Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > American Airlines | AAdvantage
Reload this Page >

Flight attendant fills overhead bin with personal items, rude to passenger

Flight attendant fills overhead bin with personal items, rude to passenger

Old Jun 11, 19, 9:24 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2005
Programs: AAdvantage GLD; AGR
Posts: 2,482
Flight attendant fills overhead bin with personal items, rude to passenger

I boarded a recent transatlantic flight on AA (traveling alone with a 3.5yr old toddler) and wanted to stow my cabin bags above our bulkhead seats.

The flight attendant snapped at me not to touch the overhead bin because she had completely filled it with her own hand luggage which she said contained fragile breakable items. So I not only had to put my own luggage far away, further back from our seats, but I also had to inconvenience other passengers on many occasions by leaning over them to open the overheads when I went to retrieve items in flight.

She then had the discourtesy to snap at me again at the end of the flight while I was clearing the floor to hurry me to finish stowing my items into the overhead bins when it was her fault that my items had been stored so far from my seat.

Rationale for booking the bulkhead was to give my toddler more space during the flight but also, since I’m an elite member, easy access to overhead space due to early boarding. Children come with more hand baggage than adults and often need access to things in flight regularly, such as diapers, snacks, toys etc.

Of course I would never have had difficulty here if I’d been able to use the overhead bin intended for my seat. Had I been able to use the assigned bins, I wouldn’t have inconvenienced anyone.

I recognize that cabin crew have their own baggage but surely it must come below the priority of providing space for paying passengers bags?

I was surprised that as a parent traveling alone with a small child I received such unhelpful and unsympathetic treatment. The contrast was particularly striking because BA (on the return codeshare) were so unfailingly polite, kind and helpful.

I would never have complained had the bins been filled with oxygen bottles, aircraft-specific safety items or other passengers’ hand luggage: that’s par for the course and I’ve experienced it in the past.

AA’s response to an emailed complaint was merely an apology.

But isn’t there a systemic issue here about valuing the personal convenience of a cabin crew member’s purchased duty free or objets d’art over the hand baggage of paying customers?
salut0 is offline  
Old Jun 11, 19, 9:48 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Programs: AAdvantage Platinum Pro, Hertz #1 Club Gold Five Star, IHG Platinum, Marriott Gold, HHonors Silver
Posts: 1,498
You're right that it is BS when FA's do this. And there's never any excuse for FA's to be rude to customers. However, beyond an apology from AA, what are you expecting them to do at this point?
nancypants likes this.
GNRMatt is offline  
Old Jun 11, 19, 10:03 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Programs: Global Entry
Posts: 117
I've had something similar happen to me when I was flying on a short-haul regional flight in Mabin Cabin Extra right behind first class with no bulkhead in front of me. The FA had apparently put her luggage underneath the first class seat in front of me prior to general boarding. When I brought this to her attention, I was told that it was her luggage and received no apologies from her. I didn't make a big deal out of it but still thought it was a bit odd since she didn't even bother to ask me first if it was ok with me as a courtesy. This was before I was AA plat so the MCE seat cost me extra $50 at the time of booking, which is why it irked me a bit.
flyinggum is offline  
Old Jun 11, 19, 10:05 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Programs: AA EXP, 2MM lifetime Platinum, Expedia +gold +++
Posts: 1,411
Originally Posted by salut0 View Post
... the overhead bin intended for my seat. Had I been able to use the assigned bins...
There is no such thing as bins intended for your seat or assigned bins, they are all shared space. Maybe things would have gone smoother if you had not thought you were entitled to those bins. That being said, a FA should never be rude to a customer, so I feel for you there. Safe travels...

Originally Posted by flyinggum View Post
I've had something similar happen to me when I was flying on a short-haul regional flight in Mabin Cabin Extra right behind first class with no bulkhead in front of me. The FA had apparently put her luggage underneath the first class seat in front of me prior to general boarding. When I brought this to her attention, I was told that it was her luggage and received no apologies from her. I didn't make a big deal out of it but still thought it was a bit odd since she didn't even bother to ask me first if it was ok with me as a courtesy.
Wow, never encountered this. While overhead bins are shared space, I always thought you can do as you please with the space under the seat in front of you.

