This could almost be another Thankful Thursday post. I just want to give credit where credit is due, to American Airlines. Tuesday afternoon I accompanied my parents and sister, JoEllen to the airport. Vacation was over and Jo was returning home. She flies twice a year in and out of Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. She has been doing this for 37 years now We all know how airline travel has changed since 9-11. Somehow along with that change came rudeness and being treated like we were idiots every time we approached the airline counter with Jo and asked for a pass to accompany her down to the concourse. Most of those times JoEllen’s ticket was with United. I understand that security issues change a lot of things but I would come home from those trips to the airport and just wonder where did common sense and kindness go?
It used to be only one of my parents could accompany Jo to the concourse. That was Mom. A Mom likes to know her children are settled and being left in good hands, doubly so when you have a special needs child! Dad and I would sit by the fountain and people watch. Over the years, health challenges changed things a bit. My Mom was not seeing so well and Dad was not walking so well. So I started going down. We would always ask at the United counter if all of us could go, and sometimes they said yes. But not very often. I wondered if there was not some paper work we could fill out to do a background check or a request made explaining that this was a mentally handicapped adult flying and couldn’t her elderly parents be allowed to accompany her to the plane and see her off? It wouldn’t be difficult to trace thirty plus years of activity. Honestly, the United people were not very helpful and seemed to not even listen to what we were saying.
This past summer JoEllen flew home on a ticket from American Airlines. What a refreshing change! They actually asked us if we all wanted to have a pass! They spoke directly Jo and even smiled! And at the gate, they gave us no issues about her need to be escorted onto the plane and help finding her seat. Tuesday, it was the same experience. The agent at the gate even changed Jo’s seat to be closer to the front where the attendants would see her. She told me she would like to have Jo board early so she could introduce Jo to the crew! At the time of early boarding she stepped over to the group lining up and said, “I’ll walk JoEllen down.” As we watched them walk away, the AA agent was talking to Jo who was smiling back! Do you know what that does for your heart? I know my Mom was blessed by the interaction! So Kudos to American Airlines! It’s nice to find that kindness, which we had been wondering about, still exists!