For many years I worked as a flight attendant at Qantas. On the odd occasion I was lucky enough to work in First Class. Back in my day the first class cabin was completely different from the modern day module like seating we have today. 1A was always the number one seat in first class as it was in the most forward position in the aircraft.
First class for me always represented an outstanding level of excellence. It has nothing to do with the people that travelled first class, rather, it is one of those special refined places that exudes a quality separate from all others. It just takes all experience prior up to a new level, way beyond expectation. To deliver this kind of product and service consistently is a huge part of being recognised as a first class product with in your industry. The service industry in Australia has a long way to go. Many top rate restaurants and hotels are let down by the arrogance of their staff, leaving the customer enjoying the food but feeling vacuous after a mediocre all round experience.
It is okay to expect the best and we should not be embarrassed by asking for it. But money is not always the definition of excellence, though it should be as you expect to get what you pay for. It seems that the concept of service has been forgotten. To serve and serve well you really need to put the needs of the consumer ahead of your own, and this takes a special kind of strength. I often say “the strong serve the weak” and this is not weak in a physical sense, more like; the more experience and work that you have done personally will enable you to assist the less advanced.
A 1A attitude is a personal commitment to doing and being the best you can be in all aspects of your life. This may sound like a huge effort and I know sometimes it is great to just drop everything and veg out, but let’s just say that the 1A attitude is an art form and requires practice. It is okay to be the leader and stand out for excellence. There seems to be a call for it, more than ever before. Mediocre and just making the grade is the line where average meets lazy and this is the place where most settle.
It is okay to defend yourself against so called constructive criticism. What I have found over the years is that consumers offer their version of feedback usually when they do not get their own way, and more than anything they want to have the last say. It is rare for feedback to be unemotional and to point out obvious flaws in your business if you are running a 1A operation.