Herewith begins a little feature in which I talk about what's still great in America.
Let's start with American Airlines. Your humble servant, moi, travels constantly. Airplanes are my true homes, and airports, too. I fly on all different airlines, and believe me, pals, they are not all the same. Some treat the passenger like a human being, some like an inanimate commodity.
I am endlessly amazed that American Airlines, despite the crises in the economy, despite the disastrous challenges of fuel costs recently, still behaves as if each passenger had dignity and some worth of personality. There is still some pleasure in flying at American Airlines. It isn't that the planes are particularly different, because they are not. It isn't that the airport waiting areas are much different, because, again, they aren't either.
But the people of American Airlines are better to us passengers than the people at other airlines. They greet us as individuals, not as cattle. They show some concern if we have a close connection or a canceled flight (which is rare in the extreme). They know travel is not glamorous and that we do it to make a living. And they genuinely seek to get us to our gates on time, to ask about our families, to ask about our work, and to share their own lives with us.
In a world which has become terrifying, in a world in which people go to bed scared about their future and take it out on those around them by ignoring them, the people of American Airlines still care about each traveler. American Airlines is all over the nation and wherever I am, I feel as if I am in the small, friendly town of American Airlines when I am at their gates or on their aircraft. They smile; they help; they care.
They are doing something right. In an age in which little seems to be going right, my traveler's hat is off to American Airlines.