One thing American Airlines should be commended for is their treatment of U.S. soldiers. I truly debated if I should write about this or not. I don’t want it to look like I did it for anything other than what it was … the right thing to do. But I’m hoping that bringing attention to it just might inspire others to do the same. RELATED: Escorting a Fallen Soldier Home Turned an Ordinary Flight Into the Most Extraordinary Flight of My Life

This happened a while back but here’s the story, which I think is as relevant today as it was then: After getting on a particular flight, I had a bird’s eye view of boarding from seat 1E, a comfortable bulkhead seat on a 757 jet. I always look down into my travel journal once I get on early so I don’t feel the envious eyes of coach passengers. But I perked up when I heard the flight attendant welcome a soldier onboard. I looked up and sure enough, a fully decked-out army man was standing in the aisle.

RELATED: 48 Ways to Honor a Veteran For Their Service This Veteran’s Day

By the time I talked my conscience into giving up my seat, he was gone. I got up and asked the friendly flight attendant if it would be OK if I switched seats with the soldier, and she almost made me cry when she said, “Really? That is so nice of you, and you will make his day as he is headed to Afghanistan. He had a tear in his eye since he was just saying goodbye to his family.”

Giving up your first-class seat

Then all of a sudden, I became emotional, thinking, What if that was me not being able to see my loved ones for months and quite possibly ever again? I slowly waded through the plane, hoping he wasn’t in a middle seat in the way back, when I spotted him on his cell in 19D (an aisle seat). When I pointed to him he immediately got up, thinking I was headed to the window seat. I said, “You’ve been reassigned to 1E.” He said, “Sorry?” I looked him in the eye and said, “Thank you for serving our country.” The older man seated behind him said, “Are you giving him your first-class seat?” I didn’t want to bring attention to it so I just smiled and nodded, but the man kept saying, “That’s a beautiful thing.” The soldier, you could tell, was a well-mannered 20-something-year-old. He said to me, “Sir, you paid for that seat.” I said, “No, I didn’t, it just cost me a few upgrade certificates.” He extended his hand and looked at me like I was the nicest guy in the world, when in reality, I’m just one of the millions who had taken these brave men and women and their service for granted. Not anymore.

American Airlines Flight crew

The flight attendants made me feel like I was Gandhi as they kept offering me free drinks. Then, when another flight attendant found out that I was the guy who had given up his seat, she insisted on refunding the $6 I paid for the turkey and cheese croissant sandwich. I felt terrible because there was another soldier sitting across the aisle from me but I only had one seat to give. I quietly offered to buy him food, but the flight attendant said, “Oh no, we always give soldiers free food.” Now that’s commendable. On top of that, I heard one of the flight attendants, as she kneeled down next to him, say, “Thank you very much for serving our country and doing what you do.” When we landed, the crew made an announcement publicly thanking the soldiers on-board for their service and wishing them luck in Afghanistan and Iraq, and most of the people on the plane clapped.

Bravo, American Airlines.

How American Airlines Treats Our Military
Escorting a Fallen Soldier Home on My Delta Air Lines Flight Turned an Ordinary Flight Into the Most Extraordinary Flight of My Life

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71 Comments On "Travel Tip: Give Your Upgrade To A Soldier"
  1. Nomadic Matt|

    I also always do this. when I get the upgrade.

  2. Dan|

    A year ago I ‘traded’ seats prior to boarding, with a soldier LAS/LAX. He was a kid heading to a base in California. It wasn’t a big deal for me to give up my seat, but he certainly appreciated it. Many of us take first class for granted. I remember the first time I flew upfront, as will this soldier.

  3. Taylor|

    A very classy thing to do, on both your part and American’s part. I’ve always admired American for their treatment of soldiers. A first-class seat is hardly payment enough for their selfless work overseas, but it’s a start, and what goes around comes around. Kudos to you!

  4. Jeremy Branham|

    Thank you for doing this. I got goosebumps reading this. I am glad airlines like American do their part in honoring soldiers. I’ve seen this with other airlines as well. However, it’s nice to see a passenger honor a soldier as well.

