The very first time I taught ’service excellence’ four decades ago was not in a hotel.
After college in the mid-seventies, I decided I wanted a job that would allow me to see the world while I was young. So I applied to become a Flight Steward with Philippines Airlines. After 3 years of flying to San Francisco, Honolulu, Sydney, Melbourne, Amsterdam, Rome, Frankfurt, Karachi, Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Hong Kong, Taipei and Tokyo, I said it was enough fun and experience so it was time to ’clip my wings’.
My bosses had other ideas and instead of clipping my wings, fortified them by offering me the unique opportunity to become a cabin crew trainer! For the next 5 years of my life in PAL that is exactly what I became.
Since I shifted from the airline to the hospitality industry in 1985, I never looked back…
Until a recent PAL flight from Abu Dhabi to Manila, as I was entering the airplane cabin, I spotted a crew member who I was certain was my contemporary. Without any hesitation and a spark of instant recollection I said ’You are Rose Bartolome, right?’ She was stunned of course and I quickly told her who I was! We reminisced and exchanged pleasantries as if the last time we talked was only yesterday!
PR 657 of September 12, 2016 headed by Rose Bartolome was an excellent flight. All the cabin crew were attentive and sincerely helpful. When Rose gave me her card I was so happy to see she is now Manager for Cabin Services, in-charge of the over 2,500 PAL flight attendants flying the world over!
This brings me to sometimes wonder what if I never left PAL? Could I have been standing beside Rose on that same flight that wonderful 12th of September of 2016 greeting passengers “Welcome aboard! Magandang gabi po, tuloy po sila!”
That flight was truly an experience I will never forget if only because I reconnected with Rose Bartolome and also because it brought me totally ’full circle’ on this service excellence path I have chosen to take in life.
(Vic Alcuaz is a Hospitality Headhunter, Trainer & Consultant: www.vicalcuaz. com)
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.