This past Tuesday was the official start to my 2012 Mileage Run Season with travel from GRR-ORD-BWI-ORD-GRR. It was nice to finally see the ‘zeroes’ disappear from my “Year To Date” Miles summary. My campaign to 1K is now in full swing…..

Even though it was a minor run, nothing exciting or exotic, I did manage to have some terrific experiences with United Airlines staff along the way.

On my first leg, the 40 minute GRR-ORD piece, I struck up a great conversation with the Flight Attendant, David. It started out talking about where I was heading and after I explained that I had a same day turn to Baltimore and back the he said I was flying more that day than he was that day.

After explaining the ‘why’ behind flying more than him that day he completely ‘gets’ the insanity of sitting on an airplane for hours during the day, only to wind up where I started. He now fully understands the concept of a mileage run and how it helps keep frequent flyer program status up to date. He genuinely and sincerely thanked me for the business and for choosing to fly United.

As he started the extremely quick beverage service, he handed me a 1 liter bottle of water suggesting that I drink it before we land. He said from personal experience that I would need all the water I can get my hands on due to all the flight time I had scheduled. I felt guilty at first because everyone else behind me in the single cabin regional jet got a little cup of water or juice and here I was sitting with a full bottle. During the flight, I managed to polish off the whole bottle only to have David hand me another one to have for my next flight advising me to drink at least 2 more liters that day.

We continued to talk about the changes that the airline is going through as a result of the merger between United and Continental, and it was refreshing to hear his optimism. He went on to say that the transition isn’t without its stress, but he’s hoping that the new airline becomes what everyone is hoping for.

My next great experience was in Baltimore (and apologies to the Gate Agent at BWI, I forgot to glance at his name tag).

The trip was going great so far. In spite of weather scares in Chicago, the airport was punctual and I was able to get to Baltimore(BWI) a few minutes ahead of schedule. This was a good thing because I only had 40 minutes to make the connecting flight back to Chicago. Because everything was on time, I had the opportunity to try and get on an earlier flight from Chicago to Grand Rapids. So I went up to the Gate Agent in Baltimore and asked about what it would take for me to fly stand by on an earlier flight from Chicago to Grand Rapids. While he was busy at his computer looking at options, I was expecting him to say that I would have to check in Chicago, or there was a standy by fee or something else that would not make it easy to change. He would have none of that. While I was thinking of all the potential negative reasons he was going to give for not getting me on an earlier flight, his boarding pass printer came to life and spit out a new ducket.

He hands me the boarding pass, thanks me for being a Premier Executive, and says “here’s your new boarding pass, and I was able to already clear you for First Class on your flight home”. Wow I thought, wasn’t expecting that to be result!

Now granted, these examples of above and beyond actions probably occur everyday to many passengers. The only problem is that you never really hear about them. You only hear about the FA who was in a bad mood, or not polite, etc. etc.

As a society, we are conditioned to be negative and critical. Just look at the news. When was the last time that the news carried good news? It may for about 2 minutes during a human interest story, but thats it. We are so attuned to be critical and find fault, that we never stop and realize it when something good happens.

In my examples, the fact that David thought enough about a passenger to make sure he would have enough water to stay comfortable during his travels, meant a lot to me. He could have easily just dismissed me as a nut for flying just for the miles. But he got it, and helped me have a better experience because of it.

In Baltimore, the ease in which the gate agent helped me get home 3 hours earlier also left a great feeling with me. There are fantastic airline employees that actually enjoy helping people have a better day when they are flying their airline.

These 2 experiences just reinforce my loyalty as a United passenger. Even though Lufthansa is by far and away my favorite airline, I can’t fly them within the US, so I choose United. Does that make United the Lufthansa of the USA? 🙂

Anyway, I just wanted to share these 2 great experiences that go a long way in reinforcing my loyalty. I know that there is no such thing as a perfect airline, but for one day, on 4 flights, United was indeed a perfect airline.

I’d love to hear from you. Have you had any positive flight experiences that just made you stop and think “WOW, that was great service”?