U.S. Airways & American Airlines Join Forces To Turn Potentially Awful Experience Into One Of Delight

Consumerist reader Liz says she’s usually the kind of traveler where everything that could possibly go wrong does — lost luggage, no pilot for a plane, bumped holiday flights, the works — so when she had the Very Best Most Awesomest Travel Experience ever last week, she felt compelled to write in and give both U.S. Airways and American Airlines their props.

Liz and her boyfriend were traveling back to New York City from Detroit after a long trip, with a layover in Washington D.C. There was only an hour window from when they were scheduled to land in D.C. and take off again for NYC, so when they found out their U.S. Airways flight out was delayed an hour, she was prepared for a fight.

When I arrived at the Detroit airport I went straight to the U.S. Airways desk. The lady barely looked up at me and said, “First Class?” I said no, that I just had a question about my flight. Which was true, I did — I wanted to know if I’d make it back to New York that night. She asked for my name and I gave it to her. She didn’t say much else, just was typing away on her computer. The next thing I know it looked like she was printing out boarding passes which annoyed me because it wasn’t what I was going to ask her. She then put a stack of boarding passes on the counter and said “Head over to American Airlines counter. You and your travel partner on a direct flight to LaGuardia that leaves at 3:30pm.” WHAT? AMAZING! I’ve never had so much help without ever having to say anything at all!

But wait, there’s more. Prepare for further jealousy.

My boyfriend and I checked our bag at American Airlines and then headed to the gate. When we got to the gate it didn’t look like it’d be a full flight. I went to the kiosk and asked the American Airlines representative if the flight was full because my travel partner and I were seated separately instead of the together. (Who could complain about that, though? They had just switched me from a connecting flight to a direct flight! For free!) She said it wasn’t full and if my travel partner came up with his ID she could put us in the Exit Row. Exit Row! Without a charge? Okay! Usually that’s an additional $49 fee on most airlines. I did feel a pang of guilt considering I’m only 5’2″ and hate people who do that when there’s a 6′ something man who could probably use the leg room more… but I needed a break and a stretch so we gladly accepted.

Thought that was it? Nope. Liz’s string of travel luck held out for one greatly appreciated cherry on her metaphorical sundae.

Once we were all settled in, my boyfriend and I decided we were still on vacation and lets have a drink! Why not? He ordered a beer and I ordered a white wine. When the flight attendant brought me the white whine she apologized that it wasn’t very cold and  offered me a cup of ice. I gladly accepted. Then she went one step further and said the white wine was at no charge because it wasn’t chilled and there was another one on ice for me if I wanted it before we landed. It’s the little things…

It certainly is the little things — if only every potentially awful travel experience could end up going so smoothly.