Gordon's the best CEO

N305AS

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True story, related to me by a CO flight attendant:
On a recent CO flight, CEO Gordon Bethune had pre-boarded the aircraft and was sitting on the flight deck chatting with the Captain and First Officer. He left the flight deck just before pushback to take his assigned First Class seat.
A OnePass Platinum Elite member boarded just before the flight pushed, and was furious that he had not been upgraded. Seeing several First Class seats open, he began to argue with the flight attendant over why he had not been upgraded. The flight attendant said she would get a gate agent to look into the matter, but the Elite member began swearing at her profusely.
Gordon was on his way back from the cockpit when this occurred, and intervened, asking, Can I help somehow?
The passenger said, Huh? Who the f*** are you?
I''m the CEO of this company, Gordon replied. May I see your ticket, sir?
The passenger gave his ticket to Gordon, who saw a total fare of just under six hundred dollars. He then pulled out his billfold and peeled off six $100 bills, placing them in the man''s hand.
And then he tore the ticket up.
Now, Gordon said, you get the f*** off my airplane!
The flight attendant could barely contain herself.
 

cltvff

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Wow...... I guess he really DOES have brass ones
 

mga707

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[blockquote]
----------------
On 9/27/2002 8:09:11 PM N305AS wrote:

True story, related to me by a CO flight attendant:
----------------
[/blockquote]

Call me skeptical, but I smell an 'urban folktale'...
 
OP
N305AS

N305AS

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MGA-

Ordinarily I'd agree with you, except the flight attendant who told me the story was also the one IN the story. She's a family friend, and not prone to exaggeration.
 

Tango-Bravo

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While I believe the incident posted by N305AS from an eyewitness F/A to be true, even if it were not I firmly believe that Gordon Bethune would have done exactly as he did.

Gordon indeed has become, IMO also, the best current CEO of the U.S. full-service majors. Aside from the legendary Herb Kelleher, there has been none better in the post-deregulation decades. For the same decades no CEO of any U.S. major has even even come close to Herb or Gordon.

Both Gordon and Herb understand a fact of which [/i]all[/i] of the current and recent past CEOs (and sales/marketing VPs and their lackies) of the full-service U.S. majors have shown themselves to be clueles:

If you expect your employees to believe you are on their side, you must do much more than talk the talk; it is absolutely essential that you walk the walk in standing with them when any passenger -- including Mr/Ms Platinum Elite -- becomes abusive in any way for any reason. Caving in to obnoxious, abusive passengers and advocating the misguided, idiotic mentality of find a way to get to yes to appease irates (demanding what they are not entitled to) is the surest way I can think of to send the message to your employees that your talk of being on their side is nothing more than just that.

What both Gordon and Herb also understand, totally unlike their current major airline conterparts, is that the customer isn't always right. Airlines, like any business, must be a two-way street: yes, airlines need lots of customers; at the same time, those customers also need the service airlines provide. Therefore, airlines have every prerogative to tell passengers behaving badly to take their business elsewhere as certainly as the customer can choose to take their business elsewhere for whatever reasons they choose. That Gordon and Herb will walk the walk in this regard may be one of the biggest reasons they have their employees on their side more than any other U.S. major airline by far and away.

One more thing Gordon and Herb (especially Herb) understand, to which executives at the U.S. full-service majors are oblivious based on their deeds: Give people more and they will expect even more. Give them even more and they will expect still more. Give them still more and they will expect more yet. And on and on, ad ifinitum until the cost of pandering to elites (and others) includes, among other excesses, allowing them to be abusive to employees without consequence (except perhaps to the employee who dares to duly stand on policy pertaining to elite privileges -- which the same CEOs, sales/marketing VPs and management on down hypocritically insist they follow). Abusiveness toward employees is upheld, even rewarded by airline management through both action and inaction in response to such behavior. Not so with the airlines led by Gordon and Herb.

Eventually, the $$$ costs of pandering to elites surpasses the benefit of their business to the airline and the typical full-service major is compelled to finally do something smart (for a change) to attempt to rein in the inevitable cost excesses of their preferetial treatment programs. One excess they (with the exception of Gordon -- Herb was wise enough to never start an elite program) invariably sidestep is the abusive manner in which elites are allowed to treat employees for no more reason than the elite crybaby didn't get what he/she wanted. Not only do sales/marketing executives and CEOs of the other major airlines tolerate such behavior; they often even reward it. And then they wonder why they have little or no respect from employees who are working for nothing more than the paycheck and benefits...and why, when employees say they are on management's side, they are merely talking the talk as surely as management is merely talking the talk when they claim to be on their employees' side.

All of which is why Gordon also gets my vote for the best current U.S. airline CEO.
 

7.5victim

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As the holder of a CO Platinum Elite card, I don't think that I would've made the stink this alleged customer did. However, if I had witnessed Gordon's alleged reaction, I would be moved to consider finding another airline to be loyal to.

Having been on both sides of the counter, I try to look at things objectively. But far too often these days, the customer is being looked at as the problem.

We purchase the fares you offer, then get told it's our fault that the airline is losing money.

