I miss my old bartender, Jake. Jake moved to Hawaii recently and the shoes
he left to fill at the T.G.I Friday’s bar in the Minneapolis Airport were
mighty, to be sure. Jake and I had a
sweet thing going. I don’t drink when I’m
on travel, but I do have a tradition that at the end of a successful week of
travel, I celebrate Friday night with a perfect “Knob Creek” Manhattan. Jake knew exactly how I liked them and, more
importantly, he knew I was on an expense account and that I’d tip him close to
100% of the bill. Therefore, I never
stopped at the hostess stand to get a table.
Heck, I never even slowed down. I
would literally walk from the jetway exit, straight to Friday’s on my way to
baggage claim; Jake would see me, while I was still on the moving sidewalk, 100 yards from the restaurant! I’d point and wink at him and BAM, the deal was done. I’d breeze into Friday’s, pick up the drink,
hand Jake my corporate card, and shake his hand after signing the receipt.
I know it really irritated the hostesses when I did that,
but who would you rather see? The man
behind the bar who will find you a place to sit and have a drink ready for you,
or the lady at the front who has the power to find a table, then assign someone
who will take care of the rest of your needs.
Frankly, I don’t need to tell one person that I’ve arrived, and a
different person what I want, and then a third person to make it for me. I want Jake!
Walking all the way to the ticket counter when you have a
booking problem is just like finding a hostess in a restaurant when you need a new drink. You’ll eventually get your drink, but she’ll
have to go through a bunch of other “systems” to get it. Wouldn’t you rather be one of the people in
the “bar” who’s already been served? You
can if you go straight to the gate agent instead.
Here’s an example.
Suppose you have a connection to make in Dallas while on your way to
Denver. DFW is a huge airport with a
dated little train that shuttles you between the terminals, missing a
connection is easy to do there if you only have 30 minutes (or less) to get to
your new gate. Well, let’s say you miss
your connecting flight. Now what? Well, most people would head straight to the
ticket counter to be rebooked. I suggest
looking up at the big board to find when the next flight to Denver is scheduled
to leave, and from what gate. Then, I
would proceed to that gate, and present that gate agent with your ticketing
information. The gate agent has much
more power (and knowledge) than the ticketing agent, including:
The power (and desire) to waive change fees. They have many other security related duties
to perform so they usually handle customer requests as quickly as possible and
that usually means waiving a fee rather than taking the time to run your credit