Caring chat with flight attendants inspires guest to pick up the tab – for the entire plane 

Sylvia N., a Portland-based flight attendant, has had a lot of conversations with guests in her nearly 30 years with Alaska Airlines, but one with a woman seated in 1A on a recent flight from Dallas to Portland, will be hard to forget.

During the flight, Sylvia had been chatting with the guest, who seemed genuinely interested in how she and her fellow flight attendants were doing.

“She wanted to know how it had been flying during the hardships of Covid and how they had all gotten through it,” she said. “So, I took some time to explain how it impacted us—as flight attendants and me personally—and we had a wonderful conversation.”

Shortly thereafter, the guest seated in 1A said she wanted to do something special to thank Sylvia and her co-workers. She asked Sylvia if she could pay for the entire plane’s food and drinks.

Sylvia got chills. The crew asked the guest if she really wanted to do that, which was followed by an immediate, “yes.”

That’s when we all (flight attendants) started to tear up,” Sylvia said. “It was an incredible act of kindness.”

“What Sylvia did to make a personal connection with this guest, and then for the whole crew using the Care Framework to make this happen, just warms my heart,” said Michaela Littman, MD of inflight operations. “Our flight attendants are truly remarkable.”

With such a unique request, the crew had to discuss logistics. They needed to find a solution to carry out this guest’s wishes, but everyone had already received their meals and drinks. The crew ended up going back through the cabin to refund each guest, charging it to the First Class guest, as requested.

Another First Class guest who witnessed the kind act, asked Sylvia for some paper. Later int he flight, the guest returned with handfuls of handwritten notes thanking the flight attendants.

Among the messages were notes that said:

“You impact so many lives with your service”

“Thanks for your cheerful, professional service.”

“You’ve made my day brighter when I needed it most.”

Upon landing, Sylvia thanked the two guests in First Class for their kindness. “To have one guest buy a plane-full of food and drinks for everyone was above and beyond, but then to have the handwritten notes was overwhelming in the best way possible,” she said.

Sylvia said this had happened only once before in her career – when a guest on a Las Vegas flight paid for everyone’s drinks.

“Each one of our guests has a story,” she said. “You just don’t know what compels people and why.”

A little kindness truly can change the world.”

– Flight Attendant Cheryl G., who was also part of the amazing flight experience.