A couple of weeks ago, I was treated by my hometown airline and my preferred airline, Delta, to a very nice airport arrival in Atlanta. The following week, the same wonderful welcome was offered again. Not only was the actual special welcome so enjoyable, fun, and appreciated, the response from my friends was equally enjoyable, fun, and appreciated!
I landed on A31 in Atlanta Hartsfield, the end of Concourse A. I remember thinking “ugh”, having to walk down the terminal at peak hour to get to the train, to get to the shuttle bus, to get to my car, to drive, and, finally, to get home. No, it is not a horrible thing but sometimes I am just tired.
I get off the plane, I mean, I literally step out of the plane, and from the corner of my eye I catch my name on a sign being help up by a guy in a suit. I never look at anything or anyone when I am deplaning. I am on a mission to get the heck out of Dodge. Along with my name is another name. What is this? Did I have too many SunChips?
I identify myself to the suited guy and before I can ask anything, the other name shows up, a guy in a suit who tells the guy greeting us that he is traveling with someone; the guy greeting us says it is OK. I ask what is this about and the greeter tells me, I am taking you out of here. I was not sure what that meant and asked for clarification. He said he had a car downstairs (downstairs from the jet-way) and that he was driving us to baggage claim. I don’t know how many seconds it took me to process what he had said. What was this? The other two guys seem to know what this was about and, as they all started going down the stairs, I followed. I see a black Porsche Cayenne at the bottom of the stairs and my first thought is “I need a picture of this”. I had a camera with me but those 2 suits traveling with me looked too darn serious and I figured I need to act serious too, especially if I am being driven away. I kicked myself for this for about a week afterwards – I wanted a picture of this most unlikely situation for me. Our driver dropped us all off and gave me the card: Delta Elite Services Team. (I hope I didn’t just reveal a secret! Please do not remove my Million Miler status!!)
I speculated about what all this was about. During the drive I understood that this is normally something done for government officials or celebrities so they do not have to traverse the airport but I still didn’t know how I fit into either category. I did write-in my name once in a ballot in some election but, last I had heard, I only got one vote.
I regretted not having taken my picture and told the story to people saying that. Well, God really wanted me to get the darned picture because the next week, landing on the A1 gate in Atlanta, once again I saw a suited guy holding a sign with two names and one of them was mine again! This time I knew what this was about and felt much smarter. This time it was a white Cayenne and I was drive out in style. BUT, as I went down the stairs, I asked the greeter/driver to please take my picture though this time I only had a smartphone camera. He took some pictures of me where I am all smiles.
Also, this time, I got to ask about how regular folks get the service. The greeter told me that usually when there are none of the VIPs above, they pick up Delta frequent fliers with all the right calendar and lifetime status who may have tight connections, or lacking any of those, fliers who land at the far gates in a concourse. That made tons of sense and seems to be a brilliant way for Delta to surprise and reward a very frequent flier every now and then (and I am hoping more “now” than “then”!).
After a week of kicking myself, I GOT THE PICTURE! In fact, I got a few. Here are two!
Now to the Funnies
Alright, since I did not ask family and friends if I could show them here as I shared comments to the statuses in Facebook on these two events, I feel obliged to protect their anonymity but I invite them to comment here if they read this! I laughed at some of the comments!
In Conclusion (I Have to Be Serious, Don’t I?)
Thanks to Delta, from this Million Miler and charter Diamond Medallion, for that extra touch. CRM is key to any business. This is great evidence of good thinking.
Thanks to my friends for allowing me to enjoy this little pleasure a little more by sharing it and hearing from them!