Category Archives: service industry

A Small Way to Say Thank You

I am not sure whether this happens on all airlines or only a selected few of them. Or even whether this is simply an ad hoc, special gesture of hospitality by the crew of a particular flight.

It happened just the other day…

I am used to flying first class. No, not because I pay the pricey fares for that cabin (I’m too cheap for that) but because I am a too-frequent flier. Being a top-tier loyal customer does have it’s benefits.  So, more often than not, I find myself upgraded to first class, which I must admit is a nice perk to have after too much business travel takes its toll on me.


Well, on that particular flight, a young kid who was in the military came in a few minutes before take off and sat across the aisle from me. He had a wide-eyed look that said, what am I doing here?


The airline (or that flight crew) had given him a complimentary upgrade to say thank you for his service to the country.

It was obvious he enjoyed the flight, the food, the drinks and just being in first class. It’s easy to get blase about things sometimes, so it’s good to have someone pull you out of the apathy.

Right before he left, this young soldier stopped and thanked the flight attendant profusely. He said it had been a “mind blowing” experience. Now, how nice is that?

Never let it be said that a gesture of kindness and thoughtfulness, even a small one, cannot be meaningful to someone!

The airlines upgrade people like me for one simple, cold reason. It’s business. Frequent fliers are its most profitable customers therefore it pays to be really nice to us so we stay loyal to them.

On the other hand, the airlines don’t gain much of anything except a thank you when they take the time to think about and implement a small but meaningful practice to show their appreciation for military serviceman.  There’s something that feels extra special about that. For all the brickbats that these airlines get thrown at them,  it’s good to find something that calls for a vote of appreciation instead.




Indian Wedding Season Is Here Again

This is turning into a year of wedding celebrations in my friend and family circle (completely unrelated to Bollywood pictures used here).

What a big deal we make of them! 

Are there any wedding celebration showcases bigger, grander or badder than the ones that Indians are prone to put on?  (And why is that, by the way??)

All you have to do is to check out some of the contemporary bridal attire promoted today to get the idea of how far they have come. This is simply a representative area since I am talking about the whole gamut of products and services surrounding the special event. We have effectively created a shaadi industrial complex around Indian weddings – not just in India but here in the US and anywhere else that has settlers from India.

Back to the future?

It’s only early, early spring, but ‘the season’ has started, alright.  I expect to attend and participate in a  plethora of weddings during the year. And it will take all kinds –

    • Elegant and sophisticated
    • Simple (these days, the exception that proves the rule)
    • Grand
    • Ornate
    • Over the top (for those of you interested, Have Trunk Will Travel, Inc* will rent you elephants for the baraat)
    • Mixed Race/Mixed Religion/Mixed Region
    • Arranged Marriages
    • And not.

* This is actually a neat enterprise that is committed to elephant care and welfare. So when you rent an elephant for your wedding, you are actually doing a service to this endangered species. If there’s no wedding in your future, check it out anyway!

This year, for a change, I am looking forward to wedding season. Hmmmmmm, I wonder why? I’m actually quite excited.

The closer my relationship to the bride or the groom, the more fun I expect to have. Especially in connecting and re-connecting with friends and  family. I’ve already got  two under my belt this year.

Depending on which region of India dominates the planning of a wedding (or whether it’s the bridal couple or their parents that rule) , it can turn out to be any of the following (not all are mutually exclusive) –

  • One big party – fun all the way
  • Quiet and Solemn
  • Noisy and Chaotic
  • Ritualistic and Ceremonial
  • Meaningful
  • Unforgettable

I’d guess that if wedding planners had one wish then, across the board they would aim for that one universal experience for the bridal couple, their entourage and wedding guests, i.e. making it unforgettable (for all the right reasons!).  

The corollary to this, of course, is that no one wants their wedding celebration to invoke that punishing, forgettable feel of ‘bland’. But just look at the vibrant colors in the picture below, as an example. Indian weddings, in general, are just this colorful and vibrant. Combine this with some spicy Indian cuisine, and luckily for my Indian friends, bland is simply not an option. 

In any case, best wishes and good luck to all who are making 2013 their special year!



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