Saturday, March 14, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire

Before the trip, some of us had visited United Airlines’ web site to see what the in-flight entertainment would be for the 12-hour-plus journey. To many people’s delight, the site advertised that Academy Award-nominees “Doubt,” “The Changling” and “Slumdog Millionaire” would be among our choices.

However, as we boarded the plane, which initially was warm enough for saunas in some health clubs, there were no in-seat entertainment consoles. The blockbuster movie line-up apparently was for the first-class passengers.

Little more than an hour into the flight, the cabin temperature was more comfortable and our cheerful and professional crew on United Airlines 881, began the TV offerings with news documentaries from the BBC.

Later on the schedule would be “Spark of Genius,” a good movie about an inventor who fought the Ford Motor Co. for stealing his patent for the intermittent windshield wiper, as well as “The Secret Life of Bees” and “Quantum of Solace.”

During the screening of the first movie, a technical glitch caused us to briefly see Phillip Seymour Hoffman in a scene from “Doubt.” Would it be possible for us to see that film as well? Could the in-flight magazine perhaps be wrong?

After a few generous and discretely placed compliments to crew members about their service given, particularly about the attention given to the vegetarians in our group, one of us politely posed the questions above.

While our assumptions were indeed true, with a wink and a nod to “technical difficulties,” “Slumdog Millionaire” soon was on the screen in our cabins.

As the attendant told me later, it was the most engrossed group of passengers he’d seen in a while.

As our group of business students is learning, it always is profitable to listen to what the customer wants. Thanks.

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