Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

It happens all the time.

You're on a plane, you switch on the Inflight Entertainment System and what happens is that nothing happens.

The Flight Attendant offers to reboot the system. 

It doesn't work. So, on some airlines, you might get offered a few air miles in compensation.

It won't be many. You may never use those miles.

Still, it's something. 

Last week, an airline decided to offer something else entirely.

A Singapore Airlines flight from Bangkok to Singapore suffered an entertainment malfunction.

Was it really that much of an inconvenience? I suspect not. 

Bangkok to Singapore is a two and a half-hour flight. Surely you've brought a book or a laptop with you. You could just sit back, relax and fall asleep.

For the airline, however, this was a big disappointment. So it arranged for a little surprise when the plane landed.

As passengers came off the plane, they were given a gift bag from luxury tea brand TWG.

Yes, each of them.

Customer service is a rare and beautiful thing when it comes to airlines.

This, though, is a conscious attempt to surprise the customer with a kindness. 

As Srinivasa Rao Bongarala -- the passenger who posted the image to Facebook -- explained this was a wonderful way of inciting customer loyalty.

How can you not adore a brand that reacts to a relatively minor mishap like this?

This isn't, of course, the airline's first foray into inspirational attitudes toward customers.

Last year, I wrote about how Singapore Airlines reacted to a repeated delay of a flight from Singapore to Manila.

It put passengers up in five-star accommodation. It created special check-in lanes for when they returned the next day. The airline's managers even lined up to greet the passengers and apologize, too.

One can't help seeing a vast gulf between this and how U.S. airlines might react. 

Some are trying to improve because they suddenly noticed that customers are raging at them, especially on social media.

Some, like Delta and Southwest, do take inspiring loyalty seriously.

Thoughtfulness and a willingness to surprise are, however, something that has to be instilled throughout a company. 

When so many U.S. airlines instill only the need for greater on-time performance to create greater profits, it's harder for them to create true loyalty. 

Published on: Feb 3, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.