    Happy Memorial Day to all who have served and sacrificed!

  5. Leah Travels|

    Bravo for your unselfishness. My hat’s off to you and American.

  6. Alastair McKenzie|

    No need to debate with yourself. YES, you so should have posted this!

    Just read Jeremy’s ‘goosebump’ comment, if you don’t believe me. (Hell, *I* got goosebumps and I’m not even American!)

  7. Gayle|

    A very classy thing to do – hope others will follow suit

  8. Alex|

    Well done sir. The goodness of the world is a collection of small gestures and actions by individuals such as yourself. I commend you for your actions and for posting this online. I only hope that your actions will encourage others to do the same.

    As you travel more and more, you begin to appreciate all of the things that you have. As an American, I am now MUCH more aware of how lucky and privileged I am to live in this country with all of its perks. Many of these perks are thanks to the brave men and women, such as the soldier you helped out, who put their lives on the line to defend our nation.

  9. Sheena Gunnels|

    This is an incredibly moving story and an awesome thing you did. Hopefully it will inspire more to do the same. Having not seen my fiance for 2 months (he’s about to graduate bootcamp) I can only imagine how much it meant to him to have you recognize the sacrifice he’s making, leaving his family and friends behind for months (or as you said, possibly forever). Cheers.

  10. maguasavage|

    Thank you for doing this. I am a solider myself, never had that happen to me, but I’ve heard stories. It is little things like this that let us know the public still supports us, they may not support what we do, but they support us still. Again, thank you, sir.

    1. Anonymous|


    2. Anonymous|

      Thank you for your service soldier; you can have my seat any time :)

  11. Kevin Fowler|

    Only a true American would do this. Sir you are a true American.

  12. Anonymous|

    I flew with American Airlines twice while I was in the Navy. The first time was when I was coming home from boot-camp. I showed my driver’s license at the gate and proceeded down the jetway to the plane. As I walked away the lady at the gate chased me down and asked me to return to the desk. I thought I was in some sort of trouble until she told me she had spotted my military ID as I was putting away my license and she wanted to offer me a seat in first-class. The other time it was a group of six of us coming home from Afghanistan. When we stopped for a layover, (I think in Baltimore), we were admitted to their special members club at the terminal and given free drinks and lunch. They took good care of us at American. Good people there. And very friendly.

    1. Anonymous|

      I remember one of my times coming back from Iraq. I was with 20 of my shipmates in an airport late at night with an 2 hour layover. So us being sailors we went to the bar of course. There was an older businessman sitting there also. Before we were able to order the businessman told the bar keep that the first round of what ever we wanted was on him.

  13. Anonymous|

    keep your seat

  14. Tisi|

    You do know we’ve been explicitly ordered not to fly first class in uniform..? We get in trouble for using our own frequent flyer miles to upgrade.

    1. J. M.|

      Ordered by who? I’ve flown to a lot of places in the last 10 and never heard of such thing.

      1. Amy|

        I haven’t either… especially since we don’t have the choice of not wearing ACUs back and forth to deployments. He’s just being a hater.

      2. Justin C|

        According to UCMJ code we are not authorized to travel first class while in uniform. Although we appreciate these gestures, it may give the wrong impression to other people (the government spending extra money flying us first class, etc).

        Most military turn a blind eye to this code though, per as in this case, the upgrade was “free”.

        1. AEM|

          Please cite this “code.”

          1. Alex Stron|

            AFI 36-2903 18 JULY 2011 11
            1.4.9. While in civilian attire. Do not mix or wear military unique uniform items with
            civilian clothes; for example, rank insignia, cap devices, badges, and other US or Air Force
            insignia, devices, buttons, etc. Exception: Tie tacks and lapel pens are authorized when
            wearing business attire.
            1.4.10. When wearing combinations of uniform items not specifically prescribed in this AFI.
            1.4.11. When uniform items do not meet Air Force specifications.
            1.4.12. When off base eating at restaurants where most diners wear business attire or at
            establishments that operate primarily to serve alcohol, do not wear utility uniforms such as
            ABUs, BDUs, etc., or the flight duty uniform.
            1.4.13. Air Force personnel may not wear their military uniforms when using frequent flyer
            miles to upgrade to business or first class. Thus, even when an upgrade to business or first
            class accommodations is legitimate, military personnel should avoid wearing the uniform to
            avoid the public perception of the misuse of government travel resources, which generates
            unnecessary complaints.

