Jane on Disney ShuttleI’m speaking in Anaheim this week and traveled out here today via Southwest Airlines. I’d always heard about their legendary service, but experienced it myself firsthand. What should be standard for travel in general is remarkable in that so few airlines deliver as beautifully as Southwest. My flight was on-time both departing and arriving, and that included a layover in St. Louis. There was a 2-miute delay waiting for our gate there to become available because we landed early, so the flight attendant told a joke to pass the time.

A chicken goes into the library, walks up to librarian and says, “Book, book.” (Plug in your best chicken-voice delivery here.) The librarian is a bit surprised, but hands the chicken two books. Next day, same chicken, same librarian, but this time the chicken says, “Book, book, book.” So she hands him three books, and the chicken leaves. Third day, same chicken, same librarian, same request. “Book, book.” 

The librarian is so confounded she follows the chicken out of the building, down to the local pond where the chicken proceeds to toss the books she borrowed to the frog in the water there. To which the frog responds, “Read it, read it!”

For some reason, I was in the last group to board the flight to California so was sure I’d end up in the middle seat of the plane’s last row. Southwest has no assigned seats. To my great surprise, there was an empty seat in Row 1. Of course, it was the middle seat, but because it was the bulkhead, there was plenty of legroom. The attendant made me put my backpack in the overhead for take-off. I was plotting how to keep it during landing because it would be like swimming upstream to retrieve it from the bin several rows back at the end of the flight.

As we were getting ready for landing, I put away my computer and notebook and tucked the backpack behind me hoping I’d be able to camouflage it from her eagle eye. No go. Aware of the conversation we were having about my not wanting to cede possession, a generous gentleman behind me called over the seat to say there was an empty space next to him and did I want to stow it under that one. “Yes!” As soon as we touched down, he passed it over and back to me.

The conference I’m speaking at provided shuttle service info from the airport to the hotel, and I selected the Disney bus since it looked roomier. Was it ever! I was the ONLY passenger, and the driver said, “Enjoy your private limo!” When we arrived at the hotel, I asked him to document the occasion for me.

Oh, and did I mention it’s 73 degrees and sunny here?


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