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Top Seven Airline Customer Service Moments of 2013



Southwest Employee Called 'Guardian Angel' By Mom

On a recent Southwest  (LUV) flight from Baltimore to Palm Beach International Airport, four-year-old Caelen was flying with his mom to his aunt's wedding, where he was going to be the ring bearer.

Caelen requires an oxygen machine and a lot of associated gear, and when the flight was cancelled the two sat down at the gate and his mom plugged in the machine to charge it. Chris Roth, a Southwest fuel operations senior inspector was seated across from them. Roth took an interest in the boy and began to chat with his mom. When Roth got up for coffee, he offered to get some for the mom, who declined. When he returned, "he presented my son Caelen with a die cast Southwest plane," mom wrote, in a letter to Southwest. "Caelen loved the gift and proceeded to show everyone around us his new toy plane."

Later, Roth helped the two passengers board. When the flight landed, he took Caelen to see the cockpit and meet the captain. Then he escorted the pair to baggage claim and provided another die cast airplane, along with a bus and catering truck.

"I can't say enough about your exception and kind employee Christopher Roth and the help that he gave to a single mom of a special needs child with a lot of gear," Caelen's mom wrote. "I would even go so far as to liken him to a guardian angel that day, because I wasn't sure how I was going to get through the day without help."

JetBlue Crew Offers a Hotel Room to a Stranded Mom

A JetBlue flight crew distinguished itself last month by helping out a distressed mom who was traveling with both her six-month-old baby and her wheelchair-bound, 85-year-old grandmother.

Flight 1146 took off Nov. 16 from Fort Lauderdale, headed for Richmond, Va.. The flight made it about halfway to Richmond, then returned to Fort Lauderdale because a thick fog made it impossible to land at Richmond or any intermediate airport. "I was in tears at this point, as it was 11 p.m.," the passenger wrote, in a letter to JetBlue. "The baby was getting fussy and I had sent my breast pump home with my parents and didn't have any of my grandmother's medicines."

About 1 a.m., the departure was rescheduled for 9 a.m. the next morning. No hotels were available and the airport was being cleared of passengers. To boost the stress, the passenger's cell phone died.

The flight crew found the trio sitting at the gate. The crew included pilots Matthew Vanderwel and Todd Dangel and flight attendants, Audrey Kerwick and Diderique (Dida) Konig. They had four rooms booked at a nearby hotel. They offered one of the rooms to the passengers, provided a ride to the hotel and got the passengers to the room.

"People do not do enough of this for each other anymore," the passenger wrote. "In the hustle and bustle of today's world, you don't hear enough about the kindness of strangers."

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