Flying The Friendly Skies Friday: No Tears Over Spilled Oil; Kindness Rears Its Lovely Head

In an attempt to make Fridays even more of a delightful day, we’ve been asking you, our dear readers, for stories that made you smile while soaring through the air. Flying The Friendly Skies Friday celebrates all that is right and good in the world of customer service, and this week’s edition is no different. Keep those stories coming, and we’ll keep spreading the happy vibes.

While traveling home from Reno, Nev. to Albuquerque, N.M. on American earlier this month, I was horrified to find my checked-in bag covered with big splotches of oil when it came up the baggage shoot at the airport.

I carefully picked it up (the handles were affected as well) and took it to the nearby American Airlines baggage office. The woman behind the counter was friendly and (as she should have been) incredibly embarrassed by the damage done to my duffel bag. She immediately filled out the required paperwork and took a picture of the bag. No fuss or hassle…

I took the bag with me as I didn’t have another way of getting my things home, but brought it back later that week so it could be processed and sent off for replacement or repair. The woman who helped me this time was equally as friendly and professional as the woman who initially filled out my paperwork. I was told the usual 4-6 weeks and I might hear something, but lo and behold, barely two weeks later, my bag showed up at the house clean, and good as new.

I know that American Airlines is oft maligned for its supposed lack of service quality. However, I have to say the prompt and courteous treatment I received regarding my baggage will keep me as one of their customers.

I was living in Japan, where American toiletries are very hard, if not impossible to get. I’d visited the states in 2006 or so after the liquid restrictions started. Silly me, I didn’t know toothpaste counted, and I had two tubes in a carry-on bag, which would get me through the next few months. Security was going to take them, but I thought I’d race back to the counter and see if my checked bags were still there, as it was a small airport.

I went to the lovely woman at the Continental desk, who listened to my sob story. My bags had already taken a ride on the conveyor belt, but she said, “You know, we aren’t really busy, I might be able to run downstairs and find your bags before they get loaded on the plane, but I can’t promise anything.”

I flew to Tokyo, got home, unpacked my bags, and sure enough, in a little side pocket, were my two tubes of toothpaste. I always wished I’d gotten her name, because I never got to say thank you.

Several years ago my father’s illness took a turn for the worse. As I packing to leave Los Angeles to visit him in Boston, I got the news that he passed. Needless to say, I was not in the best frame of mind as I boarded my overnight flight, which had a stopover in Pittsburgh the following morning.

After a difficult and sleepless night, I deplaned to catch my US Airways connection in Pittsburgh. As the passengers from the full flight filed to the terminal, there was an announcement that the Pittsburgh to Boston flight had been cancelled. I found myself at the end of a very long line at the US Airways desk, surrounded by loud, angry commuters. It was chaos. A U.S. Airways rep happened to walk by and I grabbed her arm, whispering that I had a special case, that I needed to get to Boston asap due to a family tragedy.

This woman was amazing. She hustled me to the desk, got on the phone, got me a flight that was departing in 20 minutes. I told her my luggage was checked and presumably still on the LAX-PIT plane. She called through to a ground crew member who literally crawled over the suitcases in the hold, looking for my specific suitcase, as she guided him on the phone.

They got my suitcase on the newly-booked flight and I made it to Boston sooner than I would have made it before.

I was not in a state to remember to ask for this U.S .Airways representative’s name, but I will never, ever forget her kindness and efficiency during a time when I needed it most.

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