Id like to bring to your attention the exemplary service provided by two of your employees.
I flew from Chicago to Denver on Monday, March 9. During my return flight the next day, I realized I had left my iPod in the seat pocket in front of me on the outbound flight. I somewhat sheepishly asked Valerie Garland, one of the flight attendants on my Denver-to-Chicago flight, what I might do to track it down. Valerie warned me that the chances of recovering the item were slim, but she took down my name, phone number, outbound flight number, and outbound seat number and said she would try. I was impressed that Valerie didnt simply refer me to the Lost and Found department, but I held out little hope that she would be able to help.
The next morning, I returned to OHare for a flight to Philadelphia. Imagine my surprise when the gate agent paged me to the podium and handed me my iPod. The story of its recovery is remarkable: On our arrival at OHare from Denver, Valerie had gone to the trouble of finding the tail number of the aircraft on which I had lost the item. She then traced the travel of the aircraft during the 24 hours since it had left Denver (DEN-ORD-PHX-ORD-BOS-ORD). On realizing that the aircraft would not be landing at OHare from Boston that night until after she had departed on her next leg, Valerie spoke to Aine Faherty, a Chicago gate agent, and asked her to find the aircraft when it arrived and look in the seat pocket in front of seat 5B for my iPod.
The Boston flight was apparently delayed beyond the time Aines shift ended at OHare. Aine stayed anyway, found the Boston flight when it arrived, went on the plane herself, and found that my iPod was still in the very same place I had left it.
Aine then looked up my customer record, found that I would be on another American flight the next morning, found the gate from which it would be departing, and left my iPod at that gate, wrapped in a note asking the gate agent to return it to me.
My iPod is a small item, and Im sure that I will soon lose it again, or break it, or burn it out. Long after its gone, however, Ill remember the dedication to customer service your airline demonstrates through people like Valerie and Aine. And thats the reason Ill still be flying American.
A VALUABLE SERVICE
I read the letter about dyslexia in the March 1 issue of American Way. Ive been a reader for more than 10 years at the Miami Chapter of Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic. The books we read are textbooks for children and adults who need them from about sixth grade through graduate school. There are many students who benefit from those of us who do this reading, and I have met a parent whose child is dyslexic and used our service.
I, too, benefit from this volunteer work, as it is a challenge to read and describe everything that appears on a page, from words to maps, graphs, and illustrations. I do know that other cities have this program, and I hope that others have been able to take advantage of this service.
In 33 years, American Airlines has never lost our luggage. I wish I could say the same about other carriers, but unfortunately, that is not the case. Why have I hesitated all these years to pay homage to the baggage handlers? Who knows? Perhaps I thought our luck would run out if I did. At last it has dawned on me: It is not luck, because your employees are real professionals who take a great deal of pride in their jobs. As two frequent fliers who collectively amass 250,000 annually, receiving luggage at the distant end is an unparalleled joy. Many thanks to all your crew on the tarmac all over the world who are so adept at what they do. I wish I could give each one a hug.