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

Jan. 15, 2022
5 min read
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Editor's Note

This post was updated with new information.

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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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Best starter travel card
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
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3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • 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

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases