Airlines usually make headlines for one of two reasons, they’ve either done something good, or they’ve been really, really naughty. Due to some well-publicized incidents of spectacularly poor customer service over the past couple of years, United doesn’t exactly instill a sense of welcoming warmth in people’s hearts. Even though Rebecca Kuchar Krutz is usually a loyal Delta customer, she recently found herself sitting a United Airlines first-class seat.
When the airline’s CEO, Oscar Munoz, boarded the plane and immediately took his seat in first class, other passengers may have assumed that it was “typical” for the top dog to get a free ride in the plane’s VIP section. Rebecca kept an open mind, until she spotted a passenger unsuccessfully try to edge past the CEO. That’s when she realized just how far the airline would go to prevent a frail, elderly woman from taking her rightful seat.
With all the recent bad press United Airlines has received, it used to be that no news was good news. But, now Rebecca has some news to share, and it’s about as awesome as it can get! On her Facebook page, she said:
“I’m a pretty loyal Delta Airlines customer. But tonight I was on a flight w the CEO of United. I was a bit surprised seeing him walk back into the economy section of the plane to take his seat. Seated in front of me on the plane was an elderly lady in her 80’s (maybe even early 90’s). She didn’t appear to be in great health and had a bit of a hard time with her speech. Prior to boarding, I’d seen Oscar (the CEO) make his way out of a crowd of people in order to go over and speak w her.”
Rebecca thought it was super sweet of Oscar to take the time to say hello to the elderly woman, especially when there was a throng of people desperately trying to get his attention and speak with him. Even more impressive was the fact that he insisted the woman take his reserved seat in first class!
After the plane landed, Rebecca overhead the grateful woman tell the man who was sitting next to her how it had been quite a while since she’d flown in an airplane. She was very nervous, and couldn’t believe that Oscar was kind enough to give up his cushy first class seat for her! Rebecca was super impressed with the gesture, too.
“That, ladies and gentleman, is how it should be done. Treat our elders with the respect and care they deserve. I may very well be a lifelong United customer after witnessing that act of selflessness by a man who likely has his own private plane, and yet was humble enough to give up his seat to an elderly lady he’d never met before, because he thought she’d be more comfortable there. United??”
She ended her post by cheekily asking everyone, “United??” But, Oscar himself sees United as more than just another airline, and the elderly woman was more than just another passenger – she was almost like his nana!
Oscar was raised in a household where he was taught to treat the elderly with the utmost of respect. He told the Houston Chronicle:
“I was brought up in a house where we were taught to respect our elders. I have a grandmother in her 90’s and if she walks into a room where family is seated, we rise and offer her the most comfortable seat. We do this out of love and respect as she is the matriarch of our family and we feel she deserves to be treated this way. You did this exact thing; only for a woman you’d never met before, and likely will never cross paths with again. Thank you for extending such kindness and respect to an elderly passenger. While it may have been a small gesture for you, I can assure you it meant a great deal to her, and though I don’t know her, it meant a great deal to me as well.”
He went on to say that if even half the people on this planet behaved in such a way, then the world would be a much better place. With CEO’s like him in charge of making passengers feel good, he even makes the vast blue skies above a much friendlier place, too.