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Why Gordon's The Best CEO

Sat Sep 28, 2002 8:48 am

True story, related to me by a CO flight attendant:

On a recent CO flight, CEO Gordon Bethune had pre-boarded the aircraft and was sitting on the flight deck chatting with the Captain and First Officer. He left the flight deck just before pushback to take his assigned First Class seat.

A OnePass Platinum Elite member boarded just before the flight pushed, and was furious that he had not been upgraded. Seeing several First Class seats open, he began to argue with the flight attendant over why he had not been upgraded. The flight attendant said she would get a gate agent to look into the matter, but the Elite member began swearing at her profusely.

Gordon was on his way back from the cockpit when this occurred, and intervened, asking, "Can I help somehow?"

The passenger said, "Huh? Who the f*** are you?"

"I'm the CEO of this company," Gordon replied. "May I see your ticket, sir?"

The passenger gave his ticket to Gordon, who saw a total fare of just under six hundred dollars. He then pulled out his billfold and peeled off six $100 bills, placing them in the man's hand.

And then he tore the ticket up.

"Now," Gordon said, "you get the f*** off my airplane!"

The flight attendant could barely contain herself.  Big grin
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan

Comments made here are my own and are not intended to represent the official position of Alaska Air Group
 
artsyman
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RE: Why Gordon's The Best CEO

Sat Sep 28, 2002 9:44 am

This doesn't surprise me at all, he would back the employee in this situation, and his colorful use of langauge is well known

Jeremy
 
bmi330
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RE: Why Gordon's The Best CEO

Sat Sep 28, 2002 10:12 am

The more I hear of the Co's CEO the more I like him. How good would that be to do if you where the CEO of a large company.
 
B747-437B
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RE: Why Gordon's The Best CEO

Sat Sep 28, 2002 11:05 am

And once again, Gordon's ego loses him a loyal customer.

"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada
 
artsyman
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RE: Why Gordon's The Best CEO

Sat Sep 28, 2002 6:41 pm

And once again, Gordon's ego loses him a loyal customer.

Funny the view some take on this, Gordon, nor any of the employees want customers that swear at us, abuse us, or generally just go off on one whenever they feel like it. If that customer had not been swearing, or hadn't said who the #$%# are you to Gordon, then they would probably be sitting in Gordons seat, but the attituse got them booted

 
L-188
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RE: Why Gordon's The Best CEO

Sat Sep 28, 2002 6:59 pm

He might have lost that one, but his employee loyalty stock just went up a few points.

And he might have kept eight or nine of the other passengers who where seated in that particular section.
OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
 
pressclub
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RE: Why Gordon's The Best CEO

Sat Sep 28, 2002 8:45 pm

I had the opportunity to meet him and to speak with him several hours last week. I was really impressed I must say. He is completely different from all the other CEO's and always says what he thinks.

 
MCOtoATL
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RE: Why Gordon's The Best CEO

Sat Sep 28, 2002 11:11 pm

Herb Kelleher at Southwest has always said that you want to out your employees ahead of your customers, who then will make every effort to satisfy the customers. There was the situation where an angry lady berated some SW employees. She demanded that Herb respond to her, and he did. He sent her a letter saying that they will miss her as a customer.

Sure, Gordon may have lost a customer, but his stock in his employees eyes went up, and in the long run that is far more valuable than one person. If the employees are unhappy, the airline is in great danger.

This story kind of sounds like an urban legend, but if it is true, I applaud Gordon.
 
BWIA 772
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RE: Why Gordon's The Best CEO

Sat Sep 28, 2002 11:11 pm


And once again, Gordon's ego loses him a loyal customer. STUPSE

It is all well and good when one talks about a company being customer oriented but when you have a customer who cannot carry himself with a sense of decorum, then he deserves to be treated the way in which this one was.
Eagles Soar!
 
jjbiv
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RE: Why Gordon's The Best CEO

Sat Sep 28, 2002 11:37 pm

True, but you don't kick someone off your flight as a first response -- especially if they are a frequent customer. You inform them that you'd be happy to help them, but you can't accept them talking to you in profanity. If they continue, they get another, firmer warning. If they still persist, then you refuse to serve them. At least that's the ATA method...

joe
 
artsyman
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RE: Why Gordon's The Best CEO

Sat Sep 28, 2002 11:38 pm

I mentioned the story to a few other FA's this morning, and while no one know if it is true, most were delighted to hear it. I think most would prefer not to even ask if it is true, it is a nice moral booster

J
 
KRIC777
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RE: Why Gordon's The Best CEO

Sun Sep 29, 2002 12:21 am

And once again, Gordon's ego loses him a loyal customer.

