Clark Fetridge thought his recent vacation to Australia and New Zealand would be a perfect opportunity to catch up on his in-flight e-book reading.
Little did he know he was about to lose his Kindle — but thanks to Air New Zealand, his reading caught up with him.
While the less-old may wonder what a library card catalog and World Book Encyclopedia are, e-book and internet-available reading material may eventually render such paper media worthy of a Smithsonian display.
Perhaps, like Fetridge, it may be time to get with the program. Amazon’s proprietary e-book reader, the Kindle, is basically a stripped-down and lighter tablet computer dedicated only to displaying stored text media for a lot less cost, and they are quietly taking over the reading world. An endless supply of downloads and effective customer support from Amazon made this worthy of a previous story.
I still prefer the tactile comfort of turning a page — but will also read news and periodicals on my smartphone or laptop. Apparently, I am not alone. To my surprise, though, the Pew survey reports Americans still continue to use more print books than e-books or audio books.
“My wife and I were on a three-week vacation to New Zealand and Australia, both of which we [had] never visited,” he says.
After delivering Fetridge to Australia, American Airlines passed his air transport baton to Qantas and then to the regional codeshare partner, Air New Zealand, for his local jaunt from Auckland to Queenstown. And is he ever grateful.
Air New Zealand is no stranger to our northern-hemisphere-centric forum as a good-natured airline perhaps best thought of as a Down Under version of Southwest and a favorite previous Good News Guy topic.
“We flew Air New Zealand across the country including Napier and Rotorua,” Fetridge explains. “For each leg of the trip, we became more and more impressed with their efficiency and frankly their value, as well as how well the airline loaded their planes by rows both from the front of the plane and some from the back (there is no business or first class).”
Hint, hint, domestic airlines.
The U.K.’s Daily Mail agrees, ranking Air New Zealand as the world’s best airline. Who knew?
“After arriving from Auckland to Queenstown, and on our taxi ride to our hotel, I received an email from Air New Zealand not fifteen minutes later saying that they had found my Kindle on the plane informing me of where and how to retrieve it,” Fetridge said.
He didn’t even have a chance to use the airline’s slick online Lost and Found form.
“As I did not realize I left it on the plane, I was stunned,” Fetridge said.
So am I.
It gets better.
“When I checked in with my office in Chicago later that day, I learned that Air New Zealand had also called me there,” he says. “I returned to the airport and retrieved my Kindle from exactly where they said it would be without any hassle.”
Wow. There are so many reasons why the odds of Fetridge ever seeing his Kindle again were next to none. But Air New Zealand wouldn’t have these odds.
One or more honest and forever-anonymous airline reps, during their busy and demanding day of safely transporting hordes of people in a pressurized metal tube at 500 mph, found the means to track down Fetridge’s seat location and contact information. They even dropped him a line at his U.S. office number for redundancy while closing their customer service loop of making sure the Kindle was held in a safe, yet convenient place to pick up.
Fetridge also knew to close his customer appreciation loop of taking a moment to recognize an act of kindness by letting others know — while many just complain.
“We have become big fans of Air New Zealand and hope to return for more visits,” concluded Fetridge. “I wish I had some names of the people who helped me.”
Maybe this might help let them know.