Do You Know Who I Am? Who Cares?!?

“Do You Know Who I Am?” Photograph ©istockphoto.com by drbimages.

You have most likely encountered a particular type of person in your travels: someone who thinks he is so important and so entitled that the world needs to acquiesce to his every whim and demand while oblivious to the world around him. All this self-absorbed person cares about is having his needs met in any way possible and however necessary — even if it happens to be at the expense of other people.

When denied or confronted, the person angrily blurts out in frustration: “Do you know who I am?!?” — possibly followed by a conspicuous exhibit of an annoying yet entertaining display of behavior, consisting of such elements as shouting, stomping and angry “harrumphing” or — in egregious cases — almost knocking other passengers over just to secure what they believe is entitled to them.

The question Do You Know Who I Am? has become so engrained in the FlyerTalk vernacular that it goes by the acronym of DYKWIA.

It is fairly easy to spot a DYKWIA out “in the wild”: Consider for your perusal the story of the passenger who lied to a flight attendant when she asked him to turn off his portable electronic device. Calling his bluff, she pressed the button on his device, which angered him as he responded ”I’ve never had anyone do this before. I’m Concierge Key and you should really be treating me better! Can you give me your card?”

I am surprised he asked — not demanded — for her to give him her card.

A DYKWIA can be female as well as male. For example, there was the woman who — in an attempt to protect her son who has a peanut allergy — became agitated with the captain of the aircraft who would request that those passengers seated within six surrounding rows of her son refrain from consuming peanuts, even though the policy of the airline is three surrounding rows.

Despite going above and beyond corporate policy, what the captain did was not good enough, as she demanded that the entire airplane to be free of peanuts. Her threats to the flight attendant supposedly almost caused a diversion of the flight itself.

Seat assignments can bring out the DYKWIA in people: in the case of a fellow passenger who wanted an additional seat empty and claimed to have paid for it, FlyerTalk member pvtwong requested seat 3J but was forced to move to seat 3D. The manifest showed that that other passenger did not pay for a second seat, to which she asked if pvtwong and the flight attendant “knew who she was because she was pretty important and that she needs both seats to do her work”, that she does not like to be disturbed, and that the data on her laptop computer is “very sensitive.”

I am not sure how she convinced anyone to be removed from his or her assigned seat, but — despite her rudeness — pvtwong decided to return in seat 3D for the remainder of the flight instead of fight for the coveted seat 3J.

What would you do if a fellow passenger encroaches upon your space aboard the aircraft where some of his massive stack of newspapers and magazines falls onto your lap with no apologies while proudly proclaiming his elite status?

Sometimes the seat on a bus can cause a person to supposedly behave so much like a DYKWIA that it can delay fellow passengers. An elderly woman in seat 1A refused to allow the bus in Argentina to move unless her faulty seat belt was repaired — and she refused to move to an empty seat, delaying the trip by more than an hour. Mounting anger from fellow passengers did not affect her at all.

One man apparently wanted an entire separate bus for himself, since he was denied an escort or “fast track” status for a flight to Glasgow.

How about the man who boarded an overcrowded train in Germany and demanded that the elderly woman sitting in an upgraded seat vacate the seat so that he can sit there? What would you have done if you witnessed this? Did the woman relent?

You are apparently never too young to adapt the behavior of a DYKWIA, as exhibited by this young girl who purposely let the entire cabin of passengers know that she is regularly on flights between the United States and Australia and that “Mommy and Daddy are Global Services and are sitting in first class, so of course they’ll hold the plane for us!”

This man and woman had baggage — in more ways than one — which they did not want to check. They threw a fit while complaining that “It will get RUINED” and “I have never been treated this way on any airline, I’m writing a letter.”

Sometimes the very name of the frequent flier loyalty program can connote entitlement — such as the case of the woman who is assigned in the economy class cabin takes her baby to the lavatory in the premium class cabin before brazenly taking a seat in that cabin simply because she is “an Executive Club member.”

Access to an airport lounge can be one of the most frequent causes of the display of DYKWIA behavior — such as this person who attempted to enter an airport lounge without proper verification. He succeeded — primarily because the person behind the desk at the airport lounge apparently had had enough of him.

Once in the airport lounge, the DYKWIA behavior does not stop there. Give one of these people a telephone of any kind and all of the patrons in the airport lounge can listen in on the loud conversation.

The boarding process may arguably be another one of the most common ways to bring out the DYKWIA in a person who wants to board the aircraft as soon as possible — such as in this case in Orlando. How dare they announce that military personnel board the aircraft before this passenger with elite status and his wife?

Don’t you just love when a DYKWIA uses statements such as how he “controls a $1 million airline contract with his company and unless he heard from Jeff Smisek personally he’d be taking his business to Delta” or “we are in the middle of negotiating a multi-million dollar agreement with AA and I’ll make sure my company knows about this!” in order to threaten his way to getting what he wants or needs — in this case, attempting to board early?

Yeah — that’ll do it. I am certain that the gate agent was unable to sleep later that night — although I have had some gate agents and telephone reservations agents tell me about how some people with extreme DYKWIA tendencies have actually caused them to cry while they were simply attempting to do their job.

