“Patty Preference” on a Plane
I am what you would call a “particular” flier. Lots of specific opinions and detailed preferences. Not just aisle or window, row. Not just what carrier, what plane.
Before we started Freed Marcroft in 2012, I flew almost every week. I began to have plane friends I met because we would frequently find ourselves on the same flight home, and when flying Delta, I could spot an old Northwest cabin crew. Exposure and familiarity and the desire to make the slog of frequent domestic air travel more pleasant made me a niche expert on my own penchants. Flying as often as I did virtually guaranteed upgrades from coach to first class, which I very quickly and very much grew to prefer.
By the way, I am a person of specific opinions in other areas, too. Kristen doesn’t call me Patty Preference for nothing.
You Can’t Have Three Out of Three
We often talk about how people make decisions in terms of how they prioritize time versus money, versus quality. One of the realities of life is that you can have one or two out of three, but you can’t have all three. If something is cheap and fast, it can’t also be superb quality. If it’s excellent quality, it can be speedy or inexpensive – but not both. You get the gist. (By the way, Freed Marcroft is built on quality first, then valuing and prioritizing each client’s time goals. We aren’t cut-rate and we don’t pretend to be. You can select lower-cost divorce attorneys, but know they are leaving something else out.)
Airline travel is a useful, clean example of how this operates for different people in different situations. For example, some people aim to find the lowest priced flight possible. They will take longer to get somewhere or leave at an inconvenient time to score. They also may be OK with a middle seat towards the back of the plan, or board last, or a carrier with fewer amenities (quality) to minimize their spend.
Personally, when it comes to making decisions about what flight to take, I often rank time highest. A direct flight is a big draw for me. Although I prefer to fly first class (quality), I will often select an airline without a first-class cabin if it gets me to my destination when I want and with less travel time.
This brings me to where I sit now, on my first Breeze flight, headed to visit my parents. My priority, per usual, was time. Breeze offered no layover and put me straight into the little local airport near my parents instead of the bigger Tampa one an hour away from their house. I also got a surprising dose of quality because I upgraded to a seat in their best section, which, in terms of bells and whistles, is somewhere between economy plus and first class on a domestic flight. Not bad. There is Chex Mix, a footrest, the flight attendant is nice, and there’s plenty of room for my elbows while I type. I forfeited saving on price – my final fare was right in there with a first-class ticket on a traditional airline. There were less expensive ways to get to Florida, even on this very flight, but also, I value passing the flight time pleasantly.
Just Tell It to Me Straight and Value My Time
While I was asleep last night, I got a text message letting me know my flight was delayed by a few hours. Mildly annoying? Yes, of course. But they told me, and they told me 18 hours in advance. Because they communicated early, I wasn’t stuck at the airport, killing time. Instead, I was able to be at home longer with Kristen and the little spaniels and a book. Frankly, this flight delay was relatively less frustrating and stressful than typical. The postponement wasn’t ideal, but that was some high-quality communication. Even though the flight wasn’t on time, my time was valued.
At Freed Marcroft, we must sometimes give our clients information they won’t like. For example, sometimes the court reschedules a hearing we want to go forward, the other side didn’t do what they committed to do, or the way the law works isn’t how our client wishes it would work.
Two things are most important to us.
- First, we tell it like it is so our clients can make the best life decisions with sharp advice rooted in reality.
- Second, we communicate early.
This means we not only share new information when we have it but also that, whenever possible, we educate clients about potential issues in advance – even before they happen. For example, over the past year, we have compiled all our lawyers’ experience with different aspects of family law to create a communications library for clients explaining what’s coming up next in their case. We’ve also brainstormed and interviewed former clients about the most stressful parts of their divorce to ascertain which parts of the arc are the most challenging, and we designed communications to prepare clients for that, too. Not just what might happen, but how it might feel.
This is how we would want to be treated, so this is how we should treat people.