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Juneau home to Alaska Air 'Legend'

Christie Young receives highest customer service award

Posted: June 12, 2012 - 11:02pm

Juneau’s Christie Young is a customer service Legend. The 33-year Alaska Airlines employee won the airline’s highest annual honor, the Customer Service Legends award.

Alaska Airlines’ annual Customer Service Legends awards represent the “highest honor an Alaska Airlines employee can receive,” Young said in an email interview.Young was presented her award at the airline’s annual awards ceremony in May.

“Our Legends create the moments of greatness at our airline,” Jeff Butler, vice president of airport customer service for Alaska Airlines said at the ceremony. “If you want to know why Alaska Airlines has performed so well in the past 12 months, you’re looking at some of the reasons why.”

The Juneau International Airport is no stranger to rain, winds and snow.

“It’s how you react to these situations that make the day manageable or a failure,” Matthew Keith, Alaska Airlines station supervisor in Juneau, stated in a press release. “Day after day, Christie succeeds because of her planning and preparation for any and all situations. Christie’s leadership skills set the standard for those that work around her.”

Young is Alaska Air’s lead customer service agent in Juneau.

Before coming to Alaska Airlines, Young lived in Juneau and Fairbanks. She returned to Juneau for good in 1977 as a high school senior and started her career in travel and tourism. Two years later, at the age of 18, she started at Alaska Airlines.

Young’s first duty at the airlines was as a security screener and later moved to customer service. She moved up to her current position in 1989.

Now Young’s job is to make sure passengers “get where they are going,” according to an Alaska Airlines press release.“We are the hub of Southeast Alaska, so there’s always a lot of connections and changes and activity going on. Part of my job is to make sure things move as smoothly as they can,” Young stated in the release.

Young said her favorite part of customer service at the airline is its ever-changing nature.

“Every time I think I’ve seen it all, I haven’t,” Young said.

With her years of experience, Young said she could work in other places.

“But I love what I do here and I enjoy the people I work with,” Young said. “I had the opportunity to work in different Alaska Airline cities but I really love Juneau.”

Her shorter stature prevented Young from achieving her childhood dream of becoming a flight attendant, Young said.

“There wasn’t one airline that would hire someone only 5 feet tall,” Young said. “So, I tried to think of ways I could travel and if I couldn’t be a flight attendant, I could work elsewhere at an airline.”

With her successful career in the airline industry, Young now likes to travel to sunny locations.

“When you live in Juneau,” Young said, “where there is a lot of rain and snow, you think about the sun. So when I need to I take a sun break.”

Young shares an employer with her husband, Garry Young, who has worked at Alaska Airlines for 27 years.What advice would Young give new customer service workers?

“Treat customers as you would want to be treated and lead by example,” Young said.

• Contact reporter Russell Stigall at 523-2276 or at russell.stigall@juneauempire.com.

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