American Airlines Baggage Handler Stops To Comfort Pets Being Loaded Onto A Plane

Sometimes when you travel you have to bring the family pet. You might be moving, or gone for a long time, or even evacuating ahead of a storm. There’s been a major crackdown on ’emotional support animals’ as a way to bring animals of all shapes and sizes onto planes, and that means many pet owners have to check their pets as cargo.

It’s a complex process. Not all routes or planes allow this. And there are too many stories of pets being misdirected and winding up in the wrong city (or country!), getting lose, or suffering during their journey.

One American Airlines employee out on the ramp stopped to comfort animals as they were being loaded onto an aircraft. It’s the little gestures when you think nobody is looking that make all the difference in the world.

According to the baggage handler’s wife,

[I]t was a black lab puppy in the bigger kennel and a cat in the other kennel. We have three labs and a cat so whenever he sees an animal come through he always tries to comfort them so they’re not so stressed out.

Once the employee was identified by name, American AAdvantage elite members on Facebook have been sending in ‘Above & Beyond’ certificates to honor this man’s great heart.

Over the summer I wrote about the flight attendant, also in Charlotte, who paid $1000 to replace the teeth of a woman who cleans bathrooms there. I love a great heartwarming story, all too rare in travel these days and not what you usually associate airlines. But there’s the flight attendant who helped feed a 100-plus year old passenger and the passengers who chipped in to collect money to help a flight attendant on her last flight before furlough during the pandemic. An Alaska Airlines employee even once personally bought a passenger a ticket after Delta stranded them.

(HT: Demetrius J.)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I would send this American Airlines employee an “above and beyond” certificate. But, unfortunately, platinum elites are still no longer worthy of receiving certificates even when our accounts accrue millions of AAdvantage miles every year through American Airlines partners.

    It is frustrating that American Airlines does not want to make it easy to recognize and reward their employees who go above and beyond with excellent customer service and support.

  2. it is Southwest that is stranding passengers left and right today – but I don’t think they allow checked animals so it’s just the humans that need comforting. Suppose AA has agents there to comfort them?

  3. I can’t believe Gary Leff actually wrote a positive article. Goodness gracious. I wonder if this was from some sort of reprimand for being negative 1000000% of the time.

  4. Does Leff realize this is a union worker? Since when does he care about blue collar people?

  5. @Ken À You can write to Customer Relations anytime to share compliments about employees and they are happily shared with management. Employees are then recognized with Nonstop Thanks which is the latest version of the Above and Beyond award.

  6. As a 787 Captain, we receive a “close-out” of our final weight and balance numbers so we set the computers to know what they already know in the 787….. all other aircraft set the “numbers” to what is given and not known to the aircraft. One of the entries is “L/A” (Live animals), always in bulk cargo where temperature is controlled. I always get not he PA system and say “to the folks who have Fido down in the Boeing Hilton …. they are on and safely resting below your feet so don’t worry about them”. As a pet lover myself … I would like to know they are taken care of as well and they are there safely waiting for me when I arrive.

  7. Good gosh! This has to be an error of Gary Leff’s part.

    An actual positive article? But trust Timm darling delta Dunn to have a problem with it and find fault.

    Had it been darling delta he would have written about six paragraphs espousing their virtues.

  8. @Customer Relations Rep: Thanks. I often wanted to reward AA employees for superb service but had no easy way to do this after American Airlines stopped providing annual certificates for employee excellence.

  9. I love this. Yes, I see it all the time too but rarely does anyone give kudos to them for raising the level of customer experience to thier smallest and maybe scarest of all customers. BRAVO! to AA ramp workers! Thank you from me and Fred, my Beagle!

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