The making of loyal Bose customer (unsolicited plug)

Product plug: It's hardly novel to sing the praises of active noise-reduction headsets for airplane travel. I first learned about them in my piloting days, when the Lightspeed 20K headset made the difference between retaining at least some hearing and having to yell "Whaaat????" "Say that again..." for the rest of my life because of the literally deafening engine noise inside most small-airplane cockpits.

I didn't buy Bose aviation headsets because they cost twice as much as the Lightspeeds or other models, but the Bose "Quiet Comfort 2" model for airline passengers is a much better deal -- and not only because I got it as a Christmas present from one of my sons. I almost never see Chinese passengers wearing these on Shanghai Air or China Eastern flights (which, by the way, have much better meal service than most US lines -- topic for another day). But among American and European passengers on domestic or international flights they are of course more and more common:

Through the last month I was grateful for this headset during an interminable flight from Shanghai to Munich, and a few days later another from Munich to Denver. But somehow during one of those slogs, an earcup on the headset came loose from its mooring, so that the whole set no longer fit or worked.It didn't appear to be broken, but required an adjustment I couldn't see how to make without compounding the problem.

Walking blearily down the concourse at Denver airport toward a connecting flight, and what do I see but: a Bose headset booth! To the salesman's horror, I start showing him my broken headset within earshot of customers deciding whether to buy that very model. "You can call our 800 number, and they're good on fast repairs," he said. "Of course our warranty will cover it." That's fine, I told him, but I'm only going to be in America for a week. Is there a place I might get them repaired on the spot?

"I can take care of that right now," he said. He took my headset, reached under the desk, and gave me a new identical set. "If your time is short, there's no point making this hard." Perhaps he assumed that this would reflect well on Bose and that I would tell other people. He was right. (And as far as he knew, I had no way to spread the info other than word of mouth.) I believe his name was Ryan Daugherty. Bose management, take note.