    2. Kevin|

      Im calling bullcity on this one. 10 years in service and I havent heard anything about this until I read your comment today.

    3. Hankidan(USAF)|

      pretty sure you’ve got your information wrong, never heard of anything like that at all. Unless you’re talking about flying on orders, when the gov. pays for you’re ticket, then you shouldn’t be flying first class, as you won’t get paid back for that extra expense, otherwise, you should be good to go.

    4. Kellee|

      My husband works for the Army IG…there is no rule against flying 1st class in uniform…only rule is that it can not be paid for by the government. It is fine for the airline to upgrade you or another passenger.

  15. john|

    i had someone give up their first class seat for me when i boarded a plane, it was the nicest gesture anyone has done for me. so i can personally relate to this.

  16. Matt|

    Thank you, Team USAWTFM.

  17. Amy|

    I’ve been in this Soldier’s same position a few times. Going back to Afghan on Thanksgiving day for my 3rd one year trip, I was down in the dumps a bit and it surely made my day and made me hold my chin a little higher that there are people who still care.

  18. CDT. SGT. Tamayo|

    I am a military cadet. I work with the U.S. Army, and sometimes I can get mistaken for a soldier. I was taking my flight back home from California to Illinois (Authorized to wear uniform on this trip FULL GARRISON ACU). A soldier (U.S. Army) was coming down the isle, as he was also on his return flight home, He transferred flights at Sac International from his duty station overseas.. I stood up and shook his hand, thanked him, in confusion he said “Brother, no need to thank me. We have the same job, my man.”. I slowly replied ” I am a cadet, Sergeant. My duties are just a bit different.”. He smiled and continued to his seat about two rows behind me. Next thing I know, he is at the back talking to the flight attendant, and I hear over the speaker “All servicemen and women, AND cadets, Thank you for your service to this beautiful country.”. The soldier continued to my seat, handed me his Combat Flag and said “I won’t be needing this anymore. Take care of our nation. Hooah.”. I cried just a bit. After we landed, he sat down with me and we chatted until the bus came to pick us up. Turned out, he lived about 25 miles away from my hometown. Although this was quite a few years ago, it was emotionally impacting. Flying is so much different now. Thank you, all Servicemen, and Women.

    1. CDT. SGT. Tamayo|

      And yes, it was on Cadet hours. Once I returned home, I had to drop off my bags, and head straight to Frankfurt Army Reserve installation (I believe) to establish a new cadet program on behalf of my program. All in all, I ended up back in California, but that flight was civi’s only. I just wanted to make that clear to anyone who may question, and our PID patches are nothing like the US Army. Our Name tapes are different, Unit patches bluntly state what program I work for, and my rank is obvious to not be Active Duty/Reserve. I hope that clears up any questionable Elements.

  19. Anonymous|

    i am currently in afganistan and although you think thats its nice to put a soldier on blast and make although you think its nice to give up your seat most of us really dont care cuz were eather happy or pissed off about were we are going and most of the time the only time were in uniform on a plane is when were comeing and going from country or the new guy just got out of basic and if you think saying thank you to a guy fresh out of basic is being kind hearted well thats retarted cuz he or shes only been in for maybe 18 weeks to maybe a little over a year and they havent done anything but sighn a paper and get yelled at. and on the other hand when you are in uniform the only place people are nice to you is at the airport like your keeping the airport safe or something maybe if a s vest went off in a grocery store people would be nice there and offer to pay for soldiers food that their buying for their family with the low end pay we get. well people how about you join and see how it feels for every other person in the airport tell you thank you for your service it gets really annoying but keep being the cavilian you are and puting soldiers on the spot light when its not neccasary and thank you airlines for haveing the policy state that people in uniform will not pay and if possible get the open upgraded seat


    1. James|

      Wow… We don’t call 19K’s “DATs” for nothing.

