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Flight 1549 passengers get upgrades

  |   Jan. 30, 2009 at 7:26 PM
NEW YORK, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- U.S. Airways has given passengers on the flight that had to land on New York's Hudson River free upgrades for a year, officials said.

The New York Post reported Friday that in letters to the 150 passengers of Flight 1549 saying the airline has given them "coveted" Chairman's Preferred status until March 2010.

The plane landed on the frigid Hudson River on Jan. 15 after being brought down by a flock of geese after takeoff from La Guardia Airport.

"I think if you survive a plane crash, being upgraded permanently is a good gesture too," said passenger Fred Berretta, 41, of Charlotte, N.C., where the Airbus A320 was headed.

Chairman's Preferred status allows each passenger and a companion first-class domestic travel when seats are available, one upgrade to Europe or Hawaii, choice seats and priority check-in.

"We would very much like to see you on a future US Airways flight soon," airline CEO Doug Parker wrote.

The airline has already sent out $5,000 checks for lost luggage and other expenses, the newspaper reported.

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