Denny Flanagan – A Customer Provider Champion and a Male of Character

I’m infinitely interested in particular items and fully disinterested in other folks, which features just about anything mechanical you will discover tiny center floor with me.

When I put my important into the ignition of my motor vehicle, anything takes place to make it begin that I will not have to have an understanding of. I really like viewing superior Tv set applications, but I you should not treatment how the image receives into my Television. Nevertheless, if you exhibit me a shopper services winner, I am all above it. I am wholly curious about men and women who make a distinction.

This brings me to Captain Dennis J. Flanagan of United Airlines. Here is what transpired that piqued my desire about this guy of character.

My spouse and I were being traveling to Arizona to shell out a week in Sedona. Our Denver-sure flight was to depart from Baltimore on United Airways. About 30 minutes prior to our scheduled departure, we sat at the gate waiting around to board when the doorway to the Jetway opened. The United captain emerged, strode to the ticket counter, and grabbed the microphone. Dependent on my considerable traveling knowledge, a range of feasible scenarios bombarded my mind – none of them very good!

Then this captain started speaking. “Fantastic early morning, girls and gentlemen. I am your captain, Denny Flanagan.” He went on to explain the weather we anticipated and our route. Then he reported, “We are traveling a Boeing 757 this early morning. If you have any inquiries all through our flight about the plane or flight, I’ll be joyful to respond to them. Our plane this morning is in fantastic form.” A extensive pause ensued, then, “And I’m in fantastic shape.” The travellers chuckled. “By the way,” he ongoing, “this is my to start with flight.” Silence… “Today!” he included with a grin.

Fantastic. He does schtick! He is a pilot I can relate to.

Between the ready passengers, I could see their moods quickly adjust like a wave. They hadn’t previously appeared nervous or fearful, just indifferent or worn out. Right after that announcement, they seemed jovial and eager to board.

We puzzled what would happen up coming. Jimmy Buffet with a parrot? A conga line?

As we commenced boarding, Captain Flanagan stood at the doorway to the plane handing out cards with a 757 pictured on one particular side, and a description of the plane on the other. Greeting him, I mentioned I was an govt mentor and consultant who posted a every month newsletter. I mentioned I’d like to write some thing about his congeniality and gave him my business card. He replied that he’d like to discuss at some point.

An hour into our flight, Anne, the purser, spoke more than the intercom saying, “Fantastic morning, girls and gentlemen. We here at United feel vacation should really be exciting. So Captain Flanagan is raffling off discounted tickets on United.”

Hold out a moment, now we’re possessing a raffle? What is subsequent? Karaoke?

She ongoing, “On your cocktail serviette, remember to write down the explanation you chose United for your air travel. I will then attract 4 napkins and study the responses. People folks will every acquire a coupon value a discount on a foreseeable future United flight.”

The raffle concluded, and I failed to win. But a couple minutes afterwards, Anne arrived down the aisle with a single of Captain Flanagan’s business enterprise cards. On the back was this notice: “Mr. Golletz, You are a valued purchaser and your business is tremendously appreciated. Please let me know how we can exceed your anticipations. Also, could you wait around for me after the flight?” Signed, “Capt. Denny.”

I couldn’t satisfy him for the reason that of a restricted relationship in Denver, so I questioned Anne to convey to him I might phone him right after my Sedona vacation, expressing I was eager to know extra about him. Prior to getting my response to Denny in the cockpit, she told me what she understood about this strange and incredible dude:

  • He institutes the raffle on each individual flight and posts the cocktail serviette responses the place United staffers can go through them.
  • He has a huge amount of copies of a coffee table-sized ebook on United’s historical past and offers them to United associates who answer to consumers in fantastic means.
  • He handwrites own thank you notes on the again of his business cards to every initially-course passenger on every single 1 of his flights.
  • He delivers his personalized credit rating card to unaccompanied minors on his flights so they can use the in-flight cellular phone to get in touch with household.
  • A single of Denny’s co-pilots, Buck Wyndham (how’s that for a pilot’s title?), was so impressed that he requested Denny if he could report him for various times after the brass okayed the concept. The video clip recording was subsequently applied for schooling at the enterprise.

When I obtained house from that getaway, I spoke to Denny and a amount of men and women shut to him. My key issue was, “What produced this devotion to shoppers?” Denny mentioned, “I do it due to the fact it really is my job.” Not a dude vulnerable to self-congratulatory habits. His wife, Terri, informed me he has a profound feeling of responsibility and loyalty that endures in spite of adverse situations. His associate Bud Potts, an additional United pilot, couldn’t reveal this high-quality in Denny. He expressed his admiration for each who Denny is and what he does.

Hold On Learning from Captain Denny

What have I figured out (or reaffirmed) from my working experience with Captain Denny? Below are three conclusions:

1. For yrs, United Airlines has long gone by lots of effectively-documented troubles. Furnishing a vivid spot amid the fray is a chief who demonstrates resilience, persistence, tenacity, a enjoy of persons, loyalty, and dedication. Wherever he acquired it isn’t really as important as that he has it. Character counts!

2. People follow examples instead than orders. Often, Denny preaches the word of buyer service to other United associates. They listen to him since his actions mirror his phrases. He is steady and authentic. He reaffirms what he suggests with what he does.

3. When faced with difficult occasions and circumstances, we have choices. We can concentration on the great with a beneficial attitude or whine about the way things are and harbor resentment. You have possibly listened to it ahead of and I am going to say it again: Resentment is tantamount to consuming poison and anticipating another person else to die. I know people today at United who want the business to are unsuccessful mainly because of deep-seated animosity and their need to have to demonstrate by themselves right. At the threat of showing up simplistic, I say, “Uncover something else to do with your everyday living!”

When periods get hard, individuals toss in the towel and depart out of aggravation. To people at United and other companies who have confronted comparable difficulties and gotten out, I say, “At times leaving is the appropriate answer – for both of those the organization and the human being. Superior to depart than seethe.”

To men and women anyplace who choose to plant their feet and operate for effective modify – Bravo! Locate other like-minded men and women to offer you with the courage to carry on the fight. Incubate tips initiate unbiased action just take challenges develop the company you want.

To everyone, but most notably the government professionals of United, what can you find out from this story and how can you leverage that lesson? Will you have the braveness and smarts to spot your bets on men and women like Denny Flanagan?

P.S. I initially wrote about Denny in my month-to-month e-newsletter in 2005. Since then, other individuals have also found his astounding features. For instance, he has appeared on Tv network demonstrates “This Early morning” and “Very good Early morning The usa” and has been showcased in a page-a single tale in the Wall Street Journal. In an sector that desperately requires heroes, Denny joins pilot Sully Sullenberger (of “set the airplane down in the Hudson River” fame) as a person value emulating. I am very pleased that Denny and I have become superior good friends. When he’s in D.C. or Baltimore, we nonetheless have dinner alongside one another. (Occur to imagine of it, Denny, you owe me a food.)

Copyright 2010 Rand Golletz. All rights reserved.

Leave a Reply