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Crewed Talk

“Heartless Flight Attendant Ruins Mexican Holiday for Heartbroken Grandparents”

“Heartless Flight Attendant Ruins Mexican Holiday for Heartbroken Grandparents”
Amanda Pleva

That’s how it could be portrayed if a situation I’d been in years ago happened today. It would come with accompanying video of me removing their articles from the overhead bin as they begged me to reconsider, and I’d (quietly and apologetically) refused. However, even if the facts came out following a loud and angry call for my head on a platter and a boycott of my airline, it would likely still cast a dark shadow that would take the public relations department years to rebound from.

The reality of the above situation is a lot less interesting, and no one on the plane that day took issue with what happened, but things could have been different. During boarding, a gentleman’s portable oxygen concentrator started sounding a loud alarm. I’d gone over to check on him and his wife, and they said they were trying to fix it. When I’d returned a little while later, the loud beeping hadn’t stopped. It turned out the alarm was indicating a dead battery. I’d asked them to insert a replacement, and that one had turned out to be dead as well. I’d felt terrible doing it, but I had to remove the passengers because he did not have enough oxygen to fly with. They were able to catch a flight to Mexico the next morning, after sufficiently charging the batteries.

Can you see how this might be sensationalized if someone filmed or tweeted about me out of context?

As flight attendants, pilots and gate agents, we all have to make some unpopular decisions. Deservedly or otherwise, not one of us has been spared from a passenger or two of ours who declares that they’ll “never fly this airline again!” But these loud declarations are spreading to social media, which has a habit of making fact of partial stories. The most recent event to be given this treatment – the AA stroller fiasco – has multiple accounts of what really happened coming forward. Some of them have her in the back of the aircraft screaming at the initially professional and calm flight attendant (unlike the footage shown later in the incident) and refusing to comply with his requests to leave the stroller by the door of the aircraft. Others start with the flight attendant being confrontational the entire time and starting the fracas.

But you know what? I wasn’t there. I can’t say for sure. And neither can most of you.

I agree that bad and troubling behavior needs to be called out. In this case, I think we can all agree that the behavior we are shown of the flight attendant is inexcusable. But did the mother make it any better? Does the first class passenger who involves himself by shouting a threat at the flight attendant? In this current climate of passengers vs. airlines, crews have been noticing an increasingly defiant attitude toward the enforcement of rules, with people’s fingers constantly on their cell phones, ready to record at a moment’s notice. It makes it much more difficult to react in a calm and measured manner when one is being threatened in this way.

I’ve been the victim of a situation where a passenger of mine posted on my airline’s Facebook page about me. If one were to believe his account, I’d truly sounded like evil incarnate. But fortunately for me, he’d begun getting mouthy to a gate agent because I hadn’t allowed him to do something that he was not allowed to do in the first place, and several passengers within earshot were aware that he was planning to, and did, demand a free flight and my termination. Those passengers warned me and immediately sent my company their accounts of the situation and commended my handling of it. But, if he’d kept his mouth shut, I might be on the news or out of a job.

I can’t defend the bad behavior of anyone in any of these video accounts. Neither I nor my colleagues make the best decisions 100% of the time. But neither do passengers. People don’t always want to be told what to do. Some people want to have something to complain about in order to demand travel credit or even just a free drink. People don’t have the best motivations all of the time, and it’s becoming a war zone out there. While perhaps what we need on our side is more focus on customer service and conflict resolution, the traveling public also needs to realize that it isn’t a “the customer is always right” environment. There are specific rules in place to guarantee as best we can the comfort and safety of everyone onboard. When things devolve into demands made with a finger on the record button, travel is going to become an unthinkable nightmare. We will see – and are seeing – more aggression, more delays (thanks to taking the time to resolve incidents while still on the ground), and perhaps LESS customer service. Good flight attendants like this one are almost afraid with passengers because we feel like situations are being instigated at the drop of a hat.

