Champagne and the flight attendant

Published on February 3, 2011 by Annetta Wilson

I was on a flight to Los Angeles some time ago on the day Delta Airlines officially came out of bankruptcy.

As a 'thank you' to everyone flying on that day, the airline served a free glass of champagne to every passenger on every flight.  Not too shabby, huh?

I will bet you the dollar amount of your choice that very few passengers walked off their flight with a bottle of champagne.  I did.

Did I ask for it?  No.  Did everyone else on the plane get one? No.  So, how did I do it?  I had a conversation with the flight attendant and got to know her as a person.  It was one of those conversations where you talk about nothing and everything.

The point was that I made a connection that went beyond "Do you have any more peanuts?" (Okay, so I did ask for more peanuts, but that's not the point).

The point is that we want to feel valued, listened to and validated when we're with another person.  That doesn't take a lot of time; it simply means talking less and listening more.

Author Robert Mayer (How to Win Any Argument) calls it the '75/25 Partnering Secret': listen 75% more than you talk.   It means letting the other person have the spotlight, even if you have a story that's better or more interesting.

Tip: The next time you meet someone new, ask him or her at least two questions in an effort get to know them before you offer information about yourself.

Compliments work wonders.  You don't have to be syrupy, just sincere.  It's usually safe to compliment someone on an article of clothing or jewelry.

Tip: Compliment behavior.  If you see someone doing something nice for another person, tell them what they did was really nice or a 'class act'.   This works especially well with children and teenagers.

People are more likely to repeat behavior on which they get positive feedback.

The payoff can be rewarding and sometimes surprising: new business, closer relationships and every now and then, a free bottle of champagne!

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2 Responses

  1. Harroll

    I'm gonna get a bottle of champagne (well, sparkling apple cider) on my next flight. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. Tomi

    Annette, that is such a great story! Thanks for sharing. I had a similar experience on a different airline. I was flying coach and spoke with the Flight Attendant about food and how I liked theirs better than another airlines. Later she gave me a glass of wine on her! I was thrilled! It really shows how just a little conversation can make all the difference in the world for your experience and theirs. Will I continue to fly that airline, you bet! And will I start conversations other places and mak people feel appreciated for the job they do? Defintely!