Last edited by JY1024; Jun 11, 19 at 3:15 pm Reason: Merged consecutive posts
FAA1996 is offline  
Old Jun 11, 19, 10:08 am
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2005
Programs: AAdvantage GLD; AGR
Posts: 2,482
Originally Posted by FAA1996 View Post
There is no such thing as bins intended for your seat or assigned bins, they are all shared space. Maybe things would have gone smoother if you had not thought you were entitled to those bins. That being said, a FA should never be rude to a customer, so I feel for you there. Safe travels...
You’re right — they are shared space, but shouldn’t that be shared between necessary equipment for the aircraft, and paying passengers’ bags? Also, elite boarding order as a benefit implies some expectation that by getting on early you can expect to find the bin above your seat empty except for other elite passengers’ bags who’ve also boarded then or earlier, and equipment that was already there before anyone boarded the plane.

Originally Posted by GNRMatt View Post
You're right that it is BS when FA's do this. And there's never any excuse for FA's to be rude to customers. However, beyond an apology from AA, what are you expecting them to do at this point?
Some bonus miles would be nice and I’m tempted to ask for them.

But my complaint is actually that this seems to be part of what I sense is an increasing laziness and lackadaisical attitude on the part of AA flight attendants.

On our return BA flight LHR-JFK, the cabin crew not only served drinks and the two meals separately, but came round probably three other times with tea/coffee/water/juice, found us two special meals to make up for the fact that the vegetarian option in economy was all used up, and seemed to be constantly busy but also cheerful.

By contrast, on AA JFK-LHR aside from this disagreeable encounter with the FA, there were no drinks runs and they insisted the shades be lowered even though it was a day flight.

I've discussed that issue on FT in another thread, but my hunch now is that they do that to encourage passengers to sleep so they have to work less hard. I say that because I also often find AA transatlantic flight attendants chatting on their own in the galley, curtain closed, practically bristling when “disturbed” by a passenger for a request.

This all adds up to a feeling that on AA the priority is flight attendant convenience not serving passengers.

Last edited by salut0; Jun 25, 19 at 1:43 am Reason: Typo
salut0 is offline  
Old Jun 11, 19, 10:20 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: London, United Kingdom
Programs: British Airways Gold
Posts: 2,558
This shouldn't happen

It does happen

There's not much you can do about it other than vote with your wallet
ajeleonard is offline  
Old Jun 11, 19, 10:23 am
  #7  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: FIND ME ON TWITTER FOR THE LATEST
Posts: 27,734
Lightbulb

Originally Posted by salut0 View Post

Some bonus miles would be nice and I’m tempted to ask for them.

But my complaint is actually that this seems to be part of what I sense is an increasing laziness and lackadaisical attitude on the part of AA flight attendants.

On our return BA flight LHR-JFK, the cabin crew not only served drinks and the two meals separately, but came round probably three other times with tea/coffee/water/juice, found us two special meals to make up for the fact that the vegetarian option in economy was all used up, and seemed to be constantly busy but also cheerful.

By contrast, on AA JFK-LHR aside from this disagreeable encounter with the FA, there were no drinks runs and they insisted they shades be lowered even though it was a day flight.

I've discussed that issue on FT in another thread, but my hunch now is that they do that to encourage passengers to sleep so they have to work less hard. I say that because I also often find AA transatlantic flight attendants chatting on their own in the galley, curtain closed, practically bristling when “disturbed” by a passenger for a request.

This all adds up to a feeling that on AA the priority is flight attendant convenience not serving passengers.
There is zero chance of this changing anytime soon-- and I expect it to gradually get bit worse over the next few months.

The answer, IMHO, is to fly another airline vs. groveling for "some bonus miles" and continuing to spend your $ and write in complaints that will do absolutely nothing to change the-- awful-- status quo-- nothing's gonna change in this area.
Spiff, boerne, Gringa and 3 others like this.
JonNYC is offline  
Old Jun 11, 19, 10:24 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Laguna Niguel, CA
Programs: AA PLT, 1.8mm
Posts: 6,986
Originally Posted by salut0 View Post
I recognize that cabin crew have their own baggage but surely it must come below the priority of providing space for paying passengers bags?
You presume incorrectly.
nancypants likes this.
cynicAAl is offline  
Old Jun 11, 19, 10:28 am
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2005
Programs: AAdvantage GLD; AGR
Posts: 2,482
Originally Posted by JonNYC View Post
There is zero chance of this changing anytime soon-- and I expect it to gradually get bit worse over the next few months.

The answer, IMHO, is to fly another airline vs. groveling for "some bonus miles" and continuing to spend your $ and write in complaints that will do absolutely nothing to change the-- awful-- status quo-- nothing's gonna change in this area.
Depressing, especially coming from someone who I suspect knows so much about what’s going on inside AA...

