You’ve been reading about airline passengers spitting at each other, cursing at each other, and being duct-taped to their seats for misbehavior in recent months.

After 9/11, air travel became a much more annoying experience, but COVID-19 has pushed that way over the annoying threshold all the way to downright stressful.

You almost never know what to expect when you board a flight these days.

That’s why with all of the news about how difficult flying is lately, I couldn’t wait to put a different spin on the story.

On a recent flight back from the Caribbean, I flew United Airlines, which I often do since it has so many flights out of Newark airport and that’s the airport closest to me.

Also, I’ve always found that United served my needs so well and I have literally never had a bad experience on a United flight.

Not wanting to break my good streak, I booked my flight back from Punta Cana on United. As usual, despite the tension in the air with the recent wildfire spread of Omicron, the entire flight crew remained pleasant and even-tempered.

Even when I saw them remind several passengers to pull up their masks, they did it gently and with compassion. After all, they probably don’t like the masks any more than we do. They took the time to make small talk with us and to show us that they were nice and approachable. And that means a lot, especially in times like these.

I fondly remember the thrill of being handed a pair of wings as I walked off a United flight when I was a little girl.

During the flight, I mentioned to one of the uber-professional flight attendants that I had a friend who worked for United. I asked if she knew my friend her and we chit-chatted about that for a moment. The flight passed very pleasantly and when we landed, I was absolutely shocked to have been handed a handwritten note.

Judi Franco photo
Judi Franco photo

It said the following:

Dear Judy, (Who cares about the misspelling, I don’t even remember telling them my name!)

Thank you for choosing to fly with us today. We hope your flight to PUJ [Punta Cana airport] was enjoyable. We enjoyed hearing about your flight attendant friend and I hope our service was just as pleasing as it was with your friend.

Your EWR crew,

(and four names signed)

Needless to say, I was stunned. On so many flights the flight crew acts like they are doing you a favor serving you.

On this flight, it was the opposite. They showed their gratitude for my having chosen them. And they clearly understood the meaning of customer service. It reminded me of the days when flying was a true luxury and all passengers were treated like valued customers.

I fondly remember the thrill of being handed a pair of wings as I walked off a United flight when I was a little girl. It’s not an overstatement in this day and age to say this note made me feel just as happy.

Having a calm, kind, customer service-oriented crew on an airplane today means so much.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco only.

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