Flying on Christmas Day and a thank you card from United Airlines

I had flown on Christmas Day before, but never remembered it being as quiet as it was yesterday. Granted I was only taking one short flight from Reno to Los Angeles, and you can’t really call Reno a bustling airport to begin with, but it still seemed unusually empty. I obsess over checking my itineraries and seat assignments, as well as monitoring availability to gauge potential oversell opportunities, so with my flight oscillating from being zeroed out to only two or three seats open in the full-fare Y and B buckets, I was expecting a “normal” airport experience.

I was dropped off to a nearly empty curbside, walked right up to the check-in desk to reprint my boarding pass, and was the only person passing through security at that moment. One of the TSA agents monitoring the exit from the airside concourse mentioned to a co-worker how horribly boring his day was and how he hated just sitting in front of a clock that made a noise every so often. Only two flights were leaving from the C-concourse at that time; a US Airways flight to Phoenix and mine. Horizon Air had decorated their gate area for the holidays, so I took a quick picture of that and went for a seat in my gate area.

When it was time to board, the gate agent offered the usual early boarding to Global Services and 1Ks (no first class, as this was a CRJ-200). When I approached, he asked for my last name as I was walking up to him, and once provided, grabbed one of two cards sitting on the counter and handed it to me saying, “Happy Holidays, Mr. Booth, and here is a small token of our appreciation for your business.”  I sincerely thanked him while handing him one of the Ghirardelli chocolates I had brought to give to every employee I encountered on Christmas Day. The card came with a gingerbread cookie and read; “We are delighted to have you flying with us today! We truly appreciate your business and it is a pleasure to serve you! Happy Holidays from the Reno Team.

I truly appreciate the little things, and sent a thank you email this morning to United’s Airport Operations Supervisor there in Reno, whose business card was attached inside the card. The flight was uneventful, had at least six or seven seats open, and service was great. I landed in Los Angeles to an also quiet Terminal 8, and made it home in near record time.

As quick and quiet as it was yesterday for me, this upcoming week will likely be the opposite as I’m off to Europe for a few days. I’ve got a couple of posts queued up while I’m away, and should have a twitter update or two while I’m traveling. Look forward to a trip report and a couple of hotel reviews in January, and in the meantime, happy and safe travels this last week of 2010!

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