I took a short flight down to Raleigh from DC earlier today.  I had a little time to kill at DCA so I took the elevator to the Admirals Club.  (Note to AA fliers: The DCA Admirals Club is blessed with the best staff in the system, from the front desk to the bartenders, they are all awesome!)  I love the smaller airport lounges like the DCA Admirals Club.  Nine times out of ten, I will know the desk attendant by name, and vice-versa.  Today was no different.  I was greeted warmly as always, and I chatted with the agent for a while about work, life, and everthing else we could think of.  This was after she’d made sure my travel arrangements were all set and there was nothing else she could assist me with. 

That interaction reminded me about how nice it is to have someone you can depend on in a position to help you at the airport.  It pays to have someone on your side at the airport, especially your home field, and most especially if your home airport isn’t a big hub.  If you have the chance on a slow day at your home airport, chat up the agents, or at least exchange pleasantries.  If you’re flying in and out of the same airport frequently, the agents will begin to remember you and how nice you are.  They’ll recognize your face if not your name, and they just might help you out of a bind sometime.

Building on this, I can’t imagine flying semi-frequently without a membership in my primary airline’s airport lounge.  Talk about having a friend on your side.  While domestic airline lounges are no match for their foreign competition in amenities, food, booze, etc, they are usually staffed with the airline’s most experienced agents who are empowered to help when things go downhill with weather, delays, and all the other things that can go wrong in air travel. 

Whether you have to make a friend or buy a friend with a lounge membership, friends are a good thing to have at the airport.  Much like my American Express Card, I don’t leave home without them.