This week, my daughter and I went out of town overnight, but we were unable to secure airplane seats together. She is 12. Take offs and landing makes her a little nervous. The gate agent was unable to move us because the United flight was booked. The flight attendants said they would ask the person sitting next to her. He said yes, so I moved back to economy plus and he moved in to my first class seat. That’s right, people. I gave up a coveted first class seat to sit by my child. And please know that I don’t earn enough frequent flyer miles to even come close to any elite status. The stars simply aligned and it was easy for this trip.
My daughter watched from our front row economy plus seats how the first class passengers received their drinks in real glasses; were given hot lemon-scented towels to wash their hands before and after they ate, and finally a plated real breakfast. The realization that I gave up a comfortable experience to sit next to her set in. She asked me why. The answer is simple: because you are my child and you needed me.
But the United Airlines flight attendants who helped me facilitate the switch took care of us. After the first class passengers were fed, they asked if either of us would like a danish or croissant. Did they have to do that? No. Was it a big concession for giving up a first class seat? No. But, their small act of kindness reminded me that despite our propensity to be cynical about the human race, more people are kinder than we give them credit.
And the next time I have to fly, which airline will I choose? United.