Beyond threats, behaving like a DYKWIA can go too far — such as in the case of a man who was arrested for pushing a gate agent against a wall after attempting to board early multiple times despite his claim that he was an elite member of the highest tier; a man who was arrested for refusing the orders of a flight attendant to turn off his mobile telephone; or when law enforcement officers used “stun guns” to control a drunk person believed to be a close relative of the king of Bahrain…

…and that “prince” was forced off of the aircraft shortly afterwards.

Speaking of royalty, could one actually be justified in being a DYKWIA — such as when you are an elite member of the frequent flier loyalty program of an airline who is actually entitled to a benefit, amenity or service but does not receive it? Are you entitled to an upgrade or other special treatment simply because you are:

 

“Karma” can come back to strike a DYKWIA — such as when a man and his female companion cut in front of a line at the front desk of a hotel to check in when clothing flew everywhere once he picked up the handle of his luggage to transport to his hotel room.

I am not disputing the validity of the issues with any of the above examples. However, behaving like a DYKWIA will most likely further exacerbate a situation rather than resolve it. I have said it before and will say it again: politeness and respect towards others goes a long way towards improving situations and resolving issues.

What do you do when you encounter a person who behaves like a DYKWIA? How do you react to his or her behavior? Do you admit to being a DYKWIA yourself — or, at least, dress like one? Do you strive to be a DYKWIA? Please share your experiences pertaining to those times when you witnessed a DYKWIA in action or have actually been confronted by one.

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Comments (Showing 10 of 10)

  • kirkwoodj at 7:39pm May 31, 2013

    My favorite is the DYKWIA during IRROPS, who barked this at the GA, who then calmly got on the PA and asked “Does anyone know who this person is? I have someone here who does not know who they are!” etc. Makes me smile when I think about it, and helps me remember to smile or perhaps laugh at those exhibiting above behaviors.

  • mandolino at 1:38am June 01, 2013

    I most detest those who start behaving like this at the lost/delayed baggage counter.

    Yeah yeah, we’ve lost our bags too, and the sooner you shut up and fill in the form the sooner we can all go home. The people here aren’t the ones who “lost” (although they’re seldom actually *lost*) your bags, they’re the ones who are trying to help you get them back, so stop shouting at them.

  • Swissaire at 12:14pm June 01, 2013

    The following once occurred a few years ago at International airline counter at LAX.

    Passenger: ” What do you mean no upgrades to First ! DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM ? ”

    Ticket Agent: ” I see. Just one minute, sir. ” ( A call is made to the Manager )

    Manager ( arriving ): ” Yes ?

    TA:” We have a problem here. ”

    Mgr: ” And ? ”

    TA: ” This person doesn’t know who he is. “

  • laggers at 2:26pm June 01, 2013

    IF these people don’t know who they are, it’s not our place to tell them.

  • duniawala at 9:22am June 02, 2013

    What a depressing article. I just ignore these people. Why ruin my day.

  • mobilebuddha at 2:58pm June 03, 2013

    why ignore when you can make fun of them?

  • corbetti at 5:44pm June 03, 2013

    I’m sure i’ll get flamed here, but as a former member of the US Army, I take special exception to the “let the members of the military in uniform board first” nonsense that our overly patriotic airlines seem to indulge in.

    We volunteered to serve, and frankly most people in the service are not “heroes” and are NOT in harm’s way. The biggest danger for someone flying a predator drone is getting in a traffic accident on the way home from the base (stateside, btw) to their house at the end of their shift.

  • relangford at 9:24pm June 03, 2013

    Agree with corbetti. I am retired military and current Army civilian employee. Especially in the US, most “military in uniform” are not from combat areas. When I returned from combat, I traveled in civilian clothes, and would not have been allowed to board early.

  • scottinaz at 1:37pm June 04, 2013

    I had an experience on an aa flight from Miami to Phx yesterday. I noticed two passengers were congregated by the cockpit door and the toilet for an hour or so chatting with the flight attendant. One was leaning on the cockpit door and the other on the toilet door. At first I was curious and then I thought there was something wrong. So I went to the back of the plane and asked another flight attendant if it was allowed to congregate at the cockpit door as the two gentlemen at the front were doing. I said I thought there was a regulation prohibiting that. She told me that regulation did not apply to presidents of the company.
    This irritated me so I went up and tapped one of the gentlemen on the shoulder and asked him if it was allowed to congregate by the cockpit door and his response indicated it was OK since they were presidents of the company. I asked if the FAA would agree with that assessment and they said they would. So I asked them for their names and it turned out to be Art Torno VP AA and J. Scott Kirby President USAirways.
    It seemed they truly believed the regulations that apply to the rest of us don’t apply to them. The ultimate in DYKWIA.

  • WBrinegar at 11:03am September 06, 2013

    Art Torno VP AA and J. Scott Kirby President USAirways could also fly IN the cockpit as an airline employee. They are employees, badges, ID’s and everything. Non-rev FAs do it frequently. Not a whole lot of difference IMHO.

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