In recent times, the news has been filled with stories for of how airlines are manhandling passengers. While customer service appears to have taken a hit, it’s important to remember the many instances when airlines and their staff went out of their way to be compassionate, helpful, and understanding.
Here are 11 instances that elaborate on this theme:
1. Etihad Airways turned around the plane for an elderly couple
An Etihad flight was taxiing on the runway when an elderly couple on board got a message from home informing them of their grandson being in intensive care. The couple apprised the crew of their situation, who told the pilots. The latter, without further ado, turned the plane back to the boarding gate. The airline staff also arranged for the couple’s luggage and a car so that they could leave the airport at the earliest. Their grandson, sadly, passed away the following day but Etihad’s act of kindness helped the grieving grandparents meet their grandson one last time.
2. WestJet flight attendant calmed a crying baby on flight
A screaming child on a flight is frowned upon by most passengers – they would rather not have any kid onboard. So, when a four-month-old was woken by the pilot’s announcement on the intercom, all hell broke loose. The parents tried their best to rock their baby to sleep amid angry glares from co-passengers but to no avail. It was then flight attendant Ashley offered to walk the baby up and down the aisle, which miraculously worked. The parents thanked Ashley and the airlines for the lovely gesture in a heartfelt Facebook post that went viral.
3. Finnair pilot helped a mother feed her baby mid-flight
It’s anyway hard for parents to fly with babies but a mother flying solo with four children is a daunting task. In an Instagram post, flight attendant Ami Niemela wrote, “Naturally one cannot travel with two babies on one’s lap, so we had to solve the dilemma of the missing lap, otherwise it would have been a no-go for mum and the kids. Luckily we had our positioning crew on board and wonderful Tom took the task of being the extra-lap.” Captain Tom Nystrom, being a father himself, understood the mother’s plight and offered to help feed one of her infant sons.
4. Delta Airlines staff ordered takeaway for five planes full of stranded passengers
Delta Airlines had to cancel 3,000 flights due to the severe thunderstorms, but they decided to treat their passengers to delicious food. In an effort to ease their frustration, the Atlanta-based airline ordered over 450 boxes of pepperoni pizza for hundreds of stranded passengers at airports in Georgia, Tennessee, Louisiana, Ohio, Kentucky and other states with delayed and cancelled flights that had been affected by the storms. While some stations also gave subs and chicken biscuits to passengers, others brought out games and colouring books for passengers with kids.
5. Alaska Airlines’ flight attendant rescued a teenage girl from being trafficked
When Sheila Frederick came across a “dishevelled” looking girl travelling with a well-dressed man aboard an Alaska Airlines flight, she knew something was amiss. Every time the girl tried talking to other passengers, the man would get defensive and stop her from doing so. Sheila then left a note for the girl in the plane’s toilet to which she responded “I need help”. The flight attendant informed pilots who were then able to communicate the message to police in San Francisco, and the man was arrested when the flight landed.
6. Delta Airlines pilot turned around the plane to pick a family who had missed their flight
The Short family were ninety minutes late to the airport when they rushed to catch a second flight after missing their first. They were going home to attend their father’s funeral whom they had lost to lung cancer. When they family arrived at the boarding gate, they were told that they were too late and the control tower wouldn’t allow the plane to turn around. The pilot then saw Mr. Short crying and waving at the plane. He rang the gate and decided to turn the plane around to pick the family up as the flight was the last one of the day. Thanks to the pilot, the Short family was able to say their goodbyes to their father.
7. British Airways documented Pooh the bear’s journey when a little boy lost his teddy
Due to the efforts of British Airways staff, a toddler was reunited with her favourite teddy, Pooh the Bear. Eight-month-old Woody Cranmer was devastated when he left his beloved teddy in Argentina. The teddy had been in the family for thirty years so in the hopes of finding him, Woody’s parents decided to share their story on social media. Within days after their post went viral, the BA staff located the missing teddy and took plenty of photos of Pooh, documenting his journey and travels. They compiled it all in a book to share with the Cranmers.
8. Thai Airways flight attendant fed elderly passenger on flight
A flight attendant was praised the world over after a photo of him feeding an elderly passenger on flight went viral. The photo was taken by a fellow passenger Thomas Lin. Flight attendant Chakkrit Ratanawethin’s kind gesture helping a differently-abled man won a lot of hearts around the world after he offered to help the passenger who was unable to feed himself after he was served with a meal of garlic chicken and rice.
9. Air Canada pilot diverted a passenger jet to save a pet dog’s life
After an Air Canada flight’s heating system failed in the cargo hold, the pilot decided to divert the packed passenger plane to save the life of a pet dog that was in the area. The pilot was alerted after a warning light flashed in the cabin telling him that the heater in the cargo hold was not functioning. The Boeing 787 Dreamliner was nearing to cross over the Atlantic when the system failed, which meant that the temperatures in the cargo hold could drop below freezing. The pilot’s decision would have cost the airlines additional dollars in fuel, but the seven-year-old French bulldog, Simba would not have survived the crossing over the ocean in freezing temperatures.
10. JetBlue flight attendant saved a baby from choking on medicine
On a JetBlue flight, a quick-thinking flight attendant rushed to the aid of parents who raised an alarm about their baby choking on its medicine. The attendant immediately took the infant, hitting it on the back until the infant started breathing normally again. The passengers broke into an applause, and the flight landed in Florida as scheduled.
11. Delta Airlines flight attendant helped a man navigate his very first airplane experience
Delta flight attendant, Michael Huerta, wrote a viral Facebook post about the best day on his job when he helped a man from Nigeria steer through his very first flight experience. The man had saved up for years to achieve his dream of going to the United States on vacation. His story touched Huerta and he wrote, “I’m moved to tears that I could be so lucky to meet this man. Of the thousands of passengers I’ve ever served, of the rich and famous, successful and powerful, frequent travelers and million milers, serving this one man—in coach—was the greatest honour I’ve had as a flight attendant.”
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