Great United pilots!

This past weekend I had an amazing cockpit crew on my way back from Chicago. As we boarded the captain had a long announcement, including an encouragement to listen along to the “relentless negotiations with air traffic control on Channel 9.” After takeoff the first officer made another welcome announcement, and she also mentioned Channel 9 being on.

Both of the pilots struck me as fantastic (customer service oriented) professionals, so I wrote a note to both of them which I asked the FA to give to them (she simply slid it under the door and called them, so not massively inconveniencing the crew). About 20 minutes later the purser comes to my seat and says “here’s a love note from the Captain, and he also wants to buy you a drink.” I rejected the drink because of my unlimited supply of drink chits (among other things), and read the note:

Hi Ben,

You are more than welcome. Thank you for your support of UAL. I’m hoping the Channel 9 “burp” with some captains will get better soon. I will always do what I can to enhance the passenger experience and enjoyment. Thanks again. Enjoy.

Captain ______

P.S. The copilot sez excuse above handwriting. It’s left handed…

As I got off the plane the captain was standing at the door, and I chuckled because he was wearing a baseball hat. No, not his pilot hat (since the pilot hat switch is off, but an actual cap. It cracked me up, and I thought it was a pretty funny way to make a point without pissing off other pilots. I thanked him again for the great flight, and he just said “don’t mention it.”

Suffice it to say I’ve found writing notes to the pilots to be a great hobby when bored on a flight, and it seems like they enjoy it as well. I’ve been lucky lately since my last six flights have had Channel 9 on, and it was even announced on five of those flights. I’ll assume it’s a good luck streak and doesn’t actually reflect a change in the perspective of the UAL captains.

For those pilots that don’t turn on Channel 9, I’ve found a new strategy. FlyerTalk member hobo13 posted the following:

Upon exiting, I’ve often considering thanking them for having Ch. 9 ON, even when in actuality it was OFF. Makes me wonder what that initial facial expression would be, as, for a split second, the captain considers the possibility that he forgot to turn it off. Or maybe he looks at the First Officer and says ‘hey, I thought I told you to turn that OFF!!!’

I’m definitely trying this on my next non-Channel 9 flight (which I’m hoping isn’t for a while).

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