Champagne costs money. Space on planes or in hotels costs money and so do hot meals. With that in mind- we don’t travel hoping for upgrades. Instead, when the rare blessing occurs, we’re nothing short of flabbergasted. There’s one loyalty perk we’ve come to enjoy immensely here at GSTP though, and we’re unfortunately amazed when it’s not delivered.
We’re talking about the British Airways Gold Member greeting. Yes, for all of you who would like to use this as an attempt to call us pompous and privileged, it’s a very first world problem- but it is nonetheless something that means a lot and goes a long way in the world of loyalty and is offered, so should be delivered. Loyalty is a dwindling term in todays world and we think this is a brilliant recognition, if executed properly. This is not unique to British Airways, its’ just a foray into this wider issue.
The idea is that on every British Airways flight, the purser of the flight (person in charge of the cabin) comes around with their iPad (telling them) to recognize gold members- EVEN If they’re seated in economy. Being greeted by name and recognized for frequent flying makes things personal, it makes things homely. It’s like going to dinner in your favorite local restaurant, being greeted cordially by name and shown straight to a table. It feels great and is a literally FREE sales tool.
After around 6 very recent British Airways flights both long and short haul- we’ve been passed over more times than we’ve been recognized. This is not special to travel bloggers, D listers or businessmen, it’s a simple offer of recognition. We blame the crews. We’ve been on 40 minute flights where the purser has made incredible lengths to make the greeting. We’ve been on 10 hour flight where they have not (far more rare). More often than not it’s the short flights that skip out. Having seen great crews work- it’s appalling to see poor ones put forth no effort to any part of the service- gold or not. It’s one hour, it’s your job- lock in, smile. Do it.
(I’m looking at you in particular, entirely moody BA crew on flight 442 to Amsterdam Oct 14th)
While blame partly lays upon crews, how could an airline not deliver on this 100% of the time? I don’t expect an upgrade, a free drink, meal or even extra bags (though I do get extra bags thanks to loyalty), but a little hello and “where you traveling?” makes things feel nice. This is cheap, it’s cheerful and if I ran an airline I would find it a very low hanging fruit to make people feel the loyalty.
Following many other bloggers, journalists and frequent flyers on social media, I increasingly see airlines like Delta, Southwest and others going to great lengths to recognize passenger loyalty. I’ve seen hand written notes from pilots, cocktail napkin hellos from friendly pursers and all sorts of convivial ways to say “you matter to us”. Every relationship starts with a simple action- and a hello seems like the cheapest (and best) way to instantly win points, at least in my eyes.