The Perpetual “First Impression”

Make first impressions count by keeping customer service top of mind at the flightline

SMILE! Let customers at least think that you are happy to see them and happy to be of service. Welcome the customers, ask them their names, share your name, and begin a relationship!

Be Professional

Line service technicians often lament, “Those pilots … they never pay attention to my hand signals!” But when they are observed marshaling, it looks like they are swatting flies or fanning themselves. No wonder pilots fail to follow their hand signals, they are either uninterruptible or indistinguishable!

Customers can quickly determine an FBO’s level of professionalism by what line service technicians are doing and how they are doing it. Sometimes simple things like just wearing PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), speaks volumes. If employees show they care about their own safety, it gives the impression that they are also safe with aircraft.

Using proper equipment like wands or flags to marshal, direct and park aircraft, including both day wands and lighted wands at night, adds another level of professionalism. Driving equipment safely and professionally on the ramp, especially around aircraft, speaks volumes about an FBO’s professionalism.

Each interaction with a customer provides an opportunity to make a positive and memorable first impression. If all tasks are performed proficiently and professionally, FBOs will find customers returning not just for fuel, but for the service they provide.


Walter Chartrand, Training Instructor

Walter Chartrand is a training instructor with Aviation Training Academy, a firm dedicated to the training and continued education of professional aviation ground support personnel. More information on the training offered by Aviation Training Academy can be found at:

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