I was just at the airport yesterday. Everything was on time right up until we were about to board. Then, all of a sudden, they said there would be a 20 minute delay. A few minutes later, a 30 minute delay. Then, out of nowhere, the gate attendant announced, “We actually don’t have a crew for this flight. We’re working on a solution”.
The place flipped out. They stormed her desk like they were taking the spoils of a besieged city. And I was one of them!
Then, came the real bomb. The lady get’s on the loud speaker and says, “We have found a captain! He is about to board a plane from Houston” (about a 4 hour flight from where I was).
Immediately a formal lined formed. Everyone, including me, was about to miss their connection in Chicago and had to make new plans. Obviously people were really upset.
I saw one guy punch someone in the face! Just kidding.
Back to the story.
After a few people went through the line, we heard the gate attendant say, “There are no more seats on any flights for the rest of the evening” which means almost the entire line was going to have to fly out the next day.
By the time I finally got rebooked, I was told that I would have to stay the night in a hotel (on them), I got a 10$ meal voucher for both dinner and breakfast (only good at the airport) and I wasn’t going to make it home until nearly 22 hours later.
This is unacceptable. Totally ridiculous. And for some people who were heading to weddings, business meetings or to see someone special for the weekend, this was tragic.
All because United Airlines couldn’t follow through on what they said they would do for us – get us to Chicago.
We were all depending on them. We were trusting them. And they didn’t follow through.
First of all, If I don’t get a travel voucher, bumped to first class or a refund, I’m going to throw a righteous fit.
Second of all, this teaches us something about leadership. It’s a lesson I have had to learn the hard way time and time again.
If you say you’re going to do something you have no other option but to do it.
Learn this. Conquer this. Believe this. Live this!
Otherwise, you WILL devastate and lose the people who depend on you, follow you and look up to you.
Just like I will probably never use United again, unless they offer me some kind of refund, people aren’t going to follow you anymore. There are a lot of airlines out there. And there are a lot of leaders. People can switch at anytime.
It can only benefit you to follow through on your promises.
If you want to be a leader – keep your word or die trying.