As I write this blog article, my husband and I are in first-class flying to Denver, Colorado. As a Vice President in Sales, he travels a lot, so we tend to get upgraded rather frequently. This flight has been different from others, though, because of the flight attendant and her out-of-the-box thinking.
Depending on what time you fly and the duration of your flight, you can get a meal during your stay on the airplane while you’re in first class (for domestic flights). Typically, the lead flight attendant will come by and repeat the meals to each person and ask for their selection. With 16 seats in first class (on an Airbus 321), you can need a glass of water by the time you’re through gathering everyone’s orders. Our particular flight attendant did it differently. At the beginning of the flight, she stood in the aisle at the front and announced to everyone in our section what the meals were. Then, when she came around to get our meal and drink order, she only had to ask “beef or pasta?” Of course! It seems to obvious and efficient to take dinner orders that way, and yet that is the first time my husband or I have ever seen that.
Another thing this lovely Customer Service Representative of the Sky did was to announce that dinner would be served in 10 minutes and asked everyone to put their trays out. On every other flight, my husband and I have been on the purser would come by and individually assist you with opening your tray table if it wasn’t already open by the time your meal came. Asking everyone to open their trays at once saved her from having 16 different, little conversations about the same thing.
Although it seems obvious when you’re on the outside looking in that what the flight attendant did on our flight should be done on all flights forever, it can be hard to break away from the mold and the direction you’ve been given to come up with a new solution. One thing I like to say to people who say “well that’s just the way it’s done” is “just because it has always been done like that doesn’t mean it’s the right way to do it.”
Think about it this way - people and processes are always changing. We’re always looking for ways to improve our health, look better, and make more money. Typically that means we have to make some change in our lives. It works the same way for companies. When you’re trying to cut back costs and streamline your revenue, you’re looking for what changes you can make. Don’t overlook processes that have been the same for a long time because “that’s the way they are” or because it’s tradition. If something can be improved, improve it! You’re here for a purpose - make your tasks work towards your objective, not against it.
If you’d like an outsiders opinion on your operations to find ways to streamline them, please reach out to me. If you want more information about airplanes, you'll want to talk to my husband. ;-)