Tuesday, September 18, 2007

'Dear Republic Airlines'

Upon my return home from BRD (by car), I dove into my 'collection' of goodies that were stuffed in the briefcase and began to look through them with excitement. I also gave my parents the film of the trip to be processed, adding 'can we get doubles?' Looking through the Republic Scene magazine, I happened on the 'Customer Relations' section of the 'Welcome Aboard' area. It said to contact them with any questions, comments or complaints. I thought 'hey, I want to spread the word and let them know about my trip!' With that, I set out to write a one paged letter to Republic to let them know I WAS a happy customer. It was mailed off the next day and I hoped someone would read it, let alone know that they had 'made my day' with their airline and service.

About a week later, I came home from school to find 2 packages on the steps, addressed to me, from Republic! I don't think I even got in the door before I started opening them to find a treasure trove of Republic goodies such as pens, pencils, an Annual Report, Timetable, another set of kiddie wings, buttons, photos of Republic aircraft and posters of both the DC-9 and 727 in flight. WOW! Along with the goodies was a card that was addressed to me, with a typed out note saying 'Dear Peder, your note was the nicest I'd received in a long time and I, and Republic, thank you for it! It's a joy to hear you enjoyed yourself recently on some of our Convair aircraft and look forward to serving you again soon! Take care, Marlene J, Krogstad, Director of Consumer Affairs.' This was great! Not only did someone READ my letter but they responded as well. (Would that even occur in today's World?). I began to pen a letter back to Marlene for thanking her for all the goodies when the following day, another package arrived from Republic! There was another note inside, this time hand written, saying 'Hi Peder, Sorry I missed this in the original packages. You deserve one for your wall at home! Take care, Marlene.' Inside that package was a First Flighter Certificate, with my name on it and the date that I'd flown. How cool! I finished my 'thank you' letter and mailed it off the following day...

Soon after, My father mentioned that 'Marlene called from Minneapolis and she'd like for you and I to visit the General Offices next week.' REALLY??? Dad had already set a date, having chosen a non school day at that, and we set off for MSP in the Chevy.

We arrived at the G.O. early on a Friday (I do recall that) and waited in the area around the old '728' propeller that was on display in the lobby. Soon after, Marlene came out to meet us. A wonderful woman, with a great suit and smile! (Photo above) She guided us past the computerized reservations system (new to these eyes) and into her offices located on the First Floor. We sat and talked for a while, getting to know one another when she excused herself from the office, returning shortly thereafter with a brand new, blue satin Republic Airlines jacket..for me! Excited, I put it on right away and beamed in pride. She then said 'let's go for a walk' and we proceeded out of her offices to tour the G.O., even passing then President Daniel May's offices to a long corridor, past the Employee Dining Hall and into the HUGE Highway 494 Hanger! (Photo above) Inside were mechanics working away on DC-9's, a 727 and even a Convair! We walked up into each aircraft to tour and 'play' in the cockpits. What a treat! We left the hanger and headed into the newly formed Republic Airlines Museum where we looked over old items from Wisconsin Central, North Central and Republic, including the old 'Link' trainer simulator, old uniforms, photos, maps, models and pilot wings. Before leaving, Marlene handed me another treat for visiting; a solid Pewter Republic Airlines Key chain. With a hug and a smile, she was off to her offices and we were out the front doors of the G.O. with memories in mind and memorabilia galore. WHAT an airline!

I visited the G.O., and Marlene, along with one of her staff members, Sheri Melius (photo above), a number of times afterwords. Every time I was there, they treated me quite well and always made sure I was having a good time. One of my last visits was prior to the 'eradicating' of the beloved 'Herman' the blue duck symbol; a sign of times to come. By then, even this then teenager, knew that things were changing...and not for the best. Even so, I had my memories, and appreciation for good people, a good airline and letting a little kid from Minnesota be a part of it all...


Anonymous said...

Hey Peder, I swear thoes were standard issued glasses to guys are age back in thoes days, funny as it is I still have mine. I never was in the hanger when it was NC/RC but was there back in 1997 for work but as I walked through there all I could picture was DC-9's and Convairs being worked on. Glad one of us got to see it live back in the day.


jody nagy said...

Dear sirs
A short time ago I bought a bag of tokens. I found North central airlines 1973 silver anniversary coin. I am interested the history of the coin.Like how many were were made ,what it is made out of .Where does the airlines fly from,or did it sold.

Jody nagy