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2015 Wasn't ALL American Airlines. Some Surprising Service Stars From the Past Year

karmaInstant Karma's going to get you...

...Gonna look you right in the face.

John Lennon--1970

Yes, I know, I was a little harsh on American Airlines. And our difficulties were minimal compared to all the people sleeping in the airport the last few days after that nasty storm hit Chicago Monday night. It was fun venting, but just to balance the scales, I want to praise those companies that showed what good service could be like. This list, in no particular order, is based on our personal experiences. I know you might disagree with some of these choices, but these businesses smoothed out our path in 2015.

  • Let's start with another look at last week's travels. For the first time, we tried an off-site parking site near O'Hare. After checking out a number of potential locations on Yelp, I settled on PreFlight Airport Parking.  Indoor parking that is cheaper than O'Hare's uncovered long-term parking lot, easy on-line reservations and shuttle buses with friendly drivers. Yes, the site is a little far from the airport, but it easy enough to find. I have already joined their Preferred Club. I plan to be back!
  • At the destination end of the trip, we found the Avis location in Miami to function smoothly as well. No waiting in line, the desk personnel were friendly, the minivan we wanted was available, and no push for costly upgrades. Speaking of costs, when I called the central Avis number the evening before to advise them of our change in travel plans, I got the news that our prepaid rate had changed and we were entitled to a refund of about 50%. Nice work, Avis! Got my preferred card with you now too!
  • I will defy the odds and name a second car rental company. Everyone who has traveled to Los Angeles knows that LAX is a zoo. There always seems to be construction, traffic is snarled and that California Cool just doesn't seem to apply. So when Barb and I landed there for an LA Labor Day weekend wedding, it was really nice to discover that our new Hertz loyal customer card had us zooming out of the parking lot in our rental car in a hurry. Yeah, I am starting to  love all those preferred cards!
  • For a little local color, I want to commend Sunset Foods. If you don't live in the northern Chicago suburbs, you aren't familiar with this small chain of wonderful grocery stores. Service above and beyond, great managers, and always a goal to please. True, the prices are higher than Mariano's, though not quite at Whole Food levels. I guess the premium pricing pays for all the extra touches, such as custom orders, always having enough checkout lanes, and having your cart unloaded for you when you get to those lanes. The whole chain is great, but we love our Long Grove outpost and are already plotting the best route to the store from our future Riverwoods home.
  • Best repair service experience? Getting the cracked screen on my iPhone repaired at the Oakbrook Apple Store. Man was that smooth. Made an appointment on line and drove on over. The place was absolutely packed with customers but there were red-shirted employees everywhere. They logged me in, sent me to the right place, asked the right questions, and got the repair done on time. We all feel naked without our phones, it was nice to know I wouldn't be without my clothes for long.
  • A shout out to Google Search and Wikipedia as well. I look up a lot of trivia while writing this blog, and those sources put the world at my fingertips. I know, you can't believe everything you read on the Internet, but any misinformation printed on this blog is of my own creation, and not a fault of my sources!

Do you have a company you would like to recognize for great service? Leave a Comment below. (I know many of you don't Comment here because you don't have a Facebook account or can't access the account at work. Feel free to email me your favorite companies at les.raff@post.com and I will include them in a future blog.)

This wraps up 2015 and my first year of blogging. Next year will be Year of the House.  Lots of happy stories about how well construction of the new house is going. I PROMISE!!

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