I wanted to congratulate American Airlines for hiring and training such an awesome flight crew on both AA flight 4772 Merida to Miami and flight 2039 Miami to Orlando.
Both of our American Airlines flights on 11/9 could have sucked if the company gave any less obvious attention to the type of flight crew employee the company hires, and how they are trained.
Seriously, when we left Merida to go to Miami we were the last people to board the flight even though we arrived at the airport 2.5 hours early. That's because my 6 month old daughter was flying for the first time-- dual U.S. & Mexican citizen, born in Mexico to American parents -- and was held in customs for lack of an "entry stamp" in her passport. Explaining for 60 minutes that a baby born in Mexico wouldn't have a passport entry stamp to Mexico, and then being forced to pay for a Mexican tourist card we didn't need might have ruined our day.
But the two American Airlines ladies taking care of us on the flight instantly made us laugh, competently and quickly explained the safety procedures for our area of the plane, complimented our baby's behavior, offered water for our service dog, and even provided Mom a much-appreciated blanket without our having asked. Needless to say, we were soon laughing ourselves over the absurdity of what up-to-then had actually been an anxiety-filled day with the customs issues.
Fast forward to Miami and an expected 4 hour layover that paused unexpectedly and turned into well more than 6 hours before wheels-up to go to Orlando...and again, our day could have been less than stellar.
Yet through a situation that involved deplaning after boarding (because of the van that hit the plane!) and multiple gate changes plus uncertainty of whether American Airlines could supply another plane for the same day or not...the AA flight crew again shone. We were provided snacks and drinks for everyone on the flight as we waited. Even with the free snacks and drinks, the group of travelers that reboarded the second plane were pretty irritated and some openly angry. Of course, many may have been like us and come from abroad what with the zoo of Miami un-check-and-re-checking of bags plus customs...so that plays a factor on people's moods.
However, when we reboarded the next plane, the whole AA crew was superb and supportive. One flight crew member (Steven/Stephen) really stands out in my memory. He was every inch the Marine Corps retiree: striding with purpose after any small request from a customer, offering assistance with bags, directing traffic without being overbearing, and making tired and irritated travelers laugh...plus explaining to anyone who would listen that he hoped the listener would judge American Airlines based on their overcoming of the obstacle and not the obstacle itself (which, rightly said, could have happened to any airline).
It is my opinion that this talented and caring gentleman and the rest of the staff together turned an entire planeload of irritated -- some genuinely upset to angry -- customers around before takeoff and with service and humor and honesty shaped them into a group that actually clapped in applause when the plane was given permission to close the doors.
I won't be booking our next flight where American Airlines is a possible option based on a price-only comparison with competing carrier options. The company has certainly earned first right to get our business for a while with a great experience even amidst the bad.
Thanks from the team at CubicZirconia.com for making our travel day better, American Airlines!