Let’s stop being judge, jury and executioner at home – on either side. These stories don’t always have a hero and a villain; rather, they seem to highlight poor behavior and judgment on ALL sides. Airline employees need to remember how best to de-escalate or prevent situations from happening, but we also can’t allow people to gain sainthood without knowing their role in them. There’s always more to every story, and it’s not always found in a 30-second video clip.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

View Comments (24)


  1. Global321

    April 25, 2017 at 4:58 am

    “Let’s stop being judge, jury and executioner at home – on either side. ”

    With all due respect…

    1. Read your own posts.I think some of them would qualify as “judge, jury and executioner”
    2. Like it or not, that is the internet.
    3. Flyertalk posts are probably a majority of very strong opinions that are in the realm of “judge, jury and executioner”

  2. rickg523

    April 25, 2017 at 8:48 am

    It’s become a war zone because your employers decided to follow the advice of a bunch of beancounters who showed them how much bigger executive bonuses could be if they regarded passengers as cargo, instructed staff to treat them as such, with the expectation that steerage customers should respond like a cardboard box in a FedEx plane, and agreements with local law enforcement to dispense with any that don’t.

  3. jbb

    April 25, 2017 at 9:55 am

    US airline crews lost the benefit of the doubt from many consumers only AFTER years of poor service. Go to Asia, or even Europe and these sorts of stories do NOT emerge, or at least not with nearly the frequency as in the US. You put the blame on the ‘defiance’ of consumers, but consumers would not be defiant if your industry treated them with more respect and with a greater level of customer service. The reason that these individual incidents gain so much traction, regardless of whether they are justified or not, is because many of us can relate and can believe them as plausible after countless interactions with inconsiderate or thoughtless flight attendants and ground crew of US airlines.

    A thought experiment: If I had seen a similar video on a Singapore Airlines flight, I would be much more likely to think that there was more to the story because my experience with them has been consistently thoughtful and customer-focused. By contrast, my experiences on United have been mediocre at best, so when I see a bad customer experience video on that airline, I find it at least plausible and are much less likely to give them the benefit of the doubt. You see how that works? One airline with a strong service-oriented culture and delivery gets the benefit of the doubt, the other airline doesn’t. You reap what you sow, and the US airlines are very much facing a backlash of their own making.

  4. UncleDude

    April 25, 2017 at 10:31 am

    As I see it most USA Airline FA..Female appear to be between 40 and 50.

    As somebody who has kindly endured The Menopause with my wife, Its made me appreciate its just something we all have to contend with.

    How often do you see an Asian or even European Female FA over 40?

  5. KRSW

    April 25, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    Maybe if US-based flight crews actually gave a s**t about their customers and provided actual customer service, the public would be willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. Even flying in Paid F as a Platinum/Ubermenchen on a US carrier isn’t enough to get you good service.

    When you see FAs who seem to go to the extremes to avoid taking care of passengers and just huddle and chat amongst themselves in the galley the entire flight, what are the passengers supposed to think?

    @rickg523 — Beancounters have absolutely nothing to do with the nasty attitudes that many US FAs have. If you don’t like the politics at your job, leave. Yes, the seniority system at the US airlines sucks, but that’s the way the industry works here. Everyone who is flight crew was well aware of that when they signed on. I would also argue this seniority system is also why we get such crappy service — the airlines don’t care (per union contract) how terrible their FAs are. Seniority is all that matters. I’ve had jobs where management truly were a bunch of bean counters. We couldn’t even get the tools and supplies needed to do our jobs, but you better believe we still made sure the customers were taken care of with the best we could do given the circumstances. Many of our customers were aware of how dire our predicament was and were very kind and appreciative of the extra effort it took us to keep things seemingly operational.

  6. glennaa11

    April 25, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    I agree that front line employees often have their hands tied by stupid corporate policies. And these airlines only care about 1 thing – shareholder value. Passengers should sit down, shut up and fork over their cash. The reason it seems like a war zone is that people have been worn down by years of poor service, airlines shoving more and more seats into the cabin and cutting the number of flights to the point where load factors are through the roof. Put 150 strangers in such tight confines for several hours and people lose their patience. And that’s after putting up with standing in line to participate in security theater and sitting in cramped terminals. The airlines need to look in the mirror to find the root cause of these problems.

