I find myself in the unique, for me at least, position of thanking one of our airlines. I’d originally thought to just put a short note on facebook about this but, after reading an opinion piece in the paper this morning about American and all its problems, I wanted to do a bit more. Fair disclosure up front: this is something that was related to me by my mother who was a participant in what I’m about to describe.
Yesterday was Mom’s regular day to volunteer at DFW Airport as an Ambassador. Ambassadors are men and women who volunteer to assist travelers by answering questions, directing them to the appropriate gate, helping them find someone with an airline or with airport management who can deal with their problems. They are, more than that, ambassadors of good will at the airport.
So, there Mom was working her post at the airport yesterday when one of our soldiers approached her and asked for help. This young man, who was in uniform, had a problem. He’d been booked on a flight with another airline and had been standing in line to be checked in when he was told his flight was not only filled but was taking off without him. Mind you, he’d been there in plenty of time. He’d followed all the rules. His luggage had been checked. But this airline, with its inefficient and ineffective staffing, was leaving him behind.
Now, I know a lot of you are nodding your heads. You’ve either been in his position before or you know someone who has been. Most of us, when faced with this sort of problem can simply wait for the next flight. Unfortunately, that was not an option for the soldier. He had to report in to Camp Pendleton. If he waited for the airline in question — coff: US Air — to work with him, he would be late in reporting in. That is NOT something any soldier wants to happen.
Frustrated because US Air wasn’t willing work with him, the soldier made his way to American Airlines and, by chance, to my mother who was working in that terminal. He wanted to know if there was anything Mom could do to help him. Since she doesn’t work for the airline, she did the only thing she could. She escorted him to the nearest AA ticket agent.
And this is where I give kudos to American. The agent not only understood what the problem was, but he went above and beyond to help the young soldier. He not only started working his terminal to see what sort of flight arrangements he could make for the soldier, but he got on the phone to US Air to see if he could get them to do the right thing. Handing that phone to Mom to monitor while he was on hold with US Air, he picked up another phone and placed a call that turned out to be to one of the high mucky-mucks for American.
Long story short, or at least shorter, by the time the agent finished, US Air had agreed to put the soldier on the next flight out. Unfortunately, because it wasn’t a direct flight, he would still arrive at Camp Pendleton late. BUT, and this is a big but, American had authorized a seat for him on their next flight, a direct flight, that would get him there in time to report in. His luggage might not get there with him, but it would be there on the next flight.
American might have a lot of problems right now between their bankruptcy filing, the pilots’ union and its demands — and we will not discuss them right now because I’m not nearly as sympathetic to the pilots as I am to AA right now — and the sudden influx of seats coming loose (hmmm, can anyone say “coincidence”?). But yesterday shows that AA also cares about our men and women in uniform, something you can’t always say about the current administration.
So, to American Airlines and to that ticket agent who went so far above and beyond to assist one of our soldiers, thank you.
I will say that some of the people who work at American are absolute stars.
When we missed the LAx-Tokyo flight last month the lady in the Admirals Club in ALX went out of her way to look for a decent alternative.
On the other hand some of the others (e.g. the pilot and/or ground staff at LAX who didn’t bother waiting for 12 of us from San Diego even though we had been assured that the plane would wait) are rather less wonderful.
Agreed. I’ve had good and bad experience with AA as well as other airlines. I guess this hit me as something that needed to be shared first because of how my son was treated a couple of years ago when he was trying to report to Maxwell AFB for field training. The airline he had been booked on basically could care less. The only reason he managed to make it there on time was because he has a pushy mother who basically wasn’t afraid to create a scene if necessary. Also, after seeing how our current administration wants to cut insurance coverage for our military and their dependents, I wanted to show there are still folks who care.
One minor teeny tiny complaint. This young man is going to Camp Pendleton. Camp Pendleton is a USMC facility. This would infer that the man in question is in fact, a Marine.
Marines, as any one of them will tell you, are not “Soldiers” any more than than they are “Sailors”. They are Marines. ( in an interesting coincidence, I have a son at Camp Pendleton right now)
Most definitely, and it would not have been a mistake I’d have made if I’d been fully awake when writing the post. Thank you for the correction and thank you and your son for all you are doing for this country. I don’t know if you served in the military but you obviously raised a son who not only loves his country but is willing to put his life on the line for it and that, sir, is deserving of a great deal of thanks.
Yeah, American ticket agents have done this for me and I’m not a soldier. It’s really awesome to see the capacity that a ticket agent has (gate agents as well) and to see one of them use that capacity to help a person out. So, like you I’m big on American Airlines.
I was impressed not only with the ticket agent but with the higher up — and this was one of the big wigs from what I gathered — was not only willing to do what he could to get this Marine on a plane, but he also contacted the other airline to clear the way to get the Marine’s luggage transferred, etc. So, yeah, I have a big hat tip to AA today.