      Way to show your ignorance and make the rest of us look like complete fools.

      an 88M (HET Driver). Hauling the DATs and their equipment around since 1994.

    2. Anonymous|

      You can’t make some people happy, you’re upset beacause someone just out of basic/ait is thanked, are they not worthy because they haven’t been deployed yet? What about the soldier who has served their country for 10-20 years but never left they be appreciated? As a Vet married to a Vet, sister in law to a Vet, neice to multiple Vets and cousin to 6 and friend to manybcurrently serving i say to you just say Thank you or say nothing at all. You never know who has given up a seat or why. I currently work for American and I want to say that it was a proud moment for me when a gate agent told us that there were 2 seats available in first but wanted to see if we would be willing to give the seats to a soldier and his dog, withouht hesitation she heard 3 resounding yes’s. I have seen entire waiting areas give a standing ovation to a soldier retuning home afted months in a hospital, should we have all just turned our heads. I’m going to stop here because I’m beginning to rant, my mind is spinning so fast all Ican think is that Iwish you were here so Icould talk/shake some since in to you

    3. Anonymous|

      the longest run on sentence ever! go back to school and quit speaking your twisted selfish thought and trying to pass them off for all soldiers. take what you can get and pass it on.

  20. Pat|

    From a soldier who is currently deployed I would just like to say thank you to the man who did this.

  21. Jeanette DeForest|

    I had a simular experience with American Airlines. I was on my way home for leave from Iraq. There were 6 of us together waiting to get on the plane at
    LAX one of the flight attendents cam over and asked all of us for our names. When she did this I was think she was going to make an annoucement. But as we started to board she called us up one by one and gave us our first class ticket.

  22. busyguy|

    I have a different story. I had supported a group of 12 soldiers for their tour in Kanahar, Afghanistan 2 years ago. I sent lots of 40 plus pound packages to all of them. For Christmas, unknown to them since it was a surprise, we mailed them a tree with all the trimmings, 50 wrapped gifts and 60 lbs of home made Christmas cookies. They loved it and shared it with all their buds. A few weeks ago I was at a convention and got invited by them to visit them at Ft Campbell for the weekend. I had a great time finally meeting them. I was staying with one of them and their family on base and had a blast. He had been deployed numerous times, and is scheduled to be deployed again this year. Before I left I gave him my new 80 gig IPOD loaded with 5500 songs. He was thrilled to death. I know he will be taking that with him on his next tour. It was the perfect weekend for me and I treasure the time spent with them.

  23. Anonymous|

    US ARMY TANKER 19K, way to take a statement of good will toward a soldier and attempt to ruin it by stating your status. Before you attempt to retaliate, I am a 13B and have been in military for 8 years and have a few deployments under my belt and recently returned from Afghanistan.

    I knew what was going on when I joined and fully accepted the low pay/high stress. I don’t expect any handouts or thank you from anyone for what I do. The small gestures of gratitude from the nonmilitary population are although greatly appreciated. They are showing you in their own way that they appreciate all the sacrifices you and other soldiers encounter to ensure their safety. So someone giving me their upgrade or secretly paying for my burger at burger king is big deal to me. I always offer my combat patch to anyone who does something like this.

    The guys who are just out of training are just as deserving of any gratitude that a soldier who has been in for years deserves. These people made a choice to join a service that could and probably will send them to a combat zone. They also made this choice in a time of current conflict. To me I respect them for just doing that.

    From reading your post you seem to be a soldier who may need to reconsider their choice to serve. The military is not for everyone especially those who would publicly bring embarrassment to the uniform. From reading your post I am embarrassed to call you a fellow soldier.

