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TheStreet Open House

Top 5 Airline Service Moments of 2011

CHARLOTTE, N.C. MainStreet) -- As a heavy holiday travel period approaches, many people will approach the airport with dread.

The long security lines, crowded planes and potential weather delays can seem threatening. Add to that our country's anti-airline hysteria, heightened by media seeking distressed passengers to interview, and you may conclude that the best thing to do is stay home.

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But it is wise to remember that not only will thousands of airline employees be working through the holidays, including Christmas Eve and Christmas day, but that each day some airline employees go to extraordinary lengths to help passengers.

In fact, the kindnesses routinely displayed by airline employees are a little-known secret. Each week, airline internal communications writers churn out stories about the good deeds done by front-line employees. Unfortunately, these stories are generally read only by other airline employees.

We asked the four big network carriers to pick top service moments last year and found there was even a United (UAL) flight attendant who saved a passenger's life. Nothing quite so dramatic came up this year, although a US Airways (LCC) customer service agent did jump through hoops to help a passenger with dementia who was traveling alone to Israel.

Here are this year's five top service moments, selected by each of the airlines.

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