  7. Happydayy

    April 26, 2017 at 12:58 am

    The truth is somewhere in between. Unreasonable passengers, FAs chatting and ignoring service duties, bean counters increasing seat numbers and videos that only show a part of the story. But I feel that airlines should never ask a seated passenger to move to a lower class of service or leave the plane without asking for volunteers and offering compensation. A seated passenger must never be forced to leave his seat just because the seat is needed.

  8. Marathon Man

    April 27, 2017 at 3:26 am

    Being a member of an airline staff has become increasingly harder and I have found that the kinds of people that manage to retain these jobs–especially that of a flight attendant on a major us carrier–have or have developed a few certain personality traits as a direct response to the type of job they are supposed to do:

    1) snappy — even if relatively jovial or outwardly friendly, FAs are often snappy and quick talking, like a fast talking radio add disclaimer when you hear the 30 seconds of overly fast talk at the end of a commercial.

    2) uptight — once again, even if acting friendly, FAs tend to be wound up and under stress or looking like it at all times. Yes, the job comes with many tasks they must do at once but this stress does ooze off on to the passengers. Someone like me definitely feels it and even probably reacts to it. And therefore, if there were a confrontation, you can see why some people cannot remain calm. the un-calmness floating around the plane is apparent!

    3) Acting higher up than you — They tend to view most passengers in the same way a teacher may view a room full of toddlers. Now much of this comes from the fact that as humans, we always seem to feel we know more than the newbies or the green people in a situation… we have done this many times before so anyone new to it is lesser than us or lower. And a FA has in fact flown a lot more than any of us, so they treat you this way by nature.

    4) Close-minded — even if not intending to be, someone working in this job shuts off much of everything else. Even when not working they are like this. You cannot usually joke about something off topic or discuss issues outside of work related stuff, and when work does come up, it’s all about security and safety.

    5) Too much into security and safety — yeah I know, planes, flying, terrorists, etc… But it has trickled down to mean that everything and everyone IS a potential threat all the time! Drop a napkin and reach down for it when a FA is rushing by and she almost trips? You could get snapped at for this and even worse! You could have done that on purpose and could be a flight risk!

    6) Too serious about the job — this comes from the FACT that the airlines, their employers, have put SO much pressure on staff and instilled so many rules and protocol they MUST follow or else, that everyone is under stress to keep up all the time. It is horrible. We passengers are in the way!

    7) Followers — Many FAs are rule followers, and do not ever ever make exceptions for you because if they did, they would have to do it for everyone else. That’s bull. People are unable or unwilling to make educated exceptions these days when situations involve extenuating circumstances. Instead they just go with protocol and you know what? Often times that is the wrong choice.

    i could go on, but you can tell I have no love for airlines or their staff and have run into some pretty bad ones in 35 years of flying.

  9. jonlevy

    April 27, 2017 at 3:45 am

    No I think the airlines are the ones are at fault – pay employees as little as possible and hire cheap and Part Times and maximize profits by jamming passengers in like livestock, maximize bonuses and dividends. Since the markets reward cheapness and meaness, I think the government is going to have to step and regulate.

  10. MitchR

    April 27, 2017 at 3:54 am

    In 36 years and over 5 million miles, I can count the number of incidents that I have had with airline personnel on two hands. Not many, but they were huge. There are thousands of very professional airline employees out there but there are some who are toxic and hate their jobs but stay on because they apparently don’t have anything else to do. This isn’t “Peoples Court,” I have seen many occasions in which gate agents and flight attendants anointed themselves as Judge and Jury. Most of my incidents have been the result of outrageous conduct on the part of airline employees. They include a gate agent who went off on me and, after her supervisor corrected her, came onto the plane to go off on me some more; a gate agent who stated “so you are trying to ‘Jew’ me out of a voucher;” and an airline employee travelling on a pass who flashed her ID at a passenger and demanded that he give up his seat so that she could sit there instead of her assigned bulkhead seat. The airlines should be more aggressive about counselling these people. They don’t need to be displaying their attitudes to passengers. As in any business a small number of people cause the majority of the issues.

