It was a nice Tuesday morning a couple of weeks ago as I looked out at the wing and ground 36,000 feet below me, in route from Spokane to Denver for a speaking gig. About 30-minutes into the flight it became more than just routine, but something unique and memorable.

I heard the flight attendant grab the microphone and ask for a special guest named Ben who was celebrating his 18th birthday to come to the front for a special gift. As we all looked up a young man from the back of the plane began a slow walk down the aisle towards the front. As he finished walking, he stopped by the main cabin where the lead flight attendant presented him with a gift. As this was happening, the lead flight attendant spoke into the intercom and mentioned it was his 18th birthday. Applause soon followed. He then asked us to sing Happy Birthday on the count of three. After we sang, the plane burst into applause and Ben walked back to his seat.

With all the negative press and complaining people do about air travel, this was the exact opposite and cool to witness. Three things I loved about this act of appreciation from our Southwest Airlines crew was that it was;

  1. Fun
  2. Unique and memorable
  3. It got us all involved and changed the entire mood of the plane

It’s easy for people to point out the bad, especially when it comes to customer service. This to me was the exact opposite and was duly noted by everyone on board. While Southwest is known for legendary service and a fun atmosphere, I once again saw first-hand how they continue to make the flying experience different and memorable for their customers. Not only is this smart for repeat business, but it also creates a whole new group of raving fans such as our birthday boy Ben who will likely never forget how special the crew and passengers made him feel flying on his 18th birthday!

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