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airplane seat

Today I flew to Houston on Southwest, one of my favorite airline brands. I was escaping the invasion of pirates in Tampa Bay. I live in a high rise and on Saturday my balcony will have a direct view of over 500,000 mostly drunk revellers.  I enjoy this celebration called Gasparilla about every other year. This year I was passing and headed to H town for a big city fix.

As I boarded the plane, I was auditing all the brand touch points as I just got hired to speak to an international airline in February. I noticed a lot more that I usually do – from the ticket pocket, to the checkin line signage, to the gate tunnel walls, carpets, uniforms and the seat magazine and laminated promo card on the changing Rapid Rewards program. All on-brand, same SW story, all 500% consistent. Good job Southwest.

As I enter the plane, I scope out my seating opportunities should I, in fact, decide I want to chat with my seat mate. I’m always very strategic with this due diligence.  No crying babies, no people preparing and eating their dinner next to me and no live animals, especially birds.

What I do look for are business people and if there are none, which is rare, then I default to a George Clooney look a-like.

Why the effort? Because I have met many new clients, new friends and even once an investor on an airplane. I don’t always work the row, sometimes I do just pass out, think, read or work.

But just to make sure I’m ready if an opportunity sits next me, I always:

  • Have a several business cards
  • Dress professional when I fly
  • Practice good phone and technology etiquette
  • Avoid garlic and other strong foods before the flight (they may keep away vampires, a client too)
  • And listen more than I talk

If it’s appropriate , I get a card and keep my word if I promise a follow up.

More from Houston later. My battery is low and my cables are sitting on my desk in Tampa. Can you say Apple Store on Saturday?

For more in the sky lessons, view: JetBlue gives you four inches, but…