Monday, December 8, 2008

The perfect journey...

I travel a lot. For work and pleasure. And whilst I love seeing different parts of the world, I hate the actual travel part.

Airports, waiting, being in transit. None of this is fun as far as I am concerned.

Which is why my trip from Toronto to Vancouver today with Westjet was memorable and as close to the perfect journey as I could have had.

Let me explain.. (and keep reading to the bottom fundraisers, there is a point to this).

I booked the trip several weeks ago. Not long after booking I realized I had booked the wrong date for the return leg (in fact, a month later than I had intended!)

The experience I had when contacting Westjet to change it was pleasurable. Yes they charged me a fee for changing it (let's face it, I was the stupid one who got the dates wrong) but the representative was warm, helpful and genuine in her efforts to help me get on the flight I wanted.

Fast forward to today.

Everything about the journey went to plan and was completely seamless. To summarize:

- We left on time. We arrived on time.

- The flight attendants were warm and friendly.

- The plane itself was clean and well kept. And we even got our own personal TV's at no additional charge (unless you wanted to watch a movie) - 24 channels for free.

- The pilot kept us up to date regularly about our departure, flying conditions and arrival time.

- The in-flight food service was served efficiently, and with a smile!

And almost more impressive than all of the above was that I was able to reserve an exit row seat online the day before the flight. Something I have never been able to do with any other airline and at 6 foot 2 and someone always looking for that little extra leg room, heading to the airport knowing that was already under control was comforting.

The point of this?

From the time I reserved my flight through to disembarking in Vancouver this afternoon, Westjet and their team were consistently professional, courteous and warm and clearly committed to making my journey perfect. They made my life easy, kept me up to speed with progress and made me feel welcome and valued (the hostess even said 'thank you' as I left the plane).

How often do we get this as donors? Or more importantly, do we offer this as charities to our donors?

Tomorrow I'm delivering a workshop on donor engagement. It's not that often I turn to the commercial world (and certainly not the aviation sector!) to draw some inspiration, but today was a special day.

Hats off to Westjet. I look forward to the return journey...



John Lepp said...

A funny read Jonathon - I wrote about a similar experience with westjet a year ago right here:
Thanks for sharing your experience - I wonder if it's too late to buy some stock?

John Lepp

Jonathon Grapsas said...

That's fantastic. I hadnt read your entry.

But I guess it validates the point - it isnt/wasnt a one off experience.

This is what these guys stand for. Professional, seamless and friendly experience.

I'll be talking about them in my session today!

Thanks John