My recent flight on Delta airlines was a sad example of unfulfilled promises and the result in customer satisfaction. I’ll give one specific example and then draw a single key point from my experience. (See, this is how I cope with frustrations; I find a lesson to be learned that I can apply.)

The promise in this situation was made by Delta. They bragged on this feature, they advertised constantly, and even had lit signs pointing to their claim of in-flight wifi. This was a huge perk for flying with them. No other competitor offered this same always connected possibility. This was a great promise and commitment to me as a flyer. I boarded my flight and with only a moments hesitation was willing to pay the fees associated with the service.

This was when things turned ugly. The beautiful shiny promise Delta had made began to crumble. Perhaps crumble is too kind of a word, once the payment had been made the dream ended, the promise was broken and the harsh reality set in. This service they promised, touted, and lifted up as a wonderful opportunity ended up being worse than my dial-up connection when the internet was first formed. I’m not talking slow, I’m talking about those days when you would click a link then go grab a drink from the kitchen. Only it’s 2015, and I’m in an airplane, and I’ve been promised internet service which I have paid for. This was a classic case of over-promising and massively under-delivering.

So here I am and here is the lesson I have been able to draw from this experience. Businesses must praise the features they have and the services they provide. But they must never, ever over-promise on them. Be open, be transparent, be clear about the product your customer will be receiving. When you are open and clear in your communication then your customer’s expectations are set appropriately.

Actually maybe there’s two lessons, the second one simply being don’t buy internet service on Delta flights.