  11. docntx

    April 27, 2017 at 4:07 am

    Thank you for sharing, and opening the discussion in a rather creative way. You were the kind, gentle parent, saying, no,my (elderly) children, it is not safe for you to travel under the current circumstances. Not much of a truly gray area in this one.
    In my mind, most of the bad incidents seem to be triggered by Airline Staff going on power trips. There is this perception that Airline Staff suddenly can become omnipotent rulers. Bottom line, not everybody seems to be able to handle the power granted to them.

  12. drabnosiop

    April 27, 2017 at 4:37 am

    Yep to Rickg523, jbb and other similars. In my experience Flight Attendant/other employee rudeness (especially UAL’s) outnumber Passenger rudeness and lack of proper SERVILE mentality about 10 to 1. Maybe more, now that FAs are backed up by armed, uniformed force of law. That tends to intimidate a plain old traveler.

    Besides, didn’t they choose a “service” profession? Most passengers didn’t know they were volunteering PLUS paying through the nose to be treated like dirt. Oh. Buyer Beware, eh?

  13. Freebird

    April 27, 2017 at 6:05 am

    Come on, the case described here isn’t even close in nature to the recent incidents. Is the writer suggesting that the couple would have gladly flown with insufficient oxygen and the other passengers in the near vicinity would have applauded her to keep the annoying noise source on the plane?

  14. gbcox

    April 27, 2017 at 6:29 am

    Not buying it. Don’t blame the customer. Flight attendants are suppose to be trained to handle such situations – apparently, either the training needs to be updated or some Flight Attendants need to go for a refresher course. In the stroller incident (according to reports) the passenger apparently was told by another flight attendant it was OK for her to bring the stroller on board. Then we have another flight attendant yanking it from her hands. I tend to believe the passenger being given the go ahead by another flight attendant, because whenever I board there is always a flight attendant at the door as passengers board for that very purpose. You compare your story about the oxygen. Did you use force and yank it from a senior citizen. No, you did not. Did other passengers stand up and confront you on your atrocious behavior? No, because you behaved appropriately. The premise of your article is apples and oranges.

  15. SamirD

    April 27, 2017 at 7:37 am

    Well said. For anyone facing telling people day-in and day-out things they don’t want to hear, the environment is downright hostile at times. I hope that FAs don’t have to resort to what I have to–I wear a bodycam to capture each and every time I face people where a confrontation may arise. And many of these very ugly interactions are captured . I have yet to publish them to highlight the problem and the company that is behind instigating these interactions (the people involved are just pawns), but that time is coming.

    The reason these ‘half-truth’ videos get so much attention is because they are in that half-space between entertainment and news, which the social media platforms love because they don’t have the liability of a publisher (as of yet–they have immunity due to a section in a federal communications act). But in fact, they are publishing–and profiting–from this content, much of which because of its slanderous or libelous nature damages other parties by being published. If the social media engine wasn’t there, these stories would have to undergo the scrutiny of traditional media and be more factual than sensational and imo the world would be a better place. The stories themselves are not the problem as the facts in each of these events do help change things for the better, but the non-professional way of presenting these stories is causing more harm than good imo.

  16. chadbag

    April 27, 2017 at 7:43 am

    Customers have been “nickel and dimed” to death, treated poorly, airline employees have been put into straight jackets by their employers with policies that don’t allow any initiative (different airlines to different degrees), for so long, that customers automatically assume the worst when anything happens.

    I recently booked a flight in economy for my family to Osaka from the US (based on really really good fares that showed up for a couple days) on AA. But I made sure that the actual flights I chose were codeshare with JAL as I know that AA planes are shabbier (based on experience and comments on the same flights/planes in forums) and the AA service sucks in comparison. Customers HAVE been treated like cargo for so long that they no longer give the benefit of the doubt to the airline or its representatives.

    I recently flew SAS to Sweden. That flight was a joy compared to my recent US airline experiences (domestic and international). Airlines have asked for this based on their treatment of passengers by trying to squeeze the last ounce of blood from them when they fly.

