the customer getting help. Other times, you may have a slight inconvenience when they are providing the same level of service to someone else.
At the end, due to a combination of winds and a flight crew that pushed a little harder on the gas, the flight arrived only 15 minutes later than originally expected.
15 minutes was all it cost so that a handful of people were not stranded in a strange city overnight. Seems like a pretty good trade.
Thanks for the Delay.