A Refreshing Outlook

Yesterday I was on a flight from Newark, NJ to New Orleans. Unlike what I usually experience the flight was on time. I took my seat and was browsing through my WordPress posts when something unusual happened. The pilot came out of the cockpit and announced he had two questions for us. Whosever can answer the question will get a gift.

I am a million miler on United airlines. I fly almost every week and had hardly seen such an enthusiastic pilot before. I smiled in blithe embracing the welcome change. He was holding a united blazer pin and an old style United fact card. He said, when flying was fun the airlines used to give such souvenirs to the kids, a tradition sadly long lost. And with that, he spelled the first question

“How many positive commandments exist in the Torah?”

I had no clue what he was asking. Apparently, the answer was 248. If you are Jewish or have interest in the religious study you might know it.

I was baffled why such a cryptic question was asked and before I could comprehend the pilot announced – our flight duration today is 2 hours 48 minutes, hence the number 248. Believe it or not, someone won the lapel badge.

He then went ahead with the second question, “Who was the 38th president of America and when did he assume office?”

I knew this answer(don’t ask me how) Gerald Ford. He was brought in 1974 to replace then indicted president Richard Nixon. He further stated, “subtract 900 from the year. The number is the distance between Newark and New Orleans -1074 nautical miles.”

I smiled accepted the card and wondered how a simple gesture can uplift the customer experience multifold.

PS. Here is the picture of the card I won

Copyright © Shantanu Baruah

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79 comments

  1. agree sighting the pilot is unusual and small gestures make huge impressions … glad you won, interesting obscure questions that might suggest he’s flown that route many times over 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

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