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Husband, 10 & 12 year old daughters kicked off flight and abandoned in Rome

Husband, 10 & 12 year old daughters kicked off flight and abandoned in Rome

Old Aug 1, 18, 2:38 pm
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Husband, 10 & 12 year old daughters kicked off flight and abandoned in Rome

reference #: XXXXX

Flight 893

July 23, 2018To Whom It May Concern,



I am writing to file a formal complaint for the rude and unprofessional way that I was treated on Air Canada Flight 893 from Rome to Montreal. I was traveling with my two daughters (ages 10 and 12). We boarded our flight with carry-on bags. My daughters walked on the plane in front of me with their carry-ons, and I was behind them with my carry-on and my backpack and some shopping bags. I moved into my seat to let other passengers pass. My 12 year old daughter lifted her bag up with no problem, but a flight attendant came up to her and told her in a very rude and abrupt manner that her bag was in the overhead bin incorrectly. When my daughter was struggling rotating the bag, the flight attendant switched it for her. At that point I saw my younger daughter struggling trying to hoist her bag into the overhead (again, I was not close to them, I had two people and a bunch of bags between us) and I asked if the flight attendant could help her too. She replied, "NO I CAN'T. THAT IS NOT MY JOB. IT IS YOUR JOB TO HELP YOUR KIDS." I was shocked. I replied, in a calm manner, that I thought part of a flight attendant's job was customer service. She said no, her job was safety. I told her I work in customer service (I own 2 hair salons/spas) and that being a flight attendant was definitely a customer service job. She said no, it was safety. I said it was service and she grabbed my younger daughter’s bag in a very aggressive way and practically threw it into the overhead and stormed away.



After about 10 minutes had passed, a second flight attendant came up to me and asked if there was a problem. I said no there wasn't a problem. She said she heard that there was an altercation between me and another flight attendant. I told her yes, that I thought it was ridiculous that she wouldn't help my daughter with her bag, and said that her job was safety, and a bag falling on the head of a 10 year old child didn't seem to be a safety concern. She told me that she didn't have insurance so if they were injured medically Air Canada wouldn't pay for their medical bills. She seemed to be there to understand what happened on behalf of the first flight attendant. Once she heard my story, she went to get the first flight attendant.



When they both came back, the first flight attendant said "I am still waiting for your apology". I said, "I don't need to apologize to you, the only person I need to apologize to are all the people who are waiting on this flight for this to be resolved". At that point, both of the flight attendants stormed off. At that point, two other passengers stood up, called another flight attendant, and told him I did nothing wrong, that the first flight attendant was blowing everything completely out of proportion.



After about another 10 minutes the captain came up to us, didn't ask a single question, and said, we needed to leave the plane. Again, more passengers came up to the captain and repeated that I did nothing wrong. The captain said that the paperwork was already happening and that I had to leave. I want to repeat, I was told that I needed to apologize to the first flight attendant for my behavior. I didn't raise my voice, I didn't call anyone a name, I didn't call her anything derogatory. I simply said that being a flight attendant is a job that requires customer service. I never even stood up - and for not apologizing my entire family (again, including a 10 year old and a 12 year old) were thrown off of a plane.

My girls want to point out that there were two very kind flight attendants who was crying (because both of my girls were sobbing at this point) and one gave them hugs. When I was leaving, the captain took me to the front of the plane, apologized, and said we will get you on the next flight to Toronto in 1 1/2 hours and you will be back to Chicago soon.



MAYBE if it ended here, I wouldn't be writing emails, my wife wouldn't be on the verge of blowing up every social media platform she has available as her job is social media. She works for an INFLUENCER AGENCY so she can make this ordeal much much bigger than it is so far. But it did not end here.



The bus dropped us off where buses drop you at Rome to pick up your luggage. We went to the Air Canada desk at check in to try to see about the flight to Toronto that the captain had referenced. There was no one there. At that point, I went to airport information desk, and they gave me a phone number for Air Canada and Lufthansa. I walked to the Lufthansa office which was also closed. At that point I realized Air Canada or Lufthansa would not help me so I called my wife in the US. My wife called Air Canada. Air Canada said they could not do anything since Lufthansa owned the ticket. At that point my wife called Lufthansa and they said they could not find any record of the ticket (because it was suspended at that time). Then my wife called American Express since she booked the ticket through them initially. They called Air Canada (who told her to call Lufthansa) and then Lufthansa who told them that they had canceled the ticket as that is their policy.



My wife then booked tickets back to the US for my daughters and me. We booked a hotel online in Rome and took the train to the hotel since we assumed no more flights were going out that night. Once we arrived at the hotel, my wife called us back and told us she got us on a flight out to overnight in Lisbon, Portugal and continue our journey next day. We took the train back to the airport, booked a hotel in Portugal, and got to the front of the ticket line where we were told we had no tickets. It turns out TAP could not confirm the seats held by UAL, so my wife found a flight the next morning, with Swiss Air via Zurich. So we took the train back to Rome again (fortunately I had not canceled my reservation at the Rome hotel) and stayed the night.



The next day was seamless, our flight was one hour late to Zurich and we almost missed our connection, but there was a bus and flight attendants who explained the situation and made sure the next flight waited for us. I am grateful my girls ended their Italy trip with such a positive experience after the traumatic experience of the Air Canada flight the previous day.



Needless to say, the entire fiasco was extremely expensive. I would like to be reimbursed for 3 one way, same day tickets to the US, our hotel rooms in Rome and Lisbon, food for 2 days, and a missed day at my salon. All together I think $10,000 would be a conservative estimate.



I cannot tell you how shocked and disappointed I was in this experience on so many levels. Just because an adult demanded an apology, her ego created a domino effect, that was completely unnecessary, but there were so many level-headed Air Canada employees that could have but, for whatever reason, did not stop it.



