It finally happened – one of my greatest traveling fears – I lost my wallet in a foreign country.
Maybe it was the sleep deprivation after more than 20 hours en route, maybe it was the chaos of wrestling with my squirmy 15-month-old, or maybe I’m just that absentminded, but I somehow managed to leave my wallet on the plane after a 14-hour flight from Washington Dulles to Beijing.
I realized it when we were at the baggage claim – far too late to turn around and go back to the gate. Before we left the airport, I contacted United’s baggage services, which had someone check around my seat on the plane for the wallet, without success. I also filed a claim with the airport’s lost and found. But I left the airport that day thinking it was gone forever. What a pain.
JetBlue Airbus A320. Image by Jeremy-Dwyer Lindgren
There are many stories out there about how experiences with airlines can be negative. Luckily that is not always the case and many times people can have a positive experience. Recently reader Russell Christensen had a positive experience with JetBlue and wanted to share. Here is his story in his own words:
Back in February I was traveling to Long Beach Airport (LGB) to attend my brother’s wedding via Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) on JetBlue. I was traveling with my wife, brother, and sister and we had a really early flight at 6:00am, but seeing how SLC is typically not the busiest airport I have been to, I figured that it would be ok to show up at 5:15am to check in and be to the gate right as we needed to board.
This idea was perpetuated by the fact that I had to drive from Idaho the night before and we didn’t get into Salt Lake till about 1:00am, so I wanted to sleep a little (which didn’t happen actually; I couldn’t fall asleep for the life of me). So, my wife, sister, and I drove to the airport and parked in the long term parking, thinking all was in order. We were making perfect time and were on track to get checked in and through security.
However, on the shuttle ride from the parking lot to the main terminal, my sister discovered that she had left her I.D. at the house we had spent the night at and a return drive that would take 30 minutes. Needless to say, if we returned for the I.D., we’d miss our flight. We decided that the best thing to do was to talk to the JetBlue ticketing agent to try and get booked on the next flight out (despite it throwing off our plans pretty severely) and hoping that we wouldn’t be charged a change fee.
Upon talking to the agent, she pleasantly told us that it was no big deal, that there are many people who forget their I.D. and that she thinks we should be able to get on the flight with no issue. Recognizing that we didn’t have a lot of time to get to the gate because we still had to deal with the TSA, she also made a note on our boarding passes that we could take the Business Priority Line through security. This made my day.
She proceeded to tell us that if we did miss the flight, to go back to her and she would simply book us on the next flight, no extra charge, yet another wonderful gesture on behalf of JetBlue. Her giving us access to the priority lane turned out to be a blessing because for 5:00am in SLC, the security line was enormous. I have flown out of SLC for years and have never seen security this long, ever.
My wife and I were able to get through security without an issue because we had our I.D.s, but my sister had to go through an intense screening where some office in D.C. was called and they asked her about personal info that only she would know (which is scary to know that the TSA has access to such private and intimate information).
Needless to say that we made it just in time to get to our gate and we made our flight to LGB. Were it not for such a flexible and hardworking ticketing agent who got us through the priority security line, we never would have made it in time. This reinforced my belief that when agents do their job–help passengers–the experience turns from nightmare to a wonderful experience.
Thank you JetBlue and SLC ticket agent from Feb. 16, 2012!
I have been sharing stories of airline love. Yes, we all know there are a lot of airline haters out there, so that is why I have started to share some of the happier stories. This one comes from John C who lives in the Seattle area and recently explained his short story via email. Here it is in his own words:
Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 in the snow.
A while back, I was taking a flight from Long Beach, California, to Seattle that fell on Christmas Eve. Coming into Seattle over the city on a clear night is one of the most beautiful sights around.
Before we made the final turn toward SeaTac, a woman flight attendant on this particular Alaska flight launched into a most beautiful rendition of “White Christmas.” This was the voice of a trained singer.
What a memorable experience…
Image: Daniel T Jones