I was very pleased to see some proactive changes at Newark airport this week. The Port Authority must have read my column. It’s not quite there yet, but positive change should be recognized. Thank you.
In the spirit of giving credit where credit is due, I also want to thank Delta Air Lines for its management, especially at Hartsfield International Airport in Atlanta — their hometown hub.
It started on my flight from Newark to Atlanta, where a middle-aged male flight attendant hung my jacket for me, even though I was in coach. I wish I had gotten his name, but I did thank him in front of the pilots, who recognized my gratitude with warm smiles. I hope the entire crew had a good day; they deserved it.
If you’ve never been there, Hartsfield is an amazing hive of activity. But throughout the airport, people with disabilities have access to services I’ve never seen anywhere else. It was clear from the signage that it was Delta Air Lines driving the service.
Clear signage; plenty of wheelchairs; clean bathrooms with access for people with limited mobility; and, best of all, during a five hour delay (due to weather), helpful and positive people to guide the process — complete with snacks, sandwiches and soft drinks for the passengers delayed for reasons beyond anyone’s control.
When I arrived in Atlanta, there were plenty of people waiting with wheelchairs to get people from the plane to their next destination in the airport. The services were well organized. Anyone who has limited mobility should feel comfortable using that airport, despite the fact it is busier than a kicked-over anthill.
I was in Atlanta to deliver a benchmarking debrief to Southern Company — something I’ve done several times over the last decade. Southern Company has made remarkable progress, especially for women. They should be very proud of their accomplishments. What’s most encouraging is the desire to do even more, and their understanding that diversity management is all about talent management, which, in turn, serves their customers throughout the Southeast.