While I give American its fair share of negative coverage, I also like to share positive experiences. I had one this morning that was unlike anything I’ve had before on any airline, frankly, while flying from Charlotte to Tampa in first class.
American has some excellent flight attendants. When they’re great I tend to think it’s just because they’re happy and passionate people, rather than because there’s any culture in place at the airline that causes it. So I always appreciate those flight attendants who go above and beyond.
But I don’t think “above and beyond” begins to describe James, the flight attendant I had today. He was so over the top that I thought I was in an alternate reality.
What made James good
During boarding James greeted every single person with a big smile and an enthusiastic “good morning.”
Then every other person or so he’d compliment in one way or another. “I love your bag.” “I love that shirt.” “I love your hat.”
We had a delayed departure because boarding started late. So in order to make boarding go as quickly as possible James did pre-departure drinks after the door closed. At American it’s the exception rather than the norm to get pre-departure drinks of choice, and that’s even more the case on delayed flights. So this guy was a rockstar.
What left me speechless
This is where we get to the point where I was sort of in disbelief.
“Ladies and gentlemen in first class, can I have your attention, please.”
He said this while standing at the front of the cabin. I figured maybe James would let us know what the service was like on this flight, which some flight attendants do so they don’t have to repeat themselves 12 times. Nope.
“To our first class passengers, Executive Platinum, and Concierge Key members, I want to introduce myself. My names is James and I will be your lead flight attendant.
I want to thank you, because it was you guys who kept us alive after 9/11, and the frequency with which you give us your business is the reason over 122,000 of us have jobs.
From the chairman down to your Charlotte based crew, we are so grateful for you. I appreciate your business and I appreciate you being the best part of our airline. I’ll be waiting on you hand and foot throughout this 59min flight, and if there’s anything I can do, please tell me.”
I… I… I mean, what do you even say to that? I’ve had some flight attendants say “thanks for your business,” but nothing like this. And I’d note that this sounded so incredibly sincere. Like, you wouldn’t think a flight attendant at a US airline could say that they’re “waiting on you hand and foot” with a straight face, but James did it.
As we descended I just thanked James for being so awesome. He responded with “it costs nothing to be nice… nice is free.”
I said “that’s a fantastic attitude, I just wish more people had it.”
“There are a few of us out there, we just gotta team up,” he responded.
On the final approach James came around to each passenger to shake their hand. “Thank you for your business, it was a pleasure having you onboard today, and thank you for letting me serve you. I appreciate it.”
At the end of this flight just about everyone in the cabin looked at one another with the same thought — did that really all just happen?!
Suffice to say that while this was only an hour-long flight, he was busy the entire flight, and didn’t sit down once. I’ve never had so many water refills on such a short flight.
Has anyone else had the pleasure of flying with Charlotte-based James?