    13B Soldier

    1. Anonymous|

      My husband has deployed multiple times, twice in two years. He’s also a 13B. He always feels uncomfortable when someone thanks him for his service. He refuses if someone offers to pay for a meal or drink. In his words he’s “just doing my job”, but I know deep down he appreciates it. I’m proud of our soldiers, but ones like 19K grate on my nerves. You should have done your homework before signing that contract. This life is not glamorous by any means. When your times up, get out. Think you can find a better job with better benefits in this economy? Back to the article at hand…I thank everyone who is or has served our country and anyone who has ever done a good deed for a soldier. The little things mean a lot!

      wife of a 13B
      King Of Battle

  24. Shawn|

    If you can’t produce a line segment of where in the UCMJ you just look silly stating anything but a thank you. After traveling while in the military in uniform i have upgraded my seat almost everytime to include flying with my C.O. and 1st sgt. and upgrading to a better seat than theirs with no complaints….think before you speak

  25. Shawn|

    thats a piss poor attitude towards your own brothers and sisters..shit bag

  26. Doc|

    This is an eerie story. I was on a flight home and sitting in 19D, the aisle seat. A gentleman did the exact same thing, giving me his first class seat, only that was 1F. I don’t remember the man’s name, nor did i have the chance to meet him as i left the plane, but it really touched me. So, to the anonymous gentleman who did this same thing for me, Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

  27. Anonymous|

    Totally a nice thing to do, I was given a seat (1st class) on my way back to deployment from R&R, it was 2 days before Christmas Eve. I actually refused, at first, i didn’t want to be put out there like that, in fact i wanted to be left alone. But the gesture itself has stood out, and to this day, it’s the only time i have ever flown in first class. Keep in mind, some soldiers fly in uniform for attention, but coming back or returning to deployments, one MUST wear their uniform.

  28. John Tackitt|

    To all the haters on here, bad-mouthing the gesture… get a grip. Quit your crying and whining. People do things like this because they are genuinely grateful. I’ve been serving my country for over 18 years and I wouldn’t change it for anything. I am proud of my service record. Although I don’t need a gesture of gratitude from anyone for my service, I realize that many people express themselves and their gratitude in many ways. Some use words, others use gestures. They do it for various reasons. Maybe, just maybe, they served at one time and want to ensure that you and I are treated better than they were when they came home. I’m sure that at some point, you were informed of the atrocious behaviors name calling that the Vietnam veterans faced upon their return. When was the last time you were spit upon or called baby-killer? Its highly unlikely that you have faced that because those veterans faced it for you. Maybe, just maybe, America is attempting to recover from that dark time and ensure that you and I are treated better.

    Here’s another thought… Perhaps, people perform these gracious acts because they have a family member or friend who is serving also. Maybe they do it in hopes that others will take note and want to pay the kindness forward. Whatever the motive behind the act is, it’s irrelevant. Believe it or not, some people are genuinely grateful for what you and I do. If they want to express it, let them. I assure you, that if people did not express their gratitude in some form, those of you complaining and making snide remarks would be the same idiots crying because no one acknowledges your sacrifice. We are Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen… We do not serve in order to gain some sort of acknowledgement… If you do, you are in it for the wrong reasons and I encourage you to get out.

    As for the civilians that wish to express their gratitude with acts of kindness… Thank you. However, I promise you that it is not needed. I have experienced numerous acts of kindness throughout my years. I am grateful for every single one of them. However, a simple thank you, although not needed; will suffice. Many times, a simple conversation to help me feel like a normal person is meaningful as a random act of kindness. Please understand, I am not saying that you should or should not express your gratitude for us service members; what I am saying is that it is not required. However, if you feel the need, please do so.

    As for the older generation of veterans, I thank you! It is because of you, that I am able to serve my country and live my life on my terms. I appreciate you and all that you have done for me. I appreciate the tid-bits of advice that I have gained over the years in my many conversations with veterans. Even though I currently serve, I feel the need and the desire to show my gratitude to these warriors of past that have sacrificed so much, in order for me to do what I do today.

    I guess I will conclude my rambling with this last thought… Its really simple… If someone wants to be kind to you, don’t be a jackass and cry about how much you don’t want the attention. They are trying to be nice to you… Be professional and be polite. You don’t have to accept the act or gift, but you can at least give them a thank you, for being kind to you.


