Yeah, I read that piece on Sunday. Naturally, given his position as an airline pilot, I thought his most interesting point was a bit self-serving, but nevertheless worth thinking about:
He says that a big part of "good service" is safety. Arguably, it's the biggest part. And since there hasn't been a serious airline accident among US carriers in about eight years, that qualifies as pretty good service.
Knock on wood.
It's also self-serving for me to point this out, as most of you know. But whenever I listen to an ATC approach frequency at a major airport, or look at the converging dots on a computer screen representing airplanes approaching a metropolis. . .whenever I'm on a plane taxiing through labyrinths of concrete on the way to a runway or a gate, I tip my hat to the guys and gals on the other side of that Kevlar door. And whenever I hear pilots talk with quiet confidence (but not cockiness) about their day-to-day challenges and solutions, I understand that they are really on the front line of customer service, but their efforts and achievements are seldom viewed that way. They are lost in the shuffle and taken for granted as we fret about bag charges, uncomfortable seats and two-dollar Cokes.