The Girl in the Red Hat

Costuming - and freedom - makes the star

Having ranted a little about boring flying experiences in my last post, I had to come back with at least one highlight. Flying Delta from JFK to San Juan last month, we had an "award winning crew" running the flight. That's the first kudos points right there - telling us that we had a good team, and that the airline was proud of them, made both crew and passengers feel special.

I am not sure what rules Delta have for their clothing, but there seemed to be a good deal of variation in the red and white garb. I am guessing that Delta set the colours, and trust cool people to know what to wear. If so, bravo again, Delta.

Now, one stewardess had really grasped the point. Beside a chic red skirt and sharp white blouse, she had gotten herself a terrific red hat. In that hat, she was the queen of the plane. Wherever she was, you could see her. Whatever she did, she looked great. She looked like an award winner - she looked like a star. And she did an exceptional job.

There point here is not just that pretty girls look good in red hats - that very same hat might not have worked on the other crew members. Crucially, she had chosen to wear that hat herself, and we had been told the crew were the best in the game. She was trusted and valued by her employer, and she was allowed to show it. The result? Everyone - crew and passengers - felt like stars.

PS Experienceologist Stephanie Weaver describes a great American Airlines system for rewarding crew. It even has a showbiz metaphor - take a look.

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