Skip to content

"The ultimate gift." Remembering the Miracle on the Hudson 13 years later

Jan. 15, 2022
5 min read
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Editor's Note

This post was updated with new information.

It was a bitterly cold day on the Hudson River on this day 13 years ago.

That's the day a true miracle of piloting skill and luck came together as US Airways flight 1549 had a bird strike and made an emergency landing on the Hudson River with no loss of life.

Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger was piloting the Airbus A320 when he hit a flock of geese just after takeoff on the flight to Charlotte. The plane lost both engines and Sullenberger and his co-pilot Jeff Skiles were able to essentially glide the plane onto the river's surface and keep it floating until the passengers and crew could be rescued.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

It's since been rightly described as the "Miracle on the Hudson."

Among the 155 souls on board? Ric Elias: co-founder and CEO of Red Ventures, TPG's parent company.

Here's a look back at some of our most interesting stories in the aftermath of the flight.

Rescue boats float next to a US Airways plane floating in the water after crashing into the Hudson River in the afternoon on January 15, 2009, in New York City. The Airbus 320 flight 1549 crashed shortly after takeoff from LaGuardia Airport heading to Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jerritt Clark/Getty Images)

The reunion of a lifetime

One of our favorite meetups out of all the TPG Awards events was when Red Ventures founder Ric Elias got to meet Sullenberger and shake his hand as we approached the 10th anniversary of the crash.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Elias and Capt. Sully had not seen each other since the close call, but they were reunited at the inaugural TPG Awards in 2018. The awards were held on the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum that is berthed on the very same Hudson River. Sullenberger was being honored with The Points Guy Hero Award.

Capt. Sullenberger is given a TPG Hero Award in December 2018. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for The Points Guy)

"I waited for this moment for 10 years," Elias said when the two ran into each other on the award show red carpet. "I always wondered what would I say? 'Thank you' seems completely inadequate, and 'I love you' seems inappropriate. When someone gives you a second chance at life ... maybe English will come up with a new word for it."

Here's the link to our story.

Related: Red Ventures co-founder Ric Elias tells the story of surviving in the "Miracle on the Hudson."

What good training can do

Rescue workers in boats assist a US Airways plane floating in the water after crashing into the Hudson River in New York City. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Sully also made the list from a story back in 2019 recapping how pilots prepare for the worst possible outcomes, including dual engine failure.

Related: What happens when a pilot loses an engine?

Charlie Page quoted the captain:

“I remember vividly my first three thoughts: ‘This can’t be happening!’ Having read about accident flights before, I know a very common, very typical thought rooted in disbelief. Followed immediately by ‘This doesn’t happen to me!’ And the third thought was more of a realization that, unlike all the other flights, this one probably would not end on a runway with the aircraft undamaged.”

You can read more about that here.

Carolinas Aviation Museum renamed for Sully

Capt. Chesley Sullenberger stands in front of the US Airways flight 1549 fuselage at the Carolinas Aviation Museum on June 11, 2011. (Todd Sumlin/Charlotte Observer/MCT via Getty Images)

On Friday, Jan. 15, 2022, we learned the Carolinas Aviation Museum, in the middle of a major overhaul and expansion, is getting a new name.

Related: Carolinas Aviation Museum renamed in honor of Capt. Sully Sullenberger.

The Smithsonian-affiliated museum, based in Charlotte, will reopen in 2023 under the new name which will be unveiled later this year.

#Miraclemoments

The U.S. Airways Airbus A320 is placed on a barge in the Hudson River Saturday, Jan. 17, 2009, in New York City. (Photo by Daniel Barry/Getty Images)

Another of our favorite stories about the anniversary?

A hashtag that sprang up around the 10-year anniversary of the crash, "The Carolinas Air Museum tweeted that the hashtag was a celebration of the “national feeling of hope” that arose after the event. Users quickly took to Twitter to share their own personal experiences, as well as memories of the day.

Featured image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site

Rewards

3 - 4X points
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

Intro offer

60,000 bonus points
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

Annual Fee

$250

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees