Special to Airfarewatchdog.com

Airline employees deal with a lot of flack from irritated, tired travelers. And travelers deal with a lot from grumpy, underpaid employees. But, there is this blissful place in the middle where travelers and airline employees can coexist happily. It’s like the chicken and the egg, which comes first. It is something I experienced first-hand when I spent a day working undercover as an airline gate agent. I realized that when you treat passengers with respect, they respond in kind. Often, weather, mechanical difficulties and other irregularities can throw a wrench into everyone’s plans and disrupt peoples’ happy moods, but for the most part, people just want to go about their day without disruption. A smile is a traveler’s best friend.

While complacency has certainly crept into the airline industry in more than one place, there are still loads of friendly employees floating around the system with their own smiles and positive attitudes. This type of behavior should be reinforced and rewarded. Travelers are quick to take pen to paper (well, fingers to keyboard) and complain about a poor airline experience, whether it is directly to an airline or the FAA. But few travelers take the time to commend employees who show exemplary service and caring. Chalk it up to good old human nature where we love to complain. Some airlines like Delta and US Airways do try and make it easy for frequent travelers to reward employees for excellence with special certificates. 

The funny thing is that airline employees are becoming immune to the I'm-going-to-write-a-letter-about-you statement as it is so commonly used as a threat. What they don’t hear is, I'm-going-to-write-a-letter-to-say-what-a-good-job-you're-doing. And many of them deserve to hear a word of praise. If you have had a positive experience with an airline employee, take five minutes out of your day to visit one of the links below and share your experience. The airline employee will probably be recognized (yes, most of the time, the accolades do make their way down the food chain to the actual employee). Typical benefits include early time off or even special recognition from supervisors.

Who knows! You may run into that same employee again sometime (especially if they are at your home airport), and they will be so appreciative that you helped them. In fact, they will be even more inclined to help you in the future.

Alaska Airlines

American Airlines

Continental Airlines

Delta Airlines

Southwest Airlines

United Airlines

US Airways

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