Funny the view some take on this, Gordon, nor any of the employees want customers that swear at us, abuse us, or generally just go off on one whenever they feel like it. If that customer had not been swearing, or hadn't said who the #$%# are you to Gordon, then they would probably be sitting in Gordons seat, but the attituse got them booted


Speak on it, Artsyman,

Customer service type employees (F/As ramp agents, etc) get paid to serve customers and address compliants. They do not get paid to be abused by idiots like this jackass. The f/a in this story was not even responsible for his upgrade problem. Yet he has such an exaggerated sense of his own importance, he thinks he can yell and swear at whomever he wants. Forget that. If I'm Bethune, I'm doing exactly the same thing. Let United or AA deal with this idiot.
I don't care how much money you spend with a company, you DO NOT have a right to abuse it's people. And if you are going to, you should at least reserve it for a responsible party, not whoever happens to be around at the time. People that act like this clown need to be put in their place and realize that the world does not revolve around them.
 
B747-437B
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RE: Why Gordon's The Best CEO

Sun Sep 29, 2002 12:25 am

I'm a big fan of Gordon myself, but I was a bigger fan before I started dealing with him from a business standpoint. The guy has an ego the size of Texas and unfortunately he lets that cloud his judgement far too often. He has been praised so much by the media and his employees (rightfully so I might add) that he actually believes his own propoganda.

Gordon and Greg together brought Continental back to life after she was tottering on the edge of failure. She came from nowhere to what was arguably one of the most efficient operations of the late 1990s. Gordon could have consolidated that growth and truly built Continental into a power to be reckoned with. Alas, as Joe Brancatelli very eloquently put it in early 2001, "No airline will ever be as good as Continental THINKS they have become".

Unfortunately, Gordon then made some very unsound business decisions that began to unravel his tightly wound cocoon. He spent over $1 billion AGAINST the advice of his top lieutenants to purchase stock back from Northwest, a transaction that has left Continental with a nearly unmanageable debt load and has seen Northwest laughing all the way to the bank. The "everybody loves Gordon" public persona has now given way to "Emperor Gordon has no clothes" thanks to his repeated ego-boosting ridiculous soundbytes on national TV. He alienated his Frequent Flyers by publicly stating in the January inflight magazine that he would NOT make cuts to OnePass, but followed it up with cuts only 2 weeks later. Labor, which was once Gordon's darling, has already taken to referring to him as Gordon Buffoon. The signs of unrest are stirring down on Smith Street.

Loads on Continental are down for a variety of reasons. Platinum Elites paying $600 for a domestic flight are becoming scarcer and scarcer, but they remain the lifeblood of an airline. I don't deny that the Plat was being obnoxious and probably deserved what was coming to him. However, its hypocritical for Gordon to complain on one hand that no one is flying his planes while pushing folks away from the same planes, both literally and figuratively, with the other.
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada
 
AS_GSC
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RE: Why Gordon's The Best CEO

Sun Sep 29, 2002 12:31 am

If this idiotic passenger was getting that irate on the ground, there's no telling how upset he'll be at 39,000 feet when there's no more diet coke!

I don't usually agree with Gordon, but I applaud him with this one!

All the best!!

AS_GSC
 
aerosol
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RE: Why Gordon's The Best CEO

Sun Sep 29, 2002 1:23 am

Just from another point of view, is that legal?
The passenger and the airline have a contract. Can they send him of the plane for bitching?
 
aamd11
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RE: Why Gordon's The Best CEO

Sun Sep 29, 2002 3:08 am

I'd say he can do that, and he did so rightly.
Sure the pax and ailine have a contract, but he was abusing it, so GB threw him off. he paid him compensation on the spot, and kicked him off.
other passangers get into the air ok then turn on F/As etc and then they are made to stop they get thrown off when they stop.
its not in the contract that you can pay, get on a flight and raise hell while you're at it.
I would have done the same in GBs place.
I'd back Gordon up on this one, he did a good job.

A^A MD-11
 
Tango-Bravo
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RE: Why Gordon's The Best CEO

Sun Sep 29, 2002 9:11 am

The "loyal" customer Gordon Bethune "blew off" is one without whom CO will be a better airline. I can only venture a guess as to the "return on investment" that Mr. Bethune gained by brooming the abusive idiot. Whatever revenues Mr. Platinum Elite takes elsewhere will probably be returned at least 1,000 times over through increased morale and productivity by CO staff who know their CEO does much more than talk the talk of being on their side, to say nothing of the respect--and future business--gained from other (truly) loyal customers who are fed up with the self-proclaimed "Mr./Ms. Bigs" who plague every major airline having an elite ff program--mainly because their CEOs and marketing staffs lack the backbone to do the right thing, as Mr. Bethune did in telling the abusive "Mr. Big" to hit the road.

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