Although it’s nigh on forty years ago, Reilly will always remember the day he flew First Class for the first time.

He’d just joined the Priority Management organisation as a young and innocent time management trainer and was en route from Vancouver to Quebec for their annual training conference.

As luck would have it he was to be seated beside Dan Stamp, the President of the organisation.

Dan, then and now, lives life as if he’s just emerged from the pages of Dale Carnegies classic ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People.’ 

Everyone loves Dan: – associates ; board members; clients; members of the press; suppliers; workshop attendees; men; women; children. He simply exudes emotional intelligence.

The first thing Dan does on taking his seat on the aircraft is to press the flight assistance button summoning assistance. Bing-bong.

A taciturn air hostess – called Darlene on her name-tag – was clearly unimpressed with Dans enthusiasm, and promptly informs him that.

‘Cabin assistance does not commence until after take-off.’

Unperturbed, Dan informs Darlene that all himself and Reilly want are two comment cards on which to provide feedback on the quality of the flight.

With the sweetest of smiles – you know the one that is a cross between sympathy and ‘stop you’re messing now’ – Darlene tells the lads.

‘Passenger Comment Cards are only ever distributed at the end of the flight when passengers have an experience to comment on.’

With an equally syrupy smile Dan assures her that he understands her reasoning but nonetheless, he’d welcome two comment cards, now.

To say his request caused a modicum of consternation amongst the cabin-crew was an understatement. 

As she reluctantly retreated to get the forms Darlene was joined by a gaggle of other flight attendants who were now giving Reilly and Dan the proverbial ‘daggers’.

Upon getting the forms Dan counselled Reilly to copy closely the sentiment of his comments.

Having ticked every superlative rating for ‘Quality; Service; Safety and Comfort’ he proceeded to write in qualitative detail about the excellence of the flight experience.

‘I travel the world on business and the level of customer service

provided on Airlines is a source of great passion for me. Frequently

I’m disappointed. 

‘I must say the quality of service on this flight stands out as one of the best I’ve ever experienced’. 

He went on to cite a number of specific examples about the food, the ambience, and the comfort. 

Finally, he wrote that ‘the cheerfulness, care and charm of Darlene – the air hostess – was second to none’ and that she espoused perfectly the passenger care ethos of the airline as documented on their mission statement.

Just as the pilot switched on the ‘fasten your seat belts sign’ and instructed the cabin crew to prepare for take-off Dan once again pressed the ‘bing-bong’ switch. 

He cheerfully presented the seething Darlene with the two completed comment cards.

Fifteen minutes after take off Dan and Reilly were upgraded to First Class. 


  • The message from this post is not to provide insincere feedback in order to blag upgrades although that can very much be a bonus. It is to make us aware of the power of positive expectation. 
  • Let people know in advance that you expect the best from them and watch their performance soar.
  • Next time you visit your accountant, dentist, doctor or any other service provider inform them at the outset how highly you regard them and how you expect them to be of wonderful service.
  • This  week, resolve to fly first class everywhere you go.


If you travel first class, you think first class and you are more likely to play first class.’
—Raymond Floyd.

He’s no barrel of laughs but James Clear, author of Atomic Habits,  claims to write ‘the most wisdom per word of any newsletter on the web.’

Reilly grudgingly has to agree.

His post this Thursday on the power of questions is apposite.

‘The questions you ask yourself will largely determine the answers you get.

Ask yourself.

1. ‘Why am I not successful?’ You’ll get answers that berate you.

Ask yourself.

2. ‘How can I succeed here?’ You’ll get answers that push you.

The bottom line is to be deliberate in the questions you ask yourself.


Fergus Foley, founder and proprietor of ‘The Blue Cloak’ chain of fashion shops was probably the best fashion retailer Reilly ever knew.

Gerry Meehan, former President of The Irish Dental Association, was probably the best dentist Reilly ever knew.

Both are now passed on to greener pastures where Reilly has no doubt they continue to share stories and wisdom.

Fergus once confided to Reilly the secret to getting superior service or ‘flying first class.’

‘Reilly, when I go in to Gerry Meehans surgery the first thing I say is ‘Gerry, I know you’re the best dentist in Galway. I expect you to do a wonderful job on my teeth today.’

Reilly also knew Gerry Meehan very well and he too once confided to Reilly.

‘Reilly, every time Fergus Foley comes in to my surgery, without fail, he tells me that I’m the best dentist in Galway and he expects me to do a wonderful job on his teeth. 

‘And although I’d like to think I do my best for every one of my patients, I have to admit I give him that bit extra.’

Leaba i measc na naingeal agus na naomh ag an mbeirt.

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