But will another airline-created celebrity fare as well? Do you remember Dave Carroll, the Canadian singer-songwriter who's guitar was crippled by United Airlines? His hilarious music video United Breaks Guitars became an international sensation on You Tube.
Carroll wrote three music videos about the event and he has even more to say in his new book, United Breaks Guitars, The Power of One Voice in the Age of Social Media, which has just been published.
I can't keep up with the books I need to read since I am thoroughly caught up reading the excellent China's Wings by Gregory Crouch (Thanks Craig Jenks, for the recommendation.) So with the predicate that I haven't read Carroll's book yet, let me say that he and Sully aren't too different in the way they are elevating a personal experience to something larger than themselves.
To the contrary, last week, after reporting for The New York Times about new challenges in air travel based on the increasing size of air travelers, I received a call from a reader making it clear that some airlines remain tone-deaf to passenger issues despite Dave Carroll's catchy You Tube songs.
|American Airlines passenger Alan Langer|
The six-foot-one Dr. Langer says when he asked the flight attendant how he was to make the flight since his seat was not fully available to him, he was told to put his legs into the aisle and that is exactly how he made the two and a half hour flight. Not unexpectedly, the flight attendant tripped over him causing pain to his already injured foot, according to the FAA complaint.
American, not an airline known for its customer service, offered a $100 flight credit to Dr. Langer who says that's not the point. And he's right. How does a company wind up with employees who are either not free to accommodate or not conscious of the need to accommodate passengers who have an obvious medical issue? Where the resolution to a problem includes telling a passenger to suck it up and put their feet in the aisle, to not only create a problem for the specific passenger but potentially cause injuries to everyone else on the flight?
Perhaps the answer to the question of how large companies can treat customers as if they were more than small nuisances can be found in Dave Carroll's book. And perhaps the interviews with various leaders interviewed by Sully will direct airline executives to find their higher purpose and then communicate it down to the employees they are supposed to be leading. These are worthy goals. A round of applause and healthy book sales to the men whose very different starting points have led them try and achieve them.