    Having said that, my Delta experiences have been best out of the US airlines I have flown in the last few years. Their gate staff seems better able to handle situations (take initiative) when an oversold situation happens, and they have in general been more pleasant in the air as well.

    All airlines have great people working for them (and also not so great), but often the airline culture and policies put them in straight jackets so that they cannot solve problems using any sort of initiative. For me, it goes back to the way airlines treat customers in an effort to squeeze every last drop of blood. The bean counters and high level managers who got stupid MBAs that focus on the numbers, not the service.

  17. makfan

    April 27, 2017 at 7:55 am

    Sometimes I feel like I live in a different world when I read these comments. Have I ever had a bad flight attendant? Yes. But I have had so many really good ones over the years. Maybe if we passengers could not direct our anger at the airline management policies towards the people we deal with, we would see better service in return. The FAs can’t make things magically appear that have been cut, but they can certainly make us feel a little more welcome.

    I’m in the midst of a RTW trip and on every flight I have taken a few minutes to thank the flight attendants. All have been so kind to me, wishing me a fun time. A few years ago I had a passenger recline his seat to the max during the takeoff roll and a flight attendant saw it happen. When she started the drink service she said she saw what happened and what did I want to drink. When I ordered a cocktail she didn’t charge me. On the way out she hoped I got an upgrade on the longer segment. All because I was decent and didn’t blame her because I had a jerk seated in front of me.

  18. NotSoFrequentColorado

    April 27, 2017 at 8:09 am

    Full disclosure: I have never had a really terrible experience with an FA on any airline. But what I want to mention is another reason we’re getting mediocre-to-bad service: The post 9/11 regulations and environment that make it dangerous to even complain about airline service. People can get accused of “interfering with flight crew” and booted off the plane or even arrested!

  19. redleader74

    April 27, 2017 at 8:14 am

    yes to what this guy above said:

    “US airline crews lost the benefit of the doubt from many consumers only AFTER years of poor service. Go to Asia, or even Europe and these sorts of stories do NOT emerge, or at least not with nearly the frequency as in the US….A thought experiment: If I had seen a similar video on a Singapore Airlines flight, I would be much more likely to think that there was more to the story because my experience with them has been consistently thoughtful and customer-focused. By contrast, my experiences on United have been mediocre at best, so when I see a bad customer experience video on that airline, I find it at least plausible and are much less likely to give them the benefit of the doubt. You see how that works? One airline with a strong service-oriented culture and delivery gets the benefit of the doubt, the other airline doesn’t. You reap what you sow, and the US airlines are very much facing a backlash of their own making.”

    I’ve seen this position discussed many times yet can’t seem to find an answer…just WHY is it that the foreign carriers (premium foreign carriers), especially Asian carriers, are just so far ahead of US carriers when it comes to the entire flight experience. Is there something so fundamentally flawed about US carriers? Sure it may not be that ALL US carrier FA’s are bad, or every single US carrier plane is outdated and wrought with problems, but as many have mentioned, it happens ENOUGH times and with enough CONSISTENCY that we already expect sub par performance and seldom take the carrier’s side of the story. So to answer some of the questions posed by this article….there’s your answer.

  20. genen

    April 27, 2017 at 9:28 am

    Very biased article IMHO
    Main point that is forgotten is who is the customer?
    I’ve flown for business since 1996 and have seen airline service eroding year by year in the US. Every international flight on a non-us carrier reminds me of how things used to be back when we had stewardesses instead of flight attendants, they were all under 30 and showed respect for people who provided them jobs by buying tickets, when “we know you have a choice in airlines…” actually meant something, when a “full” flight was one where every other seat was taken… back when flying was a pleasurable experience.

    Let’s face it, US airlines are public transit in the sky, no better than NY subway or D.C. Bus lines and first class is a taxi cab experience, not a limo.

  21. KRSW

    April 27, 2017 at 9:52 am

    @Redleader74: Unions.

