Have you ever experienced an inconsistency so glaring, so in-your-face that you were left speechless?
Recently, my wife and I enjoyed traveling out-of-state and spending a weekend with family. To get to our destination, I made a huge mistake. I booked a red-eye—and it wasn’t a direct flight.
Kaylee and I arrived at LAX with plenty of time to catch our flight. We breezed through security (surprise, surprise! Love you, TSA.) and made it to our gate in the United Airlines terminal. After a minor twenty-minute delay, we began the boarding process.
We made it to our seats, plugged in our headphones, and got comfy. Because of the delay in boarding, our layover would be a good bit shorter, but still doable. I turned to Kaylee and began “mansplaining” to her (over-explaining in a way only a man can—see what I did there) the time crunch, no reason to stress, etc. She looked at me and said, “Stop stressing yourself out.”
I smiled, nodded, and before I could say anything back, the captain came on over the PA system.
“Uh, folks, we are going to be delayed at the gate. We have no clue why, but the plane’s exterior lights aren’t working at the moment.”
He continued to explain that the troubleshooting and maintenance process may take roughly thirty minutes to an hour all the while complaining about his crew and their lack of communication with him on the flight deck.
Great. Remember that layover? Almost nonexistent now. We’re going to be cutting it close.
Before I could turn to Kaylee and lament over our situation, the flight attendant came on.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we realize many of you have tight connecting flights. If you need help with your connections, just check your mobile app. It won’t help to ask us. If you don’t have the mobile app, either download it, or you can take your belongings, exit the plane, and talk to the gate attendants.”
Um, what?! First off, I’m not about to get off the plane. Second, you can’t help us? I thought that was your job!
Eventually we pushed back from the gate with all our exterior lights working and headed to our destination. And sure enough, we landed with fifteen minutes before they shut the gate to our connecting flight. There was no way we would make it—our gate was in a completely different terminal.
Dejected, Kaylee and I deplaned and I made a bee-line to the gate attendant. I explained our situation and she pointed me in the direction of customer service—there was nothing she could do.
You can imagine my disappointment with our choice in airlines. I was shocked at the low level of service we witnessed on our previous flight. And to think I was now at their mercy. I’m supposed to be on vacation!!
In the midst of these thoughts, I heard a customer service representative begin yelling, “If you missed your connection, please come see me. You can skip the line at customer service!”
Kaylee and I were the first ones to rush him.
“Hey, we missed our connecting flight.” I gave him our name, confirmation number, and final destination.
“So sorry about that, sir. I went ahead and booked you on the next flight out; here’s two new boarding passes. Just walk down the terminal to your new gate and confirm with the gate attendant. You’ll be headed to your destination in no time.”
I was speechless. Before I could even complain about my problem, he solved it! Then when we arrived at our new gate, the gate attendant upgraded our seats! Whoa!
I couldn’t help but comment to Kaylee, “It’s like we’re flying with a totally different airline! Where was this customer service a few hours ago?”
Things only went up from there. Starbucks was located right next to our gate (praise God!) and we were on our way faster than I thought. Then, we were with family enjoying a refreshing weekend together.
I couldn’t help but think about what a perfect example this situation was. Here was a classic case of inconsistency. As I thought about the scenario, I put together a short list of problems inconsistency creates. I’d encourage you to apply these to your home, work, and church realms and really ponder the ripple effect an inconsistency in your life and ministry could create:
Inconsistency Creates Confusion
When it came to our choice in airline, I wondered which example represented the airline as a whole. You don’t want your family, coworkers, church, etc. wondering who you are. Avoid confusion by being consistent.
Inconsistency Creates Doubt
After the inconsistent interactions I had with our airline, I doubted their credibility as well as my choice in airline. Do they really have a handle on what they’re doing? Do they have a clue what’s going on? Should I ever book a trip with them again? Don’t help others doubt you or your message by your inconsistency.
Inconsistency Creates Disappointment
When I saw how well the airline treated us after how poorly they treated us, I became very disappointed in the airline overall. Clearly, they had the potential to create an amazing experience all the time, but they failed to do so. Don’t leave your family, friends, coworkers, or church disappointed in what you could be.
Inconsistency Creates Deserters
After the airline sent such a mixed signal, I overheard several travelers vowing never to travel with them again. Excellent service or terrible “service”—it wasn’t worth the risk. Don’t create an opportunity for others to justify distancing themselves from you by choosing to be inconsistent.
Evaluate your life. You’ll probably have an area or two where you’re sending mixed signals. Don’t allow these areas to go unchecked. Make things right and work to remain consistent. After all, when you choose to be inconsistent, and yes, it’s a choice, you choose to become your own worst enemy.