I log many sky miles flying to and from project locations as part of my business. Flying in general has become more of a hassle than a pleasure and an event.

Remembering as a child my grandmother flying to visit during the year was such a big deal! She was dressed to the “nines” and so were my Mother and I as we drove to the airport to greet her. She would appear at the top of the plane’s exit door and pause looking for us in the crowd standing at the gate which was next to the plane. For some of you reading this you cannot imagine this scene and for others, you remember it well. She would spot us and wave and we would wave in return. Soon we would be embracing each other. The captains and flight attendants would come off the plane dressed in their smart looking pressed uniforms, the flight attendants were tall, thin, gorgeous and oh those high heels! They were friendly and engaging. Flying had a prestigious image—both for passengers and crew. You did not feel trapped at 38,000 feet.

My, how things have changed. The hassles begin from the time you arrive at the airport, standing in line to get through security, taking your shoes and jackets off, everything out of your pockets and then only to be told you “beeped”. So back in line and try it again. This time you get through only to have them ask “is this your bag?” You know immediately here goes the search. By the time you get on your way you wish you could take a bath. And we are not even in the air yet!

Times have changed! Now both passengers and crew dress sloppy and act and behave rudely—it is a cattle call with 200+ of your closet friends! If you see anyone dressed neat and professional, they stand out like a fish out of water. The image of flying has changed and unfortunately not for the better. As you sit squeezed between two people in the middle, you feel trapped at 38,000 feet.

The airline industry’s image has slipped over the years due to many factors. Has yours? Maintaining image is a continuous process. If we are not examining, analyzing, and enhancing image, it will slip. This applies to both companies and individuals. Make it the #1 item tomorrow to do —evaluate your image both from a personal and professional perspective as well your companies’ image. Why? Because you can recover from a slight slip but left too long, it becomes the norm. Left longer and you may not be able to recover.

Keep your image true, updated, intact, and not trapped at 38,000 feet.

Until next week,

Author: Nyda Bittmann-Neville is an image and branding doctor who helps clients enhance and achieve healthy performance in marketing, communications, image and brand. Contact Nyda at [email protected] or visit her on www.TNBGroup.com, www.NydaSpeaks.com.