You're right about voting with my wallet — but AA miles are a currency that can be spent on AA partners, such as BA :-)

And AA142 is much better timed than BA178.
salut0 is offline  
Old Jun 11, 19, 10:31 am
  #10  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Programs: AAdvantage PP
Posts: 13,406
This is the state of air travel. It's why I travel light and would never imagine taking a small child on a long haul flight. Possibly the OP can write into AA and get some miles as compensation but that's about it.
MiamiAirport Formerly NY George is offline  
Old Jun 11, 19, 10:33 am
  #11  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Los Angeles
Programs: AA LT Gold
Posts: 2,845
Originally Posted by salut0 View Post
Rationale for booking the bulkhead was to give my toddler more space during the flight but also, since I’m an elite member, easy access to overhead space due to early boarding.

Lesson learned: Don't book bulkhead seats if you want easy access to overhead bin.
That's always an issue even in domestic First Class.
Regardless of your status or priority boarding, overhead bin space is never guaranteed, much less so in bulkead seats (should be expected that it will be already taken).

As far as the FA snapping at you, that's really frustrating and aggravating. I have also found that FAs like that can repeat the offense (being rude) later in the flight, as it seems was your case.
Telling her off won't get much as FAs can get even more combative.
I am afraid that all you can do is ignore the FA's attitude for the flight duration.

I wouldn't expect miles for the lack of overhead bin space in this case. (Actually, you were able to use the overhead bins. It is just that it was at a very inconvenient location for you)
nancypants and Beachfun71 like this.
carlosdca is online now  
Old Jun 11, 19, 10:34 am
  #12  
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: USA
Programs: Chase Sapphire Reserve, WFBF
Posts: 1,474
Originally Posted by FAA1996 View Post
There is no such thing as bins intended for your seat or assigned bins, they are all shared space. Maybe things would have gone smoother if you had not thought you were entitled to those bins. That being said, a FA should never be rude to a customer, so I feel for you there. Safe travels...
But there are bins that are designated "for Main Cabin Extra", which are located above MCE rows.

AA sells bulkhead seats as MCE, and one of the benefits is designated overhead bin space. Not a specific space for sure, but if entire bins are being placed off limits that is certainly diminishing one of the MCE benefits.
deeruck, salut0, Quinlanty and 3 others like this.

Last edited by wetrat0; Jun 11, 19 at 11:21 am Reason: Nonsensically said "OP" when I meant "AA"
wetrat0 is offline  
Old Jun 11, 19, 10:36 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: MSP/DFW
Programs: Priority Club PLT, Marriott Titanium, AA EXP
Posts: 479
Originally Posted by cynicAAl View Post
You presume incorrectly.
This should not be the case though. There's no reason the flight attendants should not utilize space at the far back of the airplane. This would not be unlike an entire staff of Best Buy employees parking in the closest spots to the front of the building on Black Friday. There has to be some point where the customers needs come first. If there is available space 1 sporting is complete, she certainly could just move her stuff up to that spot. FAs are the last off the plane, so they do not have the inconvenience of having to swim upstream to collect baggage at the end of a flight.
genotonda is offline  
Old Jun 11, 19, 11:12 am
  #14  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Los Angeles
Programs: AA LT Gold
Posts: 2,845
Originally Posted by wetrat0 View Post
But there are bins that are designated "for Main Cabin Extra", which are located above MCE rows.

OP sells bulkhead seats an MCE, and one of the benefits is designated overhead bin space. Not a specific space for sure, but if entire bins are being placed off limits that is certainly diminishing one of the MCE benefits.
About MCE, AA.com says:
"easier access to overhead bins"
That's what AA advertises.

carlosdca is online now  
Old Jun 11, 19, 11:16 am
  #15  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: ORD/MDW
Programs: BA/AA/AS/B6/WN/ UA/HH/MR and more like 'em but most felicitously & importantly MUCCI
Posts: 19,116
Originally Posted by salut0 View Post
This all adds up to a feeling that on AA the priority is flight attendant convenience not serving passengers.
Originally Posted by JonNYC View Post
There is zero chance of this changing anytime soon-- and I expect it to gradually get bit worse over the next few months.
AA is a very challenged shop right now. Labor issues, rage at management, operational issues... they all drive morale through the floorboards. When an airline goes through these phases -- United has had them too, goodness knows -- it is somehow culturally OK to make customers suffer. As the major carriers become more and more convinced they are now immunized from ever losing money, no matter what they do to passengers, I would not expect this culture to change.

Originally Posted by genotonda View Post
This would not be unlike an entire staff of Best Buy employees parking in the closest spots to the front of the building on Black Friday. There has to be some point where the customers needs come first.
Best Buy is in a competitive situation where employees understand their choices can have an existential impact on their company and their jobs. That has not been the standard story in the airline industry, and it is definitely not the story at AA now.
BearX220 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: