Old Mar 2, 10, 1:38 pm
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: USA
Programs: UA/CO(1K-PLT), AA(PLT), QR, EK, Marriott(PLT), Hilton(DMND)
Posts: 9,539
Of Crew Power Trips and egalitarianism (US Airways purser)

Warning, this is long...

Yesterday evening, I boarded a US Airways flight ex-DFW and sat down in seat 1B. I said hello to the purser as I boarded but she gave me this upturned nose deal, so that was the end of that, or so I thought...

I placed both my bags in the overhead and sat down. A few seconds later the purser makes an announcement that because this will be a full flight, each passenger will only be permitted to place one bag in the overhead, with the second bag either placed under the seat in front or checked. A couple more minutes roll by and I get up, remove a bottle of water and an ipod from my carry on bag and place it in the magazine holder in front of me. A few seconds later, the purser makes another announcement... “If you are seated in a bulkhead seat, you are not permitted to place anything in the pocket in front of you. The pockets are reserved for emergency instructions and our award winning inflight magazine, blah, blah, blah”. “That’s funny”, I thought to myself, removing the bottle of water and ipod I had just jammed into the bulkhead pocket. Next, I get up, remove my laptop and aircard from my bag, sit down and start doing some work. The boarding process continues and she began making another announcement requesting that “all passengers keep their electronic devices off, so that we can get going as soon as we close the doors". I put the laptop behind my back (not to annoy her; I do this often, as it helps keep my lower back straight and makes it easier to retrieve my computer when it is needed). I didn't think she saw me, so I was surprised when she made an announcement pertaining to correct storage of laptop computers. Mr. 1A piped up with an observation about how she seems to be making customized announcements for me. I got up, put the laptop in my bag and a few of the other passengers in F chuckled, so I took a bow before sitting back down. A couple of minutes go by and she again makes an announcement about each passenger being allowed to place only one bag in the overhead, and that additional bags placed there will need to be checked.

Then she walked over to me and began moving her lips…
FA: "Excuse me sir, I'm sure you heard my announcements about placing only one bag in the overhead and noticed you have two in there, so I need you to remove one so that I can check it for you."
Me: "I appreciate that. As you can see, both my bags are small, and I'd be happy to comply with your directions if I wasn't in a bulkhead”
FA: "I'm going to have to check one of your bags"
Me: "Is there any room in the closet?"
FA" "I'm going to have to check one of your bags"
Me: "OK, but first can you tell me why you would apply that standard to someone seated in a bulkhead, where there is no foot storage?" It’s a little strange, and frankly I think you are targeting me specifically with your announcements and this request.
FA: [pi$$ed] "Sir, I'm trying to ensure compliance with company policy and be fair to everyone. For security reasons, I need you to give me a bag now!"

I got up to remove a bag from the overhead and while handing it to her said: "How very egalitarian of you, to select just one passenger with whom to demonstrate compliance with what you claim is policy". She didn’t take the bag and stormed into the cockpit. A minute later the captain came out and asked me “Are you going to follow crewmember instructions or get off the plane?” I informed him that I was in fact following crew member directions when the purser stormed off". He told me that I had used offensive language toward a female crewmember and "I don't tolerate that on my ship”. The passenger in 1A interrupted my explanation, which was falling on deaf ears anyway, to point out that I had not been offensive and that the purser seemed to get upset when I used the word "egalitarian". The captain seemed to calm down and stated he would have me removed if there was any more trouble. The purser followed him into the cockpit and a couple of minutes later came out. I was still standing with my bag in my hand and asked her if she was going to check it or not, and she replied “It’s too late for that now – I’ll make an exception this time, but you need to follow our directions in the future if you want to fly with us”.

I was irritated about this, not so much because the purser was making announcements aimed at me - I thought that was funny at the time and assumed she was playing with me. I was irritated because IMO, this was yet more proof that any member of a flight crew can pull the security card or order you to do something ridiculous without any rhyme or reason. I could have reported this but I don't fly US Airways that often and I'm sure Karma will take care of things automatically.
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