Cathy and I returned from Texas yesterday on a Southwest flight into San Diego (we live half-way between San Diego and Phoenix -- the SD airport is a little quicker drive). I learned a valuable lesson by observing our Captain and Cabin Crew.
The first thing I noticed was the very friendly smile and "Good Morning" as we boarded. The flight attendant seemed genuinely happy to have us aboard. The next thing was actually a funny. She got on the microphone and said, "Folks, we have a completely full flight today. Every seat is sold. If you have put your purse or briefcase in that center seat and are avoiding eye contact, hoping to keep someone from sitting there, it's not going to work!" That comment brought laughter throughout the plane. Experienced fliers on Southwest do just that all the time. Busted!
The captain did the typical greeting and told us about the flight, including the headwind that would make it a bit longer than normal. He made us aware when a closed runway delayed our departure. What really, set him apart was how he communicated during flight. We had 2 or 3 stretches of turbulence along the way. Each time he warned us and each time he told us when we were through it. He turned the seatbelt sign off whenever the sailing was smooth. He seemed genuinely concerned about the combination of our safety and our comfort.
I have sat on lots of airplanes. The vast majority of the time, no one speaks even to the person next to them. Those rides in long, winged cylinders can be a few hours of gloom and boredom. This flight wasn't. People chatted and seemed totally relaxed.
It took a few caring and kind people to change the atmosphere for all of us. What does that say about your church? How are you doing in that department, anyway?