Thanks to American Airlines flight attendants, Kat and Patty

Note to new readers: Welcome to my flight attendant friends and all other crew members, gate agents and your loved ones. One or more of you were very kind to put up a link to this post on Facebook and it’s been getting referred around like mad. I’m just a regular scientist and relatively frequent traveler who appreciates humanity and kindness and just wanted to say something nice in public about y’all. And while you’re here, feel free to root around my content and see if there’s any science or medical topics that may interest you. clicking on any word in the “Category” cloud down on the right is a good way to do that. And here’s a little background on the blog.

Thank you for reading – see you in the air!

Saved from the middle seat on an American Airlines MD-80!

Let’s face it. We complain a great deal these days. And we especially complain about service and costs on airlines. But the folks who aren’t nickel-and-dimeing us on baggage fees, priority boarding, etc. are the ones on the front lines dealing with cranky travelers. So, I want to take this opportunity to say a few nice things about my flight crew today on American Airlines flight #1645 from Raleigh-Durham to Chicago O’Hare.

Chicago O’Hare is a very common connecting airport for flights out of Raleigh-Durham and I could only book a middle seat in the next-to-last row of the plane. I was willing to even pay the additional premium fee to get a window or aisle seat but none was available.

I’ll commonly chit-chat with the flight attendants as I board the plane just to find out how long of a day they’ve had, where they’re ending up at the end of this leg, and whether they get to stay at home tonight. As I said, it’s a pretty thankless job these days and I think that everyone deserves some appreciation (and commiseration), especially since these are the folks who will save me if we have to land on the Hudson River or equivalent.

As I tried to sneak an open window seat at the very back of the plane, the very last person to board the plane looked at me with contempt because I was sitting in his seat. Displaced, I took my 6’2”, 217 lb. body back to my assigned middle seat much to the dismay of my fellow travelers.

But relief came to me in the form of an angel with wings – the American Airlines winged badge, I mean – flight attendant Katerina Braganza Tierney. There were two open seats at the bulkhead and she motioned to me to follow her up the length of the cabin. Ahhh, legroom and a window seat. Even fellow flight attendant Patty (I didn’t get her full name) said that she was glad that Kat had moved me. They gave me a full can of club soda at refreshment time and Kat even gave me another one when I went back to get her name to write this post and send a note to the AA customer comments office. (I offered to post her picture here but she said that the home office doesn’t take kindly to flight attendant photos on the web).

Anyway, I just wanted to recognize a couple of folks who very kindly made my trip much more enjoyable. Yes, this was a small gesture in the grand scheme of things. But we often spend more time complaining about customer service than thanking people (what’s your ratio of airline complaint letters to airline thank-you letters?).

So, thank you Kat and Patty for making my trip to Chicago most enjoyable. You folks get a lot of grief these days. So when you do something nice for a tall dude with an arthritic knee, you deserve some kudos. I’ll send the link to this post to AA customer comments. Hoping to see you on another American flight!

Update 5 July 2011, 12:30 pm – Just got this nice tweet back from the Twitter account of American Airlines:

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