Language and Its Application

I was flying last week (oh there’s a news flash) and on my flight back from Atlanta we were delayed from leaving the gate for several preventable reasons. After being 20 minutes late with no explanation, (One wonders if the airlines just don’t know that people don’t like being left in the dark. No that can’t be it, many years ago United ran an ad noting that fact and pledging to fix it. Another promise not kept.) the pilot finally announced why we have been delayed through no fault of the airline but that we would only be 20 minutes late leaving and since we were scheduled to make the trip in 20 minutes less than expected, we would still arrive on time. Hurrah for them.

Forty minutes late we finally left the gate and sat. Apparently we were on one of the last planes known to exist that did not have electronic communication with the ops department and they needed an update, which had to be delivered manually. Again, the pilot explained things and told us he was frustrated too.

After we finally left the gate, that’s when the Language question comes in. The lead flight attendant announced the airline’s apology for our “slight” delay. Seriously, 40 minutes late is their idea of a “slight” delay? Is this creative use of language? Does the flight attendant really believe that 40 minutes is only slight? Does he think if he calls it slight we will agree? Who trained him to use this language and what were they thinking? Or maybe they weren’t thinking!

Anyway, the slight delay turned into over an hour and we arrived one hour late. Well technically only 45 minutes and then the pilot advised it is a quick taxi to the gate … 15 minutes, thus the hour. Again, who trains these people?

How are your people insulting your customers with their use of language? Who trained them?


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