    A Grateful Soldier

  29. Anonymous|

    You should never brag about good deeds, or giving. It is Hypocritical and distasteful.(Matthew 6:1-6:4) It makes it seem like you only did it to get praise. As a former soldier and Iraq vet, I see it as someone trying desperately to make up for their lack of courage and service to this great nation

    1. Anonymous|

      Shut up!

  30. Anonymous|

    You made me cry. Maybe because I am in Afghanistan and waiting to come home.

  31. Anonymous|

    Ive never been given an upgraded seat but there were about 10the of us returning from iraq in 2005 on r&r and a gentleman in a suit bought us all a round on the plane. Outstanding gestures from great AMERICANS!!

  32. Judy|

    I have tears in my eyes reading this. My son is a soldier who has been in Afghanistan and I like to think that there are more people out there like you.

  33. sam|

    We have had a few gestures of kindness from strangers. 4th of jully 2010. My husband finally came back from afganistan. Still in acus we ran to get some stuff to grill and fireworks. we pilled up on fireworks. Why not right! The kids hadnt seen him n a while and it was independence day lets celebrate big. Upon checking out the owner of the stand said thank you for your service sir and gave us several hundred dollars worth of fireworks for free. Best part about it is that it was on the 4th of jully of all days. Thank you to the people who are kind to others in general. Paying it forward is a big thing.

  34. RbSalleh 1|

    I am so touched by the deeds.

  35. phantoad411593warren bullock|

    This story bought a tear to my eyes, the Australian general public have no real respect or sense of pride for our troops that serve in a conflict area. As a returned Vietnam vet, I shamefully recall being spat at and called names by my country men when I returned. All I can say is God bless and protect each and every soldier in the service of their country.

  36. PJ|

    In 2010, I was on my home for leave from Iraq, this was the day before thanksgiving, I landed in Atlanta and got a flight to Detroit airport en route to Albany, NY. Due to how late our flight came in, I was merely Space Available in Detroit. When I got to the counter, the attendant advised me the plane was full, an elderly gentlmen wearing a Vietnam Vet hat walked over to where I was standing and asked if I was on my home from battle. I told him yes, and he looked at the attendant and said ma’am re-route me, I want this soldier to go home to his family today. I told the gentlemen that it was ok, I appreciate and I would wait. He would not take No for an answer, I thanked the fellow Vet and gave him a hug and told him how much it would mean to me and My family waiting for me that hasn’t seen me in 9 months. I do not know his name, but if by some miracle he reads this, THANK YOU millions, it was the nicest gesture anyone could’ve done for me and I wish i knew your name.

  37. dina|

    thank you for posting this. my husband is a U.S. soldier currently deployed in the middle east. Before marrying him, i was quite unfamilar with the life of a soldier. Many Americans are detached from the reality of those who serve our country. I appreciate your acknowledgement of the sacrifice they make so that we all can live the lives we are accustomed to.

  38. 0311 DevilDawg|

    im a retired Marine. i still wear my dogtags under my shirt almost daily. once when i was flying from CVG to LAX, i had to go through the metal detector and remove my tags. at the end of the line, the DHS guard noticed them, picked them up, read them, snapped to attention and saluted, saying “thank you for your service SIR!”

    i couldnt hold the OHHRA! back

  39. Hilli|

    As a soldier who has been in this situation before I thank you. Civilians often don’t realize what we go through in saying goodbye to the people we love, and how much the little things can mean.

  40. Caitlin|

    I remember the first time I got moved up to first class.. I could NEVER afford to sit in first class especially on a soldier’s paycheck. I also had a man insist on buying my lunch while I waited to switch planes.. I never really know what to say other than thank you. I will never forget the people that treat me so well, and although it can be a little embarrassing with everyone clapping and what not, I really don’t think I have ever felt so much joy in my heart. THANK YOU. I promise every soldier appreciates the little things.

