Flying The Friendly Skies Friday: The Happiest of Birthdays; Upgrades For Everybody

Image courtesy of (Blueiscool)

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. This week in Flying The Friendly Skies Friday: The best birthday in the air and upgrades for everybody.

In this week’s installation, we build upon the good vibes we had going last week. Doesn’t matter the airline, as it seems the happy times are sprinkled among the carriers in a fairly even manner.

I was flying on JetBlue from JFK to Austin, on a flight that was leaving WAY too early in the morning, and on Valentine’s Day, to boot.

The flight attendants decided that they loved us, and so we all had free movies if we wanted them. (I slept instead, but it was still a nice thing to do.)

In July 2008, me, my 7-year-old son, and my mother flew Delta from visiting my brother in San Diego, then to Atlanta and finally to Indianapolis. Literally as we were boarding the flight, my son, Jonathan, lost a tooth. It took a minute to dig around and find some tissues to jam in his mouth until we could sit down and get ourselves situated. Jon hadn’t lost very many teeth prior to this, and this had been an emotional trip — my brother re-enlisted in the Navy and was getting ready to deploy. Jon was a wee bit anxious and a bit teary, but seemed under control.

The flight crew noticed that we had stopped on the ramp while we were doing all of this, and when we explained what happened with the tooth, they immediately produced some paper napkins and a small cup for the tooth, and then they walked us to our seats.

After we got underway, and the seat belt signs were turned off, one of the flight crew appeared and asked Jon his name and what his favorite snack was (potato chips) Fifteen minutes later, the captain made an announcement congratulating Jon on his lost tooth! The whole plane cheered, and the attendant came up the aisle with a small thing of ice cream, a card signed by the entire crew, and a small can of Pringles (for later, she said). Jon was thrilled!

My mother and I were flabbergasted, and incredibly grateful. It was such a small thing, and it meant so much to us. We still have that card on our refrigerator.

I recently flew Southwest from Houston to Corpus Christi for a meeting. As we boarded the plane, the head flight attendant said “Folks, this is not a full flight. Please spread out, as I do not want all of y’all in my section.”

Other highlights included:
“Soft drinks are free, adult beverages are $5, Prozac is $85.”
“If you are seated next to someone who needs assistance, such as a small child, a disabled person, or a Texas A&M grad, please help yourself first. And if you did bring a small child on this flight with you, WHY??”
“We have been cleared for takeoff. Please fasten your seatbelts, the pilot wants to try something new.”
He passed out peanuts, which he called “dinner.”
As we were taxiing to our gate, he said “Everyone wave to American so they can see what passengers look like.”

When I was 11 years old (1997), I was on a Continental Airlines flight from Washington DC (National) to Newark with my family including my grandparents. It was a very light late evening flight (only about nine people on board) and First Class was completely empty. After boarding was complete (took all of three minutes) and the door closed, the purser came on the PA and said:

“Once again, ladies and gentlemen welcome aboard. The flight deck has informed me that our flying time to Newark this evening will be one hour, five minutes. Additionally, since there are only nine passengers on this evening’s flight, the Captain has also upgraded everybody to First Class. So at this time I would like you to gather up all your belongings and relocate to the comfortable leather seat of your choice in rows one through three.”

This was a very nice touch on the part of the crew. It cost Continental absolutely nothing (alcohol was free in coach back then), and in return they got:

• An easier time doing the refreshment service (no cart since everybody was within three rows of the galley)
• Several very happy passengers (including my brother and I, who were stoked to be flying up front and my grandparents who were extremely grateful for the extra legroom)
• In the case of myself, a long-term loyal customer of the airline (at least until the merger with United.)

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

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.