Yesterday I flew from Dallas to Denver. I scheduled the flight so I would have 90 minutes before my first coaching session.

Boing on runway
Boing on runway

When I took my seat on the plane, I told my seat mate I had not flown on many MD 80s lately because they are so old they were being retired. (Note: It was not the plane in the photo above.)

More than an hour after we were supposed to take off, the captain announced that the mechanical problem could not be fixed and they were taking the plane out of service. They would bring another plane to a different gate and we would leave from there.

We took our bags, left the plane stood by and 30 minutes later the gate agent announced the new gate. When we got there we waited as the plane was coming from another city fully loaded with passengers. Finally it arrived, the passengers got off, the cleaning crew did its task and we boarded.

Just when we thought we would be under way, the Captain announced the plane had a maintenance issue. Finally, it was fixed and we were on our way over three hours late.

I’m convinced airline employees are taught to say certain things like:

We are sorry for your inconvenience.

We appreciate your patience. (I was one of many who was not the least bit patient. I had to cancel two coaching sessions,)

Suppose you failed to meet a date. What would your clients say if you told them you were sorry for their inconvenience? Wouldn’t it be more than just an inconvenience?

How would they respond if you told them you appreciate their patience?