And Now: “Flying The Friendly Skies Fridays” Because Traveling Can Actually Be Fun

Leah's son gets the ultimate treatment.

Leah’s son gets the ultimate treatment.

Around these parts, we hear our share of the frustrating, the woeful and the all-out angry. But when we catch hold of an idea that brings out the happy and rewarding stories of customers, we like to celebrate it. Herewith, then, the first of a few “Flying The Friendly Skies Fridays.” Or FTFSF, if you will.

A few weeks ago I had a great guffaw and giggle during an early morning flight, and asked for your friendly skies stories to keep the good vibes going. This week’s set is dedicated to our long-haul commuter of a boss, Christian, who flies from Los Angeles to New York for work every week. Here’s to hoping you get some FTFSF.

On election day this past November, I was on a 6 p.m. Air France flight to Paris. I was pretty bummed that I wouldn’t get to find out who won the election until after we landed. Around midnight, everyone was sleeping, but a passenger next to me decided to ask our flight attendant if he could find out. He called the captain, who apparently called air traffic control, who told him Obama won. Our French flight attendant came back with champagne and chocolates for our whole row and exclaimed, “I love Obama! I love Americans!”

It was a great way to celebrate the election!

We live on the West Coast and flew to the East Coast to visit family. We flew back home on my son’s birthday, and he wasn’t in the best mood since we had to leave his grandparents and other family on his birthdate.

When the airport staff at Southwest found out that it was his birthday (they saw me give him some small wrapped gifts in birthday paper while in the gate area of the airport, and they pulled me aside to ask if it was his birthday) they told our flight crew, and they made him this elaborate birthday crown out of pretzel bags held together with drink stirrers, they announced his birthday over the PA system, and the whole plane sang “Happy Birthday” to him. It completely changed his mood.

When the plane landed we stayed onboard since we had a layover with no plane change, and pretty much every person who got off the plane personally wished my son a Happy Birthday. During the layover the pilot and copilot came back and also wished my son a Happy Birthday, and they took him to the cockpit and talked to him about what various buttons and dials were for.

This was almost a year ago, and on his birthday list for this year my son added “fly Southwest again on my birthday.” The whole crew really made an incredibly positive impression on my son, and on everyone else that I told the story as well.

I would like to share two airline stories that made me smile. Both take place on West Jet Airlines in Canada, and both have to do with the safety briefing.

Now usually the safety briefing is horribly boring, plus in Canada we have to go through it twice since they have to do it in both official languages. One time I flew with them though, the flight attendants did the safety briefing in over-the-top runway model style. The actions were all comically overdone complete with facial expressions. They reminded me of Vanna White or the models on The Price is Right.

The second one happens almost every time I fly with West Jet. When they get to the point in the safety briefing where they explain that the flight is non-smoking, they usually say “And anyone caught smoking during the flight will be asked to leave the aircraft immediately.”

Subtle, but good for a chuckle.

A few years ago, I was flying Southwest with my husband and son. When the plane landed I went straight out to the gangway to collect our gate-checked stroller and waited for them to catch up. And waited. And waited. Because they were busy doing this:

Perhaps the airline gods will take this outpouring of gratitude as cosmic currency and spread it around a bit for those folks out there not having such great experiences, eh?

Fun times up there. Fun times.

Fun times up there. Fun times.

Do you have an uplifting tale that made your whole day take off? Forgive me the pun and send your FTFSF stories to

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