It hardly bears repeating that flying commercial these days can feel like exquisite torture. Indignities range from horrendous passenger behavior — like people who throw their trash in the aisle, fly completely pantsless, or even casually dry their underthings from the air vent — to airline customer service so dubious it goes viral. But it's not always like that. Consider these acts of airline kindness from this week alone, that demonstrate just how much such gestures can matter to a flying public that craves a bit of relief and a personal touch — but has generally come to expect nothing.
1. JetBlue's free flights for victims
In the face of senseless tragedy, JetBlue offered a gesture that could ease some of the logistical and financial, if not emotional, burdens on the victims of the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida. The airline said it was "honored" to offer free flights to family members of shooting victims to Fort Lauderdale so that they could be together. The airline is also providing access to ground free transportation by way of a partnership with Lyft. "We're deeply saddened... and our hearts go out to the victims and their loved ones," according to a JetBlue statement.
2. United's epic lost-and-found effort
When Brit + Co founder Brit Morin lost her engagement ring en route, United went way above and beyond to return the special item. She wrote: "I lost my wedding/engagement rings last week somewhere between New York and Jackson Hole. A @United gate agent found it, put it in a safe, and then gave it to a pilot to HAND DELIVER it back to me in SF. I have a newfound faith in humanity and airlines Thanks United."
3. Southwest's birthday surprise
Southwest wowed this author this weekend with but a sweet, small gesture: While traveling with my husband between Los Angeles and Las Vegas on his birthday, the airline marked the day with an unprompted birthday song. Registering the special day contained within his traveler profile information, the gate agent got on the mic in the check-in area at LAX to lead the assembled passengers in a rousing "happy birthday" chorus — in an incredible singing voice to boot! It was a complete surprise — and a kick to experience personalized, friendly service in an era of air travel no longer known for anything like it.
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