Sunday, January 02, 2005

A Letter of Thanks

Dear American Airlines and America West,

I and my boyfriend recently travelled with your illustrious airlines over the Christmas holiday. I am writing today to thank you for the experience. Had we travelled with any other airlines, we might not have had the opportunity to:

Show Off An Immaculate Fashion Sense
Don't be surprised if the inhabitants of one small Mexican island start shedding their flip flops and ordering Uggs. Thanks to your airline's failure to produce my luggage upon my arrival in Cancun, I had the chance to strut my stuff on the beaches of Isla Mujeres clad in black corduroy pants and knee-high black boots, a look the locals were clearly impressed by, judging from the nudges, whispers and glances of the impressionable teenage population. Bathing suits? Shorts? Such a Carribean cliche.

Strengthen My Birth Control Regimen
Never again will I forget to swallow that teeny little estrogen cocktail before bed. Your policy of seating unwed twentysomethings in the midst of screaming toddlers, teething infants, and exhausted parents is so thoughtful and inventive. We especially appreciated the efforts you went to to delay each of the four flights we booked with you from Cancun to New Mexico, and to ensure that only the children with the healthiest lungs were permitted to remain by us in the departure area.

Learn the True Meaning of Christmas
Christmas isn't about material items, is it, American Airlines? It's not about the presents you painstakingly picked out and carried across the continent to deliver to your loving boyfriend and his sweet and generous family, or your winter jacket, socks, toothbrush, cell phone charger or any other of those useless possesions you packed in your suitcase, is it? It's easy to understand that this is the lesson you were trying to impart when you lost our luggage again on our way from Mexico to New Mexico. To lose our luggage twice must have been a real feat - you really went all out on our behalf. But, indeed we have been schooled: who cares if you have to wear the same underwear for two days in a row, and then turn them inside out for a third - it's Christmas!

Help Those in Need
I feel so much better knowing that a representative of the Transportation Security Administration is now in possesion of the Shostakovich box set and the three other CDs I originally purchased as a birthday gift for my boyfriend. Really, Mark was born on Christmas day - what more of a gift could you ask for? There's certainly no need to try to make his birthday seem significant next to Jesus' with something as piddling as a birthday present. Much better to pass the gift on to a needy baggage inspector during the days that my luggage is missing. Thank you for orchestrating this.

Experience Las Vegas
After four hours in the El Paso airport, we were somewhat reluctant to begin our journey home to New York City via Las Vegas, so it was with great delight that we flew all the way to Vegas, were unable to land (you did such a great job communicating with the Vegas air control - thank you), changed paths and flew to Pheonix to refuel, took an hour's breather on the runway, then returned to Vegas, where, to our happiness we discovered we would have the opportunity to take advantage of Vegas style hospitality with an overnight stay in the airport. And really, what facilities! How considerate to place slot machines in the departure area so that the weary traveller does not even have to exit the airport to hear that ringing and clanging din so characteristic of Vegas revelry. And the volume was perfectly pitched so that we would never doze off and miss any of the fun during those short nine hours between flights. We especially liked that called out "Wheel of Fortune!!!!!!" every 3 minutes for it reminded us to be thankful for our excellent travel luck. We were also glad to be able to shake off the chokehold of nutritious eating and to dine soley on popcorn, peanuts, animal crackers and oreos for 24 hours.

Freshen our Luggage
Any experienced traveler knows that clothes left in a suitcase can sometimes emerge seeming a little stale. While we attempted to avoid this by washing all our clothing just before our return home, no doubt our things would not have been quite as fresh had you not seen fit to give them another rinse. I can only assume you had the great sense to take advantage of the weather and to leave our luggage in the rain for several hours. We followed up your au natural rinse cycle by removing every single article of clothing, as well as some other items such as the original painting we received as a gift, and placing them all over our apartment to dry overnight. This lent a festive atmosphere to our home and helped ease the sadness we felt knowing that our travelling days with American Airlines and America West had come to an end.

In summary, your attention to detail, your superior customer service and your honesty were truly incomparable. As a very small token of my appreciation, on my next flight with American Airlines I plan to buy the headsets you so generously offer for sale for both myself and my boyfriend. And on America West, I pledge to purchase one of the delectable lunch options you sell from your wheelable inflight cafe. I hope that the money will contribute to a spectacular travel experience for two more lucky customers.

Yours Sincerely,