    If an FA on a foreign carrier does well, they get promoted. If they get too many complaints, they’re fired. In the USA, the date you’re hired / senority # is all that matters. Doesn’t matter whether you’re the worst or the best, the union’s going to cover your tail and airline policies only look at senority, per union contract.

    @makfan: I’ve worked for some places with absolutely miserable customer-service policies. I did everything in my power to make things right and it was truly appreciated by our customers. So much of what the commenters are talking about are the basics airline staff should be doing — we’re only asking them to do their jobs here, not above and beyond. FAs hiding in the galley and getting nasty when you ring a call bell has *nothing* to do with management and bean-counters.

    @chadbag: Exactly what we do! Even my company’s business travel rule-of-thumb is to get employees on foreign metal ASAP. Life often gets MUCH better on the foreign carriers, even in Y. All of this is business/lost profits the US carriers are missing out on. I’d love to give US companies the business, but I refuse to pay for a product with poor customer service.

  22. redleader74

    April 28, 2017 at 4:16 pm


    “@Redleader74: Unions.
    If an FA on a foreign carrier does well, they get promoted. If they get too many complaints, they’re fired. In the USA, the date you’re hired / senority # is all that matters. Doesn’t matter whether you’re the worst or the best, the union’s going to cover your tail and airline policies only look at senority, per union contract. ”

    Ah yes, of course….although I had a different theory. That is, that perhaps the FA’s on US airlines see their Asian counterparts as being too “submissive” and “subservient” that there’s no way they could ever stoop to that level, and that they have too much pride and entitlement to lower themselves to that level. While this is not necessarily a bad attitude to have in some situations, it doesn’t come across too well in a FA. Again, this is just one theory. But as another person here noted…whatever the Asian airlines are doing with regards to FA training and overall service mentality, it’s working and you’re not seeing the same stories, attitudes, and overall anti-airline/anti-FA sentiment over there than you are here.

  23. IanFromHKG

    May 1, 2017 at 9:40 pm

    Interesting article and responses.

    I cannot help but think that many of the problems that US airlines face are to do with unions. This is an area where I have mixed views. When unions become too powerful – a situation that was crippling Britain until Maggie took on the most intransigent of the unions and broke them – the culture of customer service can all too easily be replaced by one of entitlement.

    I do not want to suggest that unions are a bad thing – they do a lot of good. As an employed lawyer, I have occasionally wanted to have a union of my own! (Off topic – why ISN’T there a lawyers’ union? I have practised in England and Hong Kong and worked for an American bank – no union available to any of us!.) But there has to be a balance of power. When a company is unable to introduce much-needed reforms – I seem to recall that AA had to resort to bankruptcy proceedings to achieve these – then priorities go out of whack.

    Any commercial company must ultimately make money (or at least break even) to be sustainable. It is axiomatic that without monopolistic rights, this can only be achieved by giving customers a product that they want or need at a price they can afford. If there is competition, the best way to achieve profits is to provide (or at least be perceived to provide) either a better product or better value, and preferably both, on a basis that can still make money. The last part of that (profitability) often requires scale.

    AA transformed themselves. I have been hugely impressed by (although I am unlikely ever to use) the new Delta business class seat. US airlines are now providing hard products I would be happy to pay for. Soft product, however, is more difficult to achieve, particularly with an entrenched workforce. When genuine cabin or other airline crew who take a pride in their jobs and the service they provide to their customers make even a tiny little bit of extra effort, they can transform the customer experience. I am lucky enough to have encountered many of them. And unlucky enough to have encountered far more “do it by the book (i.e. the bare minimum), everything else is too much trouble, why should I use my initiative to help someone, my job would be so much easier if we didn’t have ****ing passengers” crew. If airlines had more freedom to reward the former (an investment which I am sure would pay off) and get rid of the latter, just think how attitudes and service levels could change.

