Years ago, when I lived in Milwaukee, there was a great, and wonderful airline by the name of Midwest Express. I loved that airline, it was the one airline that I was proud to be a frequent flyer on. To this day, I still have the leather travel wallet they gave out then you hit the hundred thousand mile mark.
There were many reasons why this airline was so great. It was a Milwaukee based airline, with only direct flights. You wanted to go to Boston? No problem, you got on the flight in Milwaukee and two hours later you were in Boston. It was the same with Phoenix, and San Francisco, and Los Angeles, and San Diego and wherever else you wanted to go.
The planes were all DC 10’s and they all had first class sized leather seats, and get this no middle seats…let me say that again no middle seats. Can you just imagine that? No, I am not making this up, I swear it is all true.
And that’s not all. Hold on to your seat because this next part is true, in fact, some of you might have heard this, if you ever heard the legend of this now legendary airline…they served warm chocolate chip cookies to every passenger on every flight! Warm chocolate chip cookies to everyone, no class distinction here folks, all passengers were created equal.
Now, that was all great stuff, already better than any other airline in the United States. But even with the great seats, direct flights, cookies, leather travel wallets, and all of those wonderful accoutrements that was not why people like me, loved Midwest Express, no, not at all. The number one reason why people loved this airline was because of their great attitude. They cared, and they showed they cared. T It showed when there was a delay or a rare cancellation and the agent at the ticket counter tried her very best to accommodate you, and help you get to where you needed to go. They cared, and took care of you if you were a nervous fly. I once saw a flight attendant actually sit own, and hold the hand of an elderly woman who was having an anxiety attack as we flew through a sudden storm late one night.
They cared, you could sense it in the voice of the pilots when we were held up from taking off by some confusion in messed up airports like Logan in Boston, or LaGuardia in New York. I was on a flight from Boston to Milwaukee one day, when for one reason or another the tower would not let us take off. Now don’t get me wrong these controllers do a great job normally, but in places like Logan, there can be some delays caused by less than ethical reasons such as union work slowdowns. I think this was one of those times. Every time, our pilot came on the speaker to make the latest delay announcement, you could tell that it was taking every ounce of self-control he had, not to let us know what he really thought of what was really going on that day. But he did show it until our plane was finally cleared for takeoff. Did you ever feel the power of a plane “peeling out’? We’ll that’s exactly what it felt like when that Midwest Express flight took off. The way the pilot pushed that plane into the sky was all the evidence we needed to understand his frustration at being held up and of not being to get his passengers to where they needed to be as had been promised them when they bought their tickets. Man, it was zero to five hundred miles an hour and ten thousand feet in like six seconds!
And. that is what mattered most…that the people at Midwest Express cared. They cared deeply about doing a great job, about serving their customers, and getting them to where they needed to go, as promised.
As far as I am concerned Midwest Express, was the last of the great service airlines. Staffed by people who had an affinity for always doing the right thing for their customers.
A few years ago, Midwest Express was swallowed up, and ruined, by Frontier Airlines and that great service, and that great caring for customers was lost forever. As were those great warm chocolate chip cookies. The only thing left of this airline is their example. If you want your company to be admired, and loved by your customers. Take a page out of the Midwest Express play book and care, that’s all just care about your customers and you’ll keep them for life.
It’s only common sense.