Air travel isn't going to be the same. It just isn't. In a world where social distancing may be here to stay for the foreseeable future, and where many human interactions now take place via video screens, airlines provide a service that can't be done virtually. Air travel requires actual human contact and connection.
Even when we get past the pandemic, it's hard to imagine what it will look like to walk through an airport and board a plane. I've done just that many, many times as a fairly regular traveler, but I have no idea when I'll next get on a plane. There are just too many unknowns.
This week, though, I received an email from Delta's CEO, Ed Bastian. I mean, he didn't just send it to me. I suspect all of the members of the company's Skymiles program received the same message. It's not even the first email I've gotten from the company. As a fairly regular Delta traveler, I receive frequent updates, but this one stood out.
Actually, it was one line that especially struck me: "It is a privilege to serve you, which is why I want to make you aware of additional steps we're taking to care for you and your loved ones so you are prepared for your travels."
That's pretty powerful, by the way. It is a privilege to get to do what you do, whether you're an airline, or a bakery, or a financial adviser. It's a privilege that you have the opportunity to do something you love in a way that adds value to the lives of others.
Whatever line of work you're in, you made a decision that of all the things you could do with your life, this is what you choose to do. Somewhere along the way, you invited others to be a part of what you're doing--your team, your customers, and in many cases, your community.
And now, in the midst of what will no doubt be the most challenging time in the life of your business, there is nothing more important than considering how you can best serve the people counting on you.
Focusing on the fact that it's a privilege to serve your customers makes it easy to put their needs first. That isn't true of just those businesses, like airlines, that have safety as their top concern. It's true for every business. And, in a moment like this when we're counting on one another, it's worth remembering that running a business is an incredible opportunity that comes with a responsibility because serving customers is a privilege.
By the way, there was one more thought from that email that I think is worth ending with: "The power of human connection has never been more important."
Obviously airlines make that human connection possible in a very tangible way, but so do you. And I agree, that in a world where many people have never been more isolated, it has never been more important to foster those human connections. That's something we can all agree should take off.