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Top Seven Airline Customer Service Moments of 2013

Delta Mechanic Gets a Passenger to the Hospital On Time

In September, Al Arendsee, a Minneapolis-based Delta (DAL) mechanic, was on an Airbus A319 headed from Buffalo to Minneapolis when the flight returned to the gate. The problem was an "engine start valve-not closed message." Arendsee worked with the flight crew and his colleagues in the operations center to clear the message so the flight could continue to its destination.

When Arendsee returned to his seat, a passenger with tear-filled eyes thanked him. She said she was headed to the hospital for a lung transplant and had to make a tight connection in Minneapolis. "No problem," Arendsee responded. "I was just doing my job and was glad I could help."

United Crew Spoils Little Girl Headed for New Home

In October, after her mom died, a six-year-old girl, a first grader, was flying from Chicago to the Washington area to live with her dad. By the time she boarded flight 1103 to Dulles, an O'Hare customer service representative had learned her story.

Capt. Brian Applegate and First Officer Joe Williams, both dads, invited the girl to join them in the Boeing 757 cabin before take-off. "It was very emotional for all of us," said Applegate, according to an employee publication. "She was very quiet when she came and sat down. It took a lot of effort, but we got her laughing. We kept her up there until the last possible minute. She just loved it."

When a United first class customer overhead the crew discussing the situation, he gave the little girl his seat and went to sit in coach. Applegate publicly thanked him over the aircraft PA.

The Dulles based cabin crew looked after the little girl, who spent most of the two-hour flight watching a Scooby Doo movie. At the end of the flight, several crew members, including the captain and the first officer, walked the girl off the airplane, all the way to her waiting father.

"She held on to our hands really tight walking down the jet bridge," Applegate said. "It was just one of those beautiful experiences."

Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.

To contact this writer,
click here.

Follow @tedreednc


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