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How I Got My Way

This isn't very exciting to someone who travels a lot, but it is to me: Over the Thanksgiving holiday of 1987 I was flying from Seattle, Washington to Huntsville, Alabama to visit friends. This is about the busiest flying holiday at Sea-Tac, and the weather had the airport closed down for a couple of days.

You can imagine what it was like: people sleeping on airport chairs and on the floor, tempers short and hot. Since I live here, it wasn't that inconvenient for me, and I was in no particular hurry, so when the airline desks commenced re-ticketing I stood patiently in line for hours and listened to the abuse heaped upon the poor ticket agents. When it was finally my turn, I smiled sweetly as I greeted the man behind the counter, handed him my ticket, and said I would appreciate anything he could do for me, I was willing to wait for a seat, though I'd have liked to travel today, it wasn't absolutely necessary.

He looked at me for a second or two, didn't say a word, worked diligently at his terminal for a few moments, handed me my new tickets, told me my seat was assigned and where the gate was, and to hurry, as the plane was to leave in a few minutes. I was traveling on Q-class tickets (pretty cheap fare). As I raced for the gate I was looking at my seat assignment and thought, "This is First Class! It can't be...it must be a single-class airplane."

Sure enough, the flight segment to Minneapolis-St. Paul was my first and only experience in the first class cabin. I don't know if it was because I was nice to the agent, or if this was the only seat available. I like to think it was that a little bit of pleasantness made a difference to one overworked and customer-abused ticket agent.




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