Last night, I'm flew Southwest Airlines from MCI to SAN. It was a full flight as usual, but we boarded early. Only one person, Scott Stevens, isn't there yet so we have to wait for him. No worries, at worst case scenario, we're on time. In the meantime, the gate agent, Tim Huntsman, comes on the plane for a quick announcement.
"While we're waiting, how many of you checked your bags tonight?"
Several hands go up.
"You know, many airlines have been charging $25-50 for checked bags. Here at Southwest we believe they should go with you for free. In fact, tonight 94 checked bags are flying for free..."
Unexpected pause as he steps away from the mic for a few seconds.
"Wait, I just learned that it's actually 98 checked bags are flying for free. That's $3,675 in savings for this flight." (I think he averaged 25 and 50 to come up with $37.50)
"Thanks for flying Southwest and allowing us to save you so much money. Have a great flight."
He stepped off the plane. Soon after, the last passenger boarded, the doors were closed and we took flight with 98 free checked bags in the belly of the plane, and I felt very confident and reassured in my decision to fly Southwest.
After we landed, as I was walking off the planed, I paused and asked the flight attendant, Sheryl, if that happening on all flights or was that someone just taking initiative. She said, "It's just that young man taking initiative, but I've seen him do that before when we've gone through Kansas City. Would you like for me to get you his name?" Yes, I would.
Tim, nice touch. I love the way you tied in to the larger marketing message that Southwest is currently promoting and developed an interactive, concrete way to drive the point home.
Southwest, bravo for hiring Tim and creating a culture that supports and encourages individual initiative. You all rock!