I am available at your convenience for any additional details that you wish provided. I look forward to a positive resolution to this matter along with a complete restitution of the financial loss incurred.



Sincerely,

Last edited by tcook052; Aug 2, 18 at 11:49 am Reason: remove personal information
antoniofuga is offline  
Old Aug 2, 18, 4:46 am
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Thread moved to a more appropriate forum.

DanielW
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Old Aug 2, 18, 5:53 am
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Suggest new title: "Father educated on power asymmetry between airline employee and passenger".

I wonder if he's ever refused service to one of his salon customers?
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Old Aug 2, 18, 6:49 am
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I find these tiresome. I honestly donít care.
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Old Aug 2, 18, 7:06 am
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Unfortunately, likely quite more to this account than what is evident.

and OP may have a presumption of what an AC FA can and should do, and demanding a FA to lift a bag overhead is NOT their responsibility - quite clear to all that you must be able to manage your baggage to the overhead yourself, and for children/disabled travelers well caregiver is accountable and for unaccompanied children that is what service fee partly covers, or what wheelchair attendant should do.

and in this case the FA was right, regardless of perception of rudeness. Whether a FA assists, which they routinely do, because of kindness via polite engagement that gets put into the over and above call of duty category, and we have a Thank You Thread for such good works by AC FAs.

And given OP aggressive nature of social media linked threats, strikes me AC will simply counter the PIC made a decision - and when it comes to operational safety he/she has the final say.
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Old Aug 2, 18, 7:20 am
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Hairdresser with sense of entitlement is too lazy to help his own children put their bags in the overhead. Demands FA do it. FA refuses. Hairdresser has hissy fit and sternly lectures FA on "customer service." Captain who has far better things to do tosses hairdresser off aircraft. Hairdresser gets $10,000 lesson in manners.

Outraged hairdresser whines on FT and threatens to sic his wife on AC because she, gasp, works for an INFLUENCER AGENCY!!!!! (whatever the hell that is.) Perhaps Mr. Favaro is unaware that among the greatest influencers of public opinion in Canada is the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, our national radio and television news network. They haven't had any success in changing AC behavior so it is unlikely his wife will get much done from her office in Chicago.

Mr. Favaro, here's a little advice. Next time, help your kids, don't be a jerk and don't lecture the FAs. Happy landings.
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Old Aug 2, 18, 7:32 am
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Yawn. Why do people still think that this is the 1960s and the FA will do anything they ask?

Why do people think being rude is a good approach on an airplane? Or anywhere else?

Why does the OP think that AC cares that his TAP flights werenít booked properly?

What is an INFLUENCER AGENCY?
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Old Aug 2, 18, 7:33 am
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Agree these type of posts are tiresome and agree, there is likely far more to the story than what we're given here. But for the OP (welcome to FT, by the way), I will say this:

No, it is not the flight attendant's job to put your children's bags into the overhead bin.

No, you were not right to try and tell the flight attendant what her job is.

No, you will get absolutely nowhere by threatening to have your wife make a big fuss over social media (working for an INFLUENCER AGENCY no less -- caps yours, not mine).

Putting the emotional content on your letter aside and sticking to the facts, you and your daughters were kicked off the flight because you initiated an altercation with the flight attendant. That's the bottom line, isn't it?

Accordingly, AC will almost certainly deny your claim for compensation, and rightly so. The only reason you and your kids were walked off the flights is because you made the decision to lip off.
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Old Aug 2, 18, 7:35 am
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It's always a bad idea to argue with a Flight Attendant over what you think their job description is. But, if you want to proceed down that path, you can reduce your odds of getting kicked off the plane by waiting until the plane is in the air.

Still a really bad idea. I wonder what the OP thinks they were going to accomplish with that discussion?
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Old Aug 2, 18, 7:41 am
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Originally Posted by 172pilot View Post
Why do people think being rude is a good approach on an airplane? Or anywhere else?
👍🏻

Remarkable things can happen with AC staff, who spent most of the day dealing with exactly this nonsense, when you instead approach them as equals who deserve respect.

sense here is the not so accepting posts in reply to OP will go unheeded by OP


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Old Aug 2, 18, 7:44 am
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There are worse places to be stuck than Rome. Otherwise, it just read as a big yawn-fest.
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Old Aug 2, 18, 7:52 am
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The issue that all of the replies are ignoring is the complete service failure after they left the airplane. The captain told them that they would be taken care of, but that did not happen.
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Old Aug 2, 18, 7:55 am
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On my recent ticket there is this line in the Carry-on Baggage allowance section, with a link to the page on ac.com which says the same thing:
.
  • Your carry-on baggage must be light enough that you can store it in the overhead bin unassisted.
https://www.aircanada.com/ca/en/aco/.../carry-on.html


So, to sum up, advice offered is:
1. Everyone who is anyone needs to read their tickets and ac.com
2. Leave ego at home
3. Accept the fact that some FAs are "moody". Indications of such are not always obvious. Signage would help. You being socially aware would help. Otherwise, keep quiet, don't ask for help unless someone offers and don't talk about "Influencer Agencies" on FT.
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Old Aug 2, 18, 8:12 am
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Originally Posted by smallmj View Post
The issue that all of the replies are ignoring is the complete service failure after they left the airplane. The captain told them that they would be taken care of, but that did not happen.
Iím not convinced of the service failure. The OP seems blind to what he did wrong, he may well be blind to what AC was going to do.
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Old Aug 2, 18, 8:17 am
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In +/- 3 mil flying over nearly 40 years only once saw PIC kick someone off flight, and their behaviour deserved it. Maybe I have been lucky NOT to see more of this but PIC has really important things to do before cabin door closes than engage in cabin customer service issues.
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