Delivering excellent customer service is a way of life for flight attendant Jane Doucette
Author Erin Benson
ALL TRAVELERS HAVE HEARD the familiar phrase “Sit back, relax and enjoy the flight,” spoken just after their flight takes to the air. But for flight attendant Jane Doucette, it isn’t a cliché—it’s a personal reminder of a great responsibility, and a call to action. She comes to work every day with a positive attitude and a determination to make sure that every customer whose comfort and safety have been entrusted to her and her fellow crew members really does “enjoy the flight.”
Doucette’s positive attitude recently paid off—literally—when she walked away with $50,000 for being named the first grand prize winner in United’s Outperform Recognition Program. Through the Outperform program, MileagePlus members may nominate an employee for excellent service on their flight, on the phone, at the airport or at any point in their experience with United.
Doucette grew up in the Philippines in what she describes as a “very hospitality-driven” culture. “My parents owned a restaurant, and for years I grew up watching my mother as she interacted with customers and made them feel at home,” she recalls. “That instilled in me the love of being around people and a desire to make sure everyone feels welcome and has a good time.”
Naturally, due to her love of people and welcoming nature, Doucette was encouraged to pursue a career as a flight attendant. But she wasn’t sure if the lifestyle—with its frequent travel and time away from home—was for her. “Friends used to say that being a flight attendant would suit me, but I didn’t know if I could get used to all the travel,” she says. “I moved to the U.S. to go to college and pursued various careers, but something seemed to be missing. One day I thought, ‘OK, maybe I should give this flight attendant thing a try.’ And I’ve never looked back.”
The airline industry often attracts people who like the idea of having breakfast on one side of the Atlantic and dinner on the other, but travel isn’t Doucette’s highest priority. “I enjoy making people happy,” she says. “And I get the opportunity to do that all day long. I couldn’t ask for a more fulfilling or fun way to spend my time. If you start the day with the right attitude, it’s tough to have a bad day.”
Doucette has spent 18 years in this customer-facing job—a length of time in which one would assume any flight attendant, no matter how friendly, would have come across a bad flight or two.
“I get that question a lot, since I have nothing but great things to say about my job and my customers,” Doucette says. “In an ideal world, I would deny ever having a bad flight, but that’s a little unrealistic after so many years of flying. Sure, I’ve run into the occasional traveler who is impossible to please, but that’s pretty rare.
“Most of the time, even if I can’t solve their issue, people appreciate that I care and I tried my best to help.”