What? Yes, this actually happened on a real American Airlines flight from Chicago to San Diego…and for a very good reason. Yahoo! News has the full story:

Thirteen Marines returning from Afghanistan were given the full hero treatment when they landed at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport Monday night, and it all stemmed from a simple pizza request. Stephanie Hare, whose fiancé, Capt. Pravin Rajan, was part of the team, called the USO crew at the airport to alert them that the Marines would be returning that evening after seven months overseas. Hare requested the Marines receive some famous Chicago pizza and champagne upon arrival, or something of that nature. Instead, they were honored with cheers from a crowd of police, a fire truck water salute and first-class plane tickets!

As the Marines still had to travel to San Diego, they received six first-class upgrades from American Airlines, which has a policy to upgrade servicemen if there are available seats. The remaining marines were granted seats by seven first-class passengers, who “jumped out” of their spots as a gesture so the troops could sit together. Even more impressive, the whole thing was put together in an hour!

Check out the full details here.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


Related Articles


avidtraveler November 8, 2013 - 9:57 am

It’s domestic F – not such a hard thing to give up. LOL

greg z November 8, 2013 - 10:01 am

So I guess you’re constantly giving up yours?

Jared November 8, 2013 - 11:25 am

I don’t see the reason we all fawn over members of the military. Unless you are drafted, being a member of the military is a choice. Not saying that it is a glamorous choice or even one that I would make myself, but it is a choice. They already receive a number of nice perks that compensate them for the risks associated with their job (high compensation relative to skills required for the job, no tax on combat pay, generous pensions if you serve long enough). Why do so many people think members of the military need even more special treatment.

Ken Y. November 8, 2013 - 11:31 am

Jared — wholeheartedly agree.

Ken Y. November 8, 2013 - 11:29 am

They are paid handsomely for their work. I would not give them my seat.

A Dickerson November 8, 2013 - 11:55 am

How unusual to see this now… I was on a delta flight last night from SFO to NYC. As a diamond I usually clear but in this case I was #1 on the upgrade list. Before takeoff there were to seats available and the gate agent got on the plan went to the woman dressed in uniform and told here there’s a space available in first if she’d like it. I assume the same happened with the other person further back.
I was in econ comfort…but I was surprised, and felts a bit petty for being annoyed. This year I flew 120K on AA and 105 on DL… I really hope these “feel good stories about giving up seats for service people” catch on.

Iowan November 8, 2013 - 12:05 pm

I have to disagree with Ken and Jared. Staying 7 months away from home and family in a place like Afghanistan certainly deserves this treatment.

However I do want to say Ken and Jared are entitled to their opinions. I am guessing no amount of discussion would change either of our positions. We need to respect their choices irrespective of whether we agree with it or not. Both joining the military and trading your 1st class seat are voluntary.

Stan November 8, 2013 - 12:28 pm

Iowan — you are to polite !! Ken N Jared are @#%^*^$%$# they think a bullet in the head or no legs – “compensation received covers” — go to a VET hospital –see them –talk to them think what the next 10-20 -30 years will be like for them –then tell me what you think –I have

Kevin November 8, 2013 - 1:22 pm

Two things:

1. Many military members I personally know hate being fawned upon. They tell me it is a choice they made. Granted, it isn’t always easy once you are in, but I’ve heard this from multiple people.

2. Military members put their lives on the line in part to protect freedom of speech, something Ken Y. and Jared are using, and using in a polite manner. Less could be said of your reaction to their speech.

Stan November 8, 2013 - 2:19 pm

Yes –protect freedom of speech for all– that is what “I did” including for me

Kevin — go to a V.A. hospital , then tell me your thoughts — were you or ken or Jared in the service? I doubt it!

I was in Vietnam , never knowing if I would be shipped back home in a box –or spit on when I got off a plane –in my own country !!—

KN November 8, 2013 - 2:14 pm

I am honestly appalled at the comments made by Ken and Jared. While I think they are entitled to their opinion (as everyone is) it is sad to see this mentality. As a spouse of a military member, yes my husband chose to go into service. But there are things that have come along throughout our required nine years that you cannot fathom. Things that you did not sign up for that are so out of your control and unfair requests and demands. What happened on this flight is a wonderful thing and I am proud of those people for giving up their seat out of a sign of respect for people who put themselves in great danger for people they don’t even know. And as for being paid handsomely, you must not know anything about the military as they are so underpaid for their long 18 hour work days, their nine month deployments, and the dangers they face. That was an ignorant comment. They are not compensated in many ways, especially the enlisted that were on that flight.

Ken Y. November 8, 2013 - 2:55 pm

If they’re not happy with the pay or the job, then quit. Just like what everyone else has a choice to do in every other profession.

A November 8, 2013 - 2:39 pm

I do have to agree with Jared and others. The military are overpaid and receive very generous benefits. Yes, you are away from your family and friends. I’ll give you that one. Otherwise, it’s a great gig for anyone from an E-1- O-10. Oh, let’s not forgot that most military fly on Y tickets so they can easily upgrade if they want or if they are an elite with an airline. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but as someone who works with them on a daily basis (and I’m also separated from my family and friends) I wish I was had someone holding my hand when I was 18-20. And forgot trying to get these kids to apply any logic to situations. There is a rule for everything.

Ken Y. November 8, 2013 - 2:53 pm

Exactly. It’s a choice they made. Just like its my choice not to join the military. They don’t deserve any special treatment for a personal choice they made, and neither do I for a personal choice I made.

KN November 8, 2013 - 3:37 pm

I personally don’t think it should be a policy of airlines to upgrade military. It is not necesary. My point is that some thoughts and opinions about the military are very misguided. And unless you have lived through it there is honestly no way to get someone who believes what you do to understand that. I think it was a wonderful gesture, one that should not have been expected, and am moved by what they did.

mizliz November 8, 2013 - 5:05 pm

KN, I appreciate your family and your husband’s service, and would gladly give up my seat on the plane to say “thank you”.

EY November 8, 2013 - 5:22 pm

seriously, some military people do not deserve to be on F or J because of their manner/attitude of entitlement. We work hard and earn that entitlement and we learn things by doing but these guys do not. I recently flown an international J (I paid every penny of that full J class!) and there were two military guys in front of me (simply upgraded). One of them was older, probably high in rank but he was really rude with other passengers in front of him and with us! Plus, he pushed back his seat during the departure, which violates the safety rule. The cabin crew informed him after this long instruction on TV (obviously, which he ignored) but he showed really annoyed face and didn’t follow the instruction because he knows everything about safety!

Piyu November 8, 2013 - 8:18 pm

I always liked Americans for giving respect and special treatment to service people. In my opinion they deserve it. I also think its a choice they made but their choice make us all feel safe.

Not trying to be rude here Ken your job choices are not affecting anyone here except you but if every service person start changing jobs like us then no one would be there to protect our families and kids.

Rich C November 8, 2013 - 8:29 pm

Thanks to those who serve our country in the military knuckle heads like Ken and Jared can freely express their views.

pu November 9, 2013 - 2:54 am

Wars are stupid. And people who join the army are only empowering the politicians to line their pockets with kick backs from military contractors.

Waste of time. Money. And lives.

You should save your own country before worry ing about others


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Point Me Awake


A morning jolt of travel-infused news & deals straight to your inbox. 


Success! Check your email for a welcome onboard message