American Airlines: A truly “American” company.

September 25, 2011

It was the second leg of a four legged trip from Joplin to the eastern side of the Cascade Mountains in Washington State. It was already four hours post alarm and it was only 8:00 am. It was going to be a long, long day.

But as I sat there watching my fellow sardines cramming into their assigned spaces on our pressurized flight tube I began to feel guilty for my whining, even if such was just to self.

For filing up and down down the aisle, quietly filtering about the cabin, were people, each and everyone, who had far, far more reasons to whine then I. These people, with all that must have been on their minds, carried themselves with the utmost dignity and humility. These people were polite, courteous, respectful, insert additional positive adjectives here ________________. These “people” the best of the best that this nation has to offer. They were men, women, young to middle-aged, and they all wore the gray camouflage that is now the uniform of the American Army.

It took all of two seconds for my petty inconveniences to be put in their place compared to the absolute incomprehensible that our military men and women endure each and every day.

It took all of another two seconds to send me digging for the pen and paper in my laptop bag. (Although the larger than average sardine that had been assigned next to me and the four square inches between my knees and the seat in front of me made the task much more difficult than it should have been) I did eventually return victorious and began to put said instruments of thought relay to good use.

I scribbled the note at the top of this post and with some extra effort finally made it around the larger than average sardine placed between myself and the flight attendant waiting patiently in the aisle. I nodded my head, gave a reassuring , “no this is not a hijacking” smile in response to her quizzical look, and sat back in my seat as she went to the rear of the plane to decipher my scribbling.

A few minutes later she returned and after some Olympic grade gymnastics to get around the larger than average sardine next to me succeeded in putting her reply into my hand. Needless to say, I was most pleasantly surprised at her reply in the image below:  

I declined the drink with a short shake of the head, mouthed a quiet “thank-you” and she went about her way.

But those words:

“It is AA’s policy to offer complimentary drinks/food to our military in uniform on every flight”.

stayed with me throughout the flight.

While there are plenty of negatives to offer up about airlines these days, here was at least one thing for the positive side of the ledger. And it was (at least for this sardine), a good thing that for the rest of the day and into that night, brought all my inconveniences down to their proper size of extra small.

American Airlines may have problems in other areas that I’m not aware of but for their policy towards our men and women in uniform they are truly an All-American company. (Something to keep in mind the next time you’re booking a flight.)

In prepping for this column I “Google d”, “what airlines offer complimentary meals for military flying in uniform?” and several variants and was unable to find any definitive information regarding other airlines and their policy towards meals/drinks for uniformed military on their planes. American may be the only one, it may be one of many, but for now it is the only one known. If you know of others, please forward and I’ll gladly include them in updates to this post.

In the meantime if your itinerary takes you off American Airlines might I suggest you keep paper/pen at hand for your own note.

And if you simply cannot afford anything right now remember there is always one thing that still means so much to our men and women in uniform and it won’t cost you a dime:

Walk up, look them in the eye, and extend your hand with a “Thank you for your service”.

4 Responses to American Airlines: A truly “American” company.

  1. anson burlingame on September 25, 2011 at 12:20 pm


    Well said, well written, a great idea for all to consider that travel and a big thank you to American Airlines. When I first read the flight attendants note I wondered what AA was doing buying drinks for everyone. But I got it, titanium head and all!!

    I traveled frequently in my final professional years and often ate alone in the evening. Sometimes I was in small cities like Idaho Falls and would see young couples with maybe one or two kids eating in the same restaurant. Occassionally, if it seemed that they might be living on a “string” I would anonymously pay for their check and always left the restaurant before they realized what had happend. It might cost me $50 bucks or so, but I was making pretty big bucks at the time so it was really no sweat.

    But the return for such acts gave me a sense of doing the “next right thing” and refusing any credit for doing so (except maybe from the waiter to whom I gave the money).

    I believe those acts of charity happen more often than many realize. And for tightwads that never consider such charity, they know not what they themselves are missing.

    Now if we can work on our politicians to take such actions from time to time, well just imagine!!!

    But I also wonder how many sardines on your flight resented the fact that THEY did not get free booze!!! Why it’s just not RIGHT that I paid MY ticket money and don’t get…..!!!! Damn Will Nots are all around us as well as the “good guys and gals”. But that is freedom and I am glad there is not a law to pay for someone else’s drinks or food, anywhere, except if they are…….? Opps, we do have such laws, don’t we?


  2. A Nonny Moose on September 25, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    Good on ya, Geoff! I won’t tell my own “paid for an active serviceman” story here, because to do so in a reply seems self-serving and far too “hey look at me too!”-ish. I’m happy to know American does that. I only fly American or Southwest, and as of this moment, I see no reason to change that. Bravo to you, to American Airlines, and especially to the brave men and women who serve in our armed forces so the rest of us can enjoy our freedoms.

    • Geoff Caldwell on September 26, 2011 at 6:51 am

      To both, I certainly hope you didn’t take the post as me touting my horn. Couldn’t be farther, only trying to get the word out about American and how insignificant our own problems when you put it in the perspective of what our men and women in uniform go through each and every day.
      Never thought about the resentment of others but I’m sure there were some. Always someone looking for something these days isn’t there.
      To both again,
      Did either of you see DwainBwain’s dribble in the Globe yesterday? I was able to at least tolerate it until the ending where he actually had the nerve to repeat the lie that Social Security is “just fine” for many years to come. After all it’s backed by “government securities” don’t ya know! lol
      I don’t know which is worse, the fact that people actually believe that crap, or that the media (in this case, The Globe) allows it to be perpetuated without fact check disclaimer.
      Between having to pay for all the programs the DB’s and the libs have mandated, and combating the out and out lies they tell, there’s not much time left for what they all want US to give THEM: a decent life and time for family and friends.
      Off to the grind, thanks for commenting and spread the word on American. Such companies should be rewarded.

  3. A Nonny Moose on September 27, 2011 at 8:50 am

    No worries, Geoff. I didn’t read your post as tooting your own horn. I only meant that had I posted a “me too” reply, I would have been guilty of such.

    And I mentioned that other blogger’s dishonest column in a reply on Anson’s blog (to the entry titled “Sickening”, I believe).


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