A big thanks to Flight Attendant Justin James for continuing to wow our passengers with his exceptional customer service. Here’s what one of our passengers had to say after a recent flight with Justin:
As a 1K and recent Million Miler, I obviously travel a lot, and have been loyal to United, its partners and regional carriers for more than 30 years. As changes have occurred in the industry, air travel has become more and more difficult for everyone, including flight crews. As airlines have merged, routes have been reduced, planes have gotten smaller, space has become tighter, and flights have become fuller, I have seen the frustration that it causes among the passengers and flight attendants alike. In the end though, the airline industry is a service industry, and therefore relies on its customers to be successful.
I can’t help but notice how over the past few years, flight attendants have become less patient with flyers – a lot of which is understandable due to annoying and unruly passengers – and even unprofessional, which is my opinion is inexcusable. I can’t tell you how many times I encounter flight attendants that complain about work hours, pay, gate agents, and other issues while standing at the front of a plane and don’t even acknowledge the passengers as they board. It has come to the point where I almost expect this behavior, which is disappointing. This past week I was on a flight where the flight attendant started her beverage service and actually walked down the aisle with the beverage cart not addressing or even looking at any of the passengers unless they stopped her or otherwise indicated that they wanted something to drink. Apparently she was more interested in getting back to her book or whatever it was she was doing to pass the time.
I don’t mention any of this because I want to lodge a complaint. In fact it’s the exact opposite.
Last night I flew from Chicago to Allentown and encountered one of the friendliest, most courteous and professional flight attendants I have ever seen. His name is Justin James. Justin did exactly what I would have expected him to do while the plane was boarding: smile, greet passengers and help expedite the process. It’s what he did afterward that caught me by surprise. As he was serving beverages, I noticed that as he came down the aisle, he was addressing people by name. I’m used to that in the first class cabin of a large jet, but in all my years of flying, this is the FIRST TIME it has ever happened to me in coach class of a regional jet! I was so caught by surprise that I felt like I had to say something and we struck up a brief but very nice conversation. Justin couldn’t have been more respectful to me or to any of the other passengers. Then he did something else that I believe has only happened to me one other time in my life: he shook my hand and thanked me for my loyalty.
Unfortunately I didn’t have a lot of time to talk to Justin after that, partly because he was busy engaging other passengers. I wanted to know if he was doing this because he loves his job or because he feels like he is supposed to act this way. I sincerely hope it’s the former, but to be honest it really doesn’t matter, because either way he made it obvious that he truly respects the customers that fly on his planes.
I don’t know what policy or process you have in place to recognize extraordinary employee performance, but I hope that Justin can somehow get rewarded – or at least officially recognized – for his exemplary service last night. I will be taking the same route many times between now and the end of the year, and I can only hope to see Justin’s smiling face when I step on board. He truly made the flight a pleasant experience!
This, along with the other passenger compliments that Justin has received, will be entered in the third quarter Above & Beyond contest. A $50 Visa gift card will be awarded to the winner from each category. The deadline for third quarter submissions is September 30!