My wife used to work for American Airlines and we would always fly standby. Since we were flying cheap to free we were expected to dress nice, behave, and generally not rock the boat. No problem.
However, we would always comment to each other on the poor customer service but assumed the staff acted the way they did since we were flying free and perhaps they had issues in the past with employees’ friends and family.
After she had quit, we took a flight on JetBlue (no loyalty!) and it was like night and day. All the JetBlue employees were so nice. Then we had the same experience on a United flight.
We could not believe the difference.
Later still, we flew on American, this time paying for it. We realized it was them, not us. Every employee we came across was entitled and lacked a customer-first mentality.
This is not a post to bash American Airlines, but to bring up the fact that, “you don’t know what you don’t know”.
We had always flown with American Airlines due to the flight benefits and didn’t really have to pay anything. We were just grateful despite the way the staff treated the passengers. What we didn’t know, was there were other companies that trained their employees to treat customers better. Or maybe the other companies just hired nicer employees in the first place.
When I first started driving, I had my insurance with my address listed as my grandparent’s place in the small town I grew up in, while I was living it up in the big city. I thought I was so smart and saving so much money. It was what the rest of my family did and I assumed they knew best and had shopped around. Years later I received an insurance quote with my big-city address and it ended up being way cheaper. Later still I had insurance through a family member and assumed I was getting a great deal but I called Geico on a whim and ended up saving a lot more with better coverage.
I always assumed I had it so good but had never ventured out of what I “knew”.
For almost 15 years I drove the same 1999 Honda Accord that was breaking down all the time. My wife would mention maybe we should get a new car but I had this idea that I was saving so much money doing the few repairs. I also don’t like paying interest and hadn’t had a car payment in a decade and really didn’t want to get a loan.
But when both of our cars were out at the same time, I decided it was time to look into getting an upgrade. I had been making more money for years but was still stuck mentally in the idea that I had to pinch every penny. When I went to the bank I couldn’t believe how little interest I would pay over the next few years. When I actually started driving my new Honda Accord I couldn’t believe I had driven the old one so long.
But you don’t know what you don’t know. Maybe you will love Indian food but never had the courage to try it. You might develop a passion for karaoke but the idea of getting on stage is terrifying to you. But your feelings might change as soon as you try them.
Sometimes it helps just looking into something new.
By the way, I appreciate American Airlines for letting us travel with them in the past. We flew to DC recently on an American Airlines flight and the customer service was way better than it was 15 years ago.