We fly a ton to get elite status, then you roll your eyes at us when we ask for the benefits you promised.

We're told that airline tickets are just like theatre tickets now, yet we can't give them to someone else if we can't use them.

We have to accept your schedule changes without comment, but we need to show our AMEX cards to you before there's any flexibility with our tickets.

Like I said, I currently have a CO Plat Elite card. It'll be a Silver Elite next year. The new policies and attitudes (of SOME, let's be clear, and at ALL carriers) have me flying less and driving more.

I've been there, and I understand the stress that you all are under right now. But do you really think becoming less customer friendly is the answer?
 

MileHighGuy

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Oct 14, 2002
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Gordon Bethune the best CEO? Based on what? CO isn't doing too well these days. Please don't bring up the tired logic of his turning the company around a decade ago. What has he done for CO (and it's shareholders) lately? Please illuminate me since I'm in the dark on this one.
 

AirplaneFan

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[P]
[BLOCKQUOTE][BR]----------------[BR]On 10/15/2002 2:15:09 PM 7.5victim wrote:
[P]As the holder of a CO Platinum Elite card, I don't think that I would've made the stink this alleged customer did.  However, if I had witnessed Gordon's alleged reaction, I would be moved to consider finding another airline to be loyal to.[BR][BR]Having been on both sides of the counter, I try to look at things objectively.  But far too often these days, the customer is being looked at as the problem.  [BR][BR]We purchase the fares you offer, then get told it's our fault that the airline is losing money. [BR][BR]We fly a ton to get elite status, then you roll your eyes at us when we ask for the benefits you promised.  [BR][BR]We're told that airline tickets are just like theatre tickets now, yet we can't give them to someone else if we can't use them.[BR][BR]We have to accept your schedule changes without comment, but we need to show our AMEX cards to you before there's any flexibility with our tickets.[BR][BR]Like I said, I currently have a CO Plat Elite card.  It'll be a Silver Elite next year.  The new policies and attitudes (of SOME, let's be clear, and at ALL carriers) have me flying less and driving more.[BR][BR]I've been there, and I understand the stress that you all are under right now.  But do you really think becoming less customer friendly is the answer?  [BR][BR][/P]----------------[/BLOCKQUOTE]
[P]Truly great comment!! I'd rate you a ***** if we still had that feature. But I liked the story too. I don't think anyone has the right to be abusive to an airline industry without justifiable provication and certainly the FA's are not the person who makes the decision on upgrades.[/P]
[P]It seems all these policies are doing is throwing customers to the low-fare carriers who don't have such onerous terms on their tickets.[/P]
[P] [/P]
 

tadjr

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Aug 19, 2002
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[P]
[BLOCKQUOTE]
[P][BR]I don't think anyone has the right to be abusive to an airline industry without justifiable provication and certainly the FA's are not the person who makes the decision on upgrades.[/P]
[P] [/P]
[P]So in what other industry is it alright to be abusive to an employee? Banking, Food Service, Department Store? Why should you be abusive to an employee in any industry and expect to be treated as a great customer regardless of what you spend there? Granted there are some agents out there that could use a good whooping, but why should anyone be able to be abusive and expect the employee to take it? If you go in the bank and start yelling and shouting, you think the manager (along with the guard in tow) is going to stand there and say thank you for your business, here's a voucher for a free checking account? I highly doubt it. [BR][BR]I also LOVE the new signs at security that now make it a problem to hamper or harass the security people doing their job. I guess the contract people were ok to p*** on but the TSA agents arent? [/P]
[P]If you have a problem with an agent you should ask for the manager and take care of things that way. Abusing the agent (or any employee in any profession) will probably not get the result you are looking for anyway and it shouldnt! Why should the airline industry be different than any other industry in this regard?[/P]
[P] [/P]
[DIV][BR] [/DIV][/BLOCKQUOTE]
 

AirplaneFan

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Aug 20, 2002
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[P]Tadjr,[/P]
[P]I agree with you. I can't think of many reasons when a customer has the right to go ballistic and certainly not because you want to sit in a larger seat that you did not pay for. Perhaps a good reason to show ill manners miight be if you are stuck on a NW airplane for 8 hours with no food, but other than that I'm hard pressed to think of a reason to treat anyone without respect.[/P]
[P] [/P]
 

lstwhknight

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Oct 25, 2002
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Abuse is abuse,not needed in an enclosed enviorment.I have witnessed passengers that I was waiting for the F/A to make the call to take out.Which I would have done to protect our other flying passengers.
People need to understand where they are and what can happen in a given moment.In flight is not the place to find out.Better to end the problem before it starts then after it's over,and have 300 passengers asking why didn't you do something before.I for one couldn't put up with what the F/A's put up with from a few select passengers.
 

lstwhknight

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Oct 25, 2002
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[blockquote]
----------------
On 9/28/2002 7:00:27 AM cltvff wrote:

Wow...... I guess he really DOES have brass ones
----------------
[/blockquote]
Sounds like something he would do.He seems to be a no nonsense kind of guy,hope he stays longer than all the rest.[img src='http://www.usaviation.com/idealbb/images/smilies/16.gif']
 

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