    As a side note, I became an economic migrant some 24 years ago when I moved to Hong Kong. Over the intervening years, as we have retained a home in the UK, we became increasingly disenchanted with how difficult it was to get anything done in the UK. Funnily enough, the inflow of economic migrants from other parts of Europe in the last few years have driven huge service improvements in Britain. It is now possible to get things done within a reasonable timeframe. Commercial competition (which has been fostered by deregulation) has also helped. Yet curiously, Hong Kong – which has more monopolistic businesses than I like from an ideological perspective – is extraordinarily efficient in most things. Gas bottle suppliers are limited and registered but when my balcony heater ran out and I realised my spare bottle was also empty (my bad), I got replacements in three hours. When we bought our first apartment, and we had a problem with one of our water heaters (HK tends to use instant water heaters rather than hot water tanks, for space reasons) I was astonished on calling the (monopoly) gas company to get a repairman at 9am the day after I called (during the evening), and to be told after it was fixed that there was nothing to pay since the fee (which I had completely failed to notice) on my monthly gas bill of approximately US$1.30 covered all maintenance.

    Asian airlines have an advantage here since there is a much more service-oriented (without needing a tip!) mentality and a strong work ethic. There is definitely a cultural element at play here. But let’s hope that all airlines find a way, with government help, to be able to achieve a motivated, customer-centric, service-oriented staffing model. And let’s hope that certain unions, operating with short-term desires to extract as much money from employers while delivering as little service as possible, don’t prevail; and nor do management groups operating with short-term desires to maximise their bonuses (oh, sorry – “shareholder value”) by delivering services as cheaply as possible.

  24. jeffreyt2000

    May 13, 2017 at 9:11 am

    Interesting that even here the comments are filled with negative responses to the airlines. As a frequent flyer logging over 120K to 150K miles each year for the past 10 years I have obviously experienced rude flight attendants, poor gate service, repeatedly delayed flights, declining quality of flight service and amenities, lowering the value of the FF miles accumulated, and many other examples of negative behavior by the airlines. Yes I have had a couple major complaints with airlines, but I contact the airlines directly, not use the social media “see how bad I was treated” crutch.

    But what bothers me more during my travels? The other passengers – by far. Every trip seems to include passengers hogging overhead bins on crowded planes, those walking through terminals looking at their phones and running into other people, drunk passengers talking loudly entire flights, people sitting in the wrong seats and not wanting to move, and numerous other bad passenger behaivior examples.

    In the 3 weeks I experienced 2 prime examples of very rude passengers and professional flight attendants:

    First – on a United flight to Denver the 250lb man sitting in the non-reclining exit row in front of me insisted that his non-reclining seat must recline even though several passengers and the flight attendant told him it didn’t. He repeatedly tried to forcefully recline the seat until he broke it – when it suddenly reclined into me spilling my drink onto me and the person next to me. Fortunately I had closed my laptop because I couldn’t work with the tray table bouncing as he tried to force the seat to recline, otherwise I would have had a shattered screen to go along with my wet clothes. No apology, just more complaints about poorly made seats, and even more complaints when he was moved to a regular economy seat because he could no longer sit in that seat – it had to be folded forward so it wouldn’t block the exit row. He continued to harass the flight attendant that he paid for an economy plus seat so he should sit in one, even though there were none empty and he broke his own seat. The flight attendants put up with all of his crap and were very professional the entire time.

    Second, on 15+ hour flight to Dubai on a nice and quiet A380 the man across the aisle made a phone call – on speakerphone – while everyone around him was trying to sleep. For 20 minutes he and his wife spoke to their relatives on the speakerphone waking up all those around them. We called the flight attendant over and she asked them to move to the galley area or to the back of the plane and they refused. They continued the call for another 10 minutes after that – even with passengers around them asking to them to quiet down. In addition, the man burped loudly several times during each meal and farted loudly after each meal.

    But what can I do about these? I can’t sue the airline. I can’t sue the fellow passengers. Maybe I could complain online and get some social outrage, but to what effect.

    So as I read the comments above, I have to wonder – how many of the people posting the negative comments towards the airlines are the kind of passengers that would behave badly and then complain about the airlines while the other passengers would think that they (the passengers) are the problem.

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Reaching Final Descent: Flight Attendants, Depression & Suicide

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Water Landings: Certain Death?

Amanda PlevaJune 5, 2018

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