Mediocrity is the norm; does it need to be?

Over the past few weeks I have been pondering this question over and over.
Why, you ask?

It all started on a flight back home. A flight that (for a change) was not on an AA plane. Following a friend’s recommendation I booked around trip on Virgin America instead of AA.

Why would I want to fly another airline; after all AA has always been decent albeit not great? Heck, for the rest of my life I will be in the top tier at AA, they cannot take that away from me (they can – through their bankruptcy of course).
The change allowed me to find that what AA was providing wasn’t decent, nor good, and far from great. We have all experienced poor service here and there from many of our trusted providers of services.

What gives AA the right to think they can charge 50% more for a flight than a competing airline? Is it because some CSR consultant has told them their service is far superior? Is it because we are sheep married to their AAdvantage program?
Well, I discovered quickly that for a steep discount on a particular route, I can actually receive 100% friendlier, efficient, comfortable, and quality service than what AA provides on the same route.

In First Class, I was actually able to use my laptop when the person in front of me put their seat in a comfortable position. Heck, there was actually a comfortable position! Food was incredible. Wide hips or carts did not burst into my shoulder every three seconds. Service was over-the-top friendly and genuine. Counter personnel actually greeted me with a warm smile as I got to the counter.

In the past, I had used Continental on international routes. A pain in the derrière to fly through Houston instead of direct out of DFW, but occasionally I wanted better service and increased comfort on a long flight. Most often, though, it was convenience that won and AA got the business.


I had never bothered looking into other utility companies, so TXU had always had my business. So this week I asked what my kWh rate was and “discovered” I was at 13.1 cents for the past year. It only took 2 seconds to find that other companies were offering between 8 and 10 cents. So why was I at 13.1? Well, the company automatically bumps their trusted customers into higher rates. Sure why not screw your base? Marketing 101 would have taught them that protecting their base was of #1 importance because without that base you had nothing. Nothing.

It took all of two minutes to change providers. I decided to get into an all wind-power generated pool that offered me a rate of 9.1 cents per kWh. So, here I am all “green” and at a steep discount. Actually, being wind driven used to be called being “off the grid”. Ha! Maybe I am off the grid now!

AT&T drops my calls daily. Really, I am in a huge Mtropolitan area. Time to look into other providers!

I guess I too had accepted mediocrity as the norm for too long. No more.


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