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London Luton: Where is that?

Most Americans are familiar with the London airports of Heathrow, Gatwick and even Stanstead. Fewer will be familiar with London Luton which is really not London at all and considerably north, just off the M1 Motorway. There are no direct flights to North America but it is a busy European hub with the majority of flights leaning to the budget sector. It specializes historically in package holidays,  is becoming more popular with corporate and other individual travel and has relatively easy access. I believe it would be true to say that it is often looked down upon in terms of comparison with the fast moving chariot wheels of the other London Airports.
 
We therefore found it interesting recently on a flight to Malta to experience their security arrangements and service.
 
Firstly the security area for out bound flights may not have been attractive and a little shed like, but it was well laid out, managed well with polite helpful staff to guide you through and efficient. This was particularly impressive as many passengers were not regular travelers and unused to the procedures.
 
At the point of search the staff attitude was great and not intrusive. There was polite chatter that did not detract from process and safety. As we collected hand luggage we felt compelled to thank the team and to congratulate them on their quality of service. One of them beamed and came over with a hand shake. He revealed that praise for them was not common, they always really tried to give service and thanked us for our comments and said how they were motivated by them. With that he turned and attended with enthusiasm to the next customer. The thought crossed our minds that perhaps management were concentrating on their core business rather than running a major shopping hub with a private landing strip!
 
Our experience really got us thinking that it was a serious learning proposition we had just witnessed. Our thoughts centered around the following. Focus on what the core of your business is about from the customer aspect. Your environment does not determine your ability to provide service. Good service makes a massive difference and especially when it is not expected. You can recruit for attitude but you need a behavior orientated training program. Receiving praise and recognition from customers is a big motivator, even if privately executed. Airport hassle and security can be made painless with positive staff attitude and behavior. Guests are appreciative of service and are needy of it in many circumstances. All airports could learn from this one which in general terms is not the leader of the pack.
 
Try it sometime on your European travels.

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