The ONE Thing That Will Get You Better Customer Service During Holiday Travel

View from the Wing had a good post earlier this week on the 6 Things That Will Make Your Thanksgiving Travel Easier. But the one thing I would most recommend for ensuring a better travel experience: Be nice to others.

I arrived at Reagan National Airport Saturday morning before 8AM to a sea of angry travelers and no travel delays! Everyone apparently woke up furious and entitled and was taking it out on the airport staff.

The first group were yelling at the Skycap because they hadn’t heard him say it was an additional $2 to check their bags outside vs inside. “I ALREADY PAID! YOU’RE TRYING TO SCAM ME” (I’m not kidding).

When they finally left, still berating him as they walked away, he and I briefly bonded over inconsiderate travelers. I’d been worried I’d missed the 45 minute cut off time for checking bags, but he never said a word about it, instead going out of his way to help me. Something he might not have done for the pointlessly angry people in front of me.


That rather set the stage for the rest of my airport experience with rude people in the security line, agitated people at customer service desks, even people snapping at the flight attendants because they had overpacked their luggage. Throughout it all, I saw the nice people (which for these purposes I’ll define as those who weren’t raising their voice or glaring sometimes even cracking a smile) getting more helpful service, sometimes even service with a smile.

Airline employees are not causing the travel woes you might be facing. They like long lines and delays even less than you do. They didn’t create them, but they’re your one hope of getting out of them. And being mean isn’t going to inspire them to find amazing solutions.

The same goes for hotel staff and even your fellow passengers. The nicer you are, the most inclined they’ll be to help you change your room, find space for your overhead, etc.

It might not go as far as getting you an upgrade but it also doesn’t cost anything.


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1 Comment on this article. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Aleen Robert December 11, 2014 at 12:37 pm -

    I’m always sympathic to airline employees that have to deal with rude passengers. Last week flying from JFK-AMS a flight attendant had to deal with someone trying to force his way through while in the middle of the beverage service. She properly handled that passenger and I gave her a Delta Job Well Done certificate. I always try to reward FAs when they encounter horrible people, it brings a smile to both our faces.