  41. Proud Military Mom|

    As a mother of two sons and grandson who have served their country with multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, I would like to give a heartfelt “Thank You” to those who treat our Military men and women with the Respect and Honor they so Deserve. I think giving up a first class seat to a soldier returning from or going to a deployment in a war zone is an wonderful act of kindness. It was difficult saying goodbye to my sons and grandson more times then I want to remember, knowing they were going off to war and praying to God they would come home safe. Any act of kindness to our Soldiers is appreciated by those of us that love them, and I Thank You from the bottom of my heart. My way of giving back is to personally thank Soldiers in uniform in the airport for their Service to our Country. I have never met an ungrateful Soldier. To all our active Military and Veterans reading this……”Thank You For Your Service to Our Country”. God Bless each and every one of you and your families.

  42. LincolnPark|

    This story made my day! Sometimes in our rush to get from here to there we can forget how big of an impact a seemingly small gesture of kindness in the lives of others. A real sincere and classy that you did!

  43. Nathaniel Cake Ison|

    This happens to me everytime i get on a plane in uniform. Ive also been put on the plane first. Security also gives me a lot of leeway (Probably not the best idea). It makes me feel good that people would do this for me and all my battlebuddies!

  44. Mommy Points|

    Love it – very well done and hopefully it is something others will do as well. ;)

  45. TopSeebs|

    In February of 1970 I was on, a now out of business for years, Northeast Yellow Bird flight from San Francisco to Philadelphia having just returned from Vietnam. It was a red-eye flight, not overcrowded and I fell asleep almost immediately upon boarding. I slept right through the stopover in Chicago and when I awoke I found myself laying across seats, covered with a blanket and a pillow under my head. The stewardess’ on the flight had adopted me and done what they could to make me comfortable on my trip home. Keep in mind, this was at a time when our military soldiers were looked at differently than they are now. Now over 40 years later I still remember this simple act of kindness.

    1. Larkspur|

      As a vet and a FA, I take special care of all the soldiers on any of my flights. It’s an honor and privilege to look after my brothers and sisters as they are traveling to or from their families.

  46. Willie|

    I think this story is great, but is it fair? Would the author give up his seat for a law enforcement officer? A firefighter? All noble professions and they also put themselves in harm’s way just like soldiers. I know I’m going to get hateful responses, but these boys knew their fate when they chose their job.

    1. Larkspur|

      And you’re a disrespectful jerk. As an AF vet, the daughter, granddaughter, niece and sister of vets, I would like to kindly remind you that it’s the soldier that affords you the rights you have today, so show some respect.

  47. Anonymous|

    Feels great doesn’t it. I’ve been doing it since 2004 the same year my son joined the Army. As an Executive Platinum on AA, I used to get a lot of upgrades. I know the solders appreciate it Thanks to you all.

  48. James Johnson|

    I am so jealous cause I remember how I was greeted when I came back from Viet Nam. I remember how the leftists treated me and I will NEVER forget. I am glad our current soldiers get treated better but that’s subject to change. Whenever the left thinks they can gain a political advantage they’ll change in a heartbeat. I can’t tell you the depth of my feeling toward the left of America.

  49. Anonymous|

    That’s nice but somehow it’s a big deal for a Marine (who are not allowed to wear their utility uniform in public) traveling with his wife to board American Airlines in Phoenix AZ early even with a valid military ID just because they’re not in uniform.

  50. Anonymous|

    I was the soldier you gave your seat to. The story of your unbelievable generosity I have shared with my family and friends many times. It was something I will never forget and although some may say it was just a seat or you may have felt it wasn’t much, for me it was symbolic. To this day it remains the only time I ever flew 1st class and I cherrish the memory of the time a stranger who loved his country and service men and women so much that without regard to onlookers reminded me why I was going over to fight for the next year and a half. Although I was hesitant to take the seat and time only alotted me a final wave goodbye, I would have enjoyed having a beer and hearing your story for myself. So since I was never given the chance from the bottom of my heart, Thank You. And I truly hope you inspired many to remember that we soldiers do not fight for politicians we fight for each other and the civilians back home. Anger was not the driving force for any soldier i know, it was love. Like the kind you showed to me that day.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Wow. Thank you for your service and for the kindest email I’ve ever received.

  51. Yvonne B|

    You can compliment american airlines now, but some years ago it was not like that .I remember reading of a soldier in uniform who was soaked by AA.
    His storydrew so many negative comments towards the airline they changed their policy.

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