As I have harped on many times before, attitude is key when it comes to forming my overall impression of a flight or travel experience. The amenities, ticket price, and hard product can all be great, but unless the service is warm and friendly, I cannot give it high marks.
Yesterday morning I flew from Las Vegas to Los Angeles. After clearing security, my first stop was the Continental President's Club. I was traveling with my brother and we were both dressed rather casually in jeans and hooded university sweatshirts, making us look like teenagers (if you'll allow me to flatter myself...). An agent, named Eva, took one look at us when we walked through the door and went right back to typing on her computer, probably hoping we would go to the agent seated next to her.
I handed her my boarding pass and before I had time to pull out my British Midland card, she interjected, "You can't use this lounge if you're not traveling internationally. And I need to see your ID." I simply pulled out my BD card and ID (CO always requests ID) and handed it to her. With a scowl on a her face she slid the card and handed me back my stuff. Not another word was said. As I walked past her into the club, I saw that she was playing what looked to be Sim City on her computer. Nice.
I don't know what it is with Continental. My outlook improved quite a bit after my stellar in-flight crews on my trip to Brussels and mileage run to Denver, but CO's airport staff continues to woefully let me down.
20 minutes later, I boarded my United flight. After settling in my seat, I was approached by an airport supervisor named Rudy who knelt down at my seat and thanked me for being a 1K. He asked how my experience with United staff was at the airport that morning and asked if there was anything he could do make my travel experience better. We talked for a while about the merger and he came back once again before the aircraft door closed to wish be a great flight.
What a great testament that someone loves their job. I must note that this has never happened before when traveling on United, including on multiple flights out of Las Vegas, but I was elated by Rudy's customer service approach.
In the end, I enjoyed a standard visit to the CO President's Club and a standard flight from LAS-LAX, but the employee interaction completely altered my overall impression of the experience.
It's the little things that really make a difference. Employee attitude does matter.