It’s often said that marketing is about managing expectations. Far better to under-promise and over-deliver than the other way around.
The so-called No-Frills airlines have made this into an art form, promoting their low fares as a virtue, then almost making us feel grateful that they charge exorbitant rates for simple luxuries like checking in, taking a suitcase, or even going to the toilet on board the flight. As such I had fairly low expectations for our flight this summer from Bristol to Malaga with the Big Orange – Easyjet.
I realise that in the past I’ve written some fairly ranty posts about shoddy customer service (not without justification!!), but for once I’m pleased to shower Easyjet’s staff with praise. They were terrific (and our flights left and landed on time going both ways too!).
I’ve written before about my younger daughter Eleanor’s nut allergy. We knew this could be problematic in the airport and indeed on board. We carry anti-histamine medicine (yes, more than 100ml) and a couple of hypodermic epi-pens (which we’ve thankfully never needed to use). So we dutifully obtained a note from our GP explaining why this is essential medicine and crossed our fingers. At Bristol it all seemed to go OK, but in Malaga our experience was tremendous.
We made a point of telling everyone at every stage of our journey through the airport, from the check-in desk staff, the security screeners and so on. We had some key vocabulary printed out in Spanish, and by the end of the holiday could almost even say it in a reasonable accent (apparently).
By the time we arrived at the boarding gate we were running a bit behind, having struggled to find anything suitable for Eleanor to eat in the airport apart from crisps or an apple. No sooner than we had started cursing ourselves for missing the call for Priority Boarding (as Eleanor is under 5), than a very cheerful man in a hi-vis vest approached us.
Excuse me, but are you the family with a daughter who has a nut allergy?
As we looked slightly bemused but nodded, he turned to Eleanor, crouched down (so he was at her level), smiled gently and asked…
Are you allergic to nuts?
When she nodded he beamed at her, and said
Come this way, we’ve saved some very special seats for you.
We were led to the front of the very long queue and checked-in ahead of everyone else. We were ushered on board where the plane was filling up fast, except for rows 3 & 4, which were guarded by a very smart and only slightly imposing member of the Easyjet cabin crew. As we stepped on board Ian beamed and moved to one side, asking Hannah and Eleanor
Which one of you wants to sit by the window, then?
I don’t think the girls had ever experienced such service before, and I’m struggling to remember myself. Before we took off, it was announced that as there was a nut allergy sufferer on board, there would be no sales of any nuts on the flight, and indeed if passengers had brought their own nut snacks with them, could they please not open them…
Praise where praise is due. Airports are a difficult environment with small children. Heavy bags, crowds of people, interminable queues, and literally miles to walk from entrance to boarding gate. Easyjet made this experience a little bit more pleasurable, and I’ll certainly remember it.
Trouble is for them, they’ll now have to match my expectations next time…