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[OT] All the recent talks about carry ON's ....and finally I got "hit"!

[OT] All the recent talks about carry ON's ....and finally I got "hit"!

Old Apr 7, 11, 7:21 am
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[OT] All the recent talks about carry ON's ....and finally I got "hit"!

Hi all, here is the story to entertain you guys.


I see the activity about carry on's and luggage and people not being allowed on the planes, is surging

So, finally, I got "hit" this monday! Here is the one:
* please NOTE, that this is not a complaint, but just a funny story.

Remember, the American guy last month or so, who met "Mr.Otto-the gate dragon" and got kicked off the plane? Well, I met "mr.Otto" X 10! plus a swat team!

First time in my life, I flew OK (czech airlines). As they are part of ScaryTeam, I expected the "under" performance (and I am also gold with S.Team) so, I tried to lower my expectations...

My flight was LED-PRG-CDG and back. On the way back, from ArtParis I was carrying the tube / box 15cmx15cm but the hight was 90cm. There were some art prints inside. I've done it numerous times and in the past 5 years, never had a problem. I had few "disapproving" looks before, small talks and smooth passage after all.

The tubus/box usually gets stored in the C closet and on medium haul, it goes behind the last C class seats, even if I'm in Y at that moment. Yes, status helps and that is what I need it for (the small favors).

Continue, the flight on OK from CDG to PRG was fine, box was placed in the C closed. In Prague, we came to the gate and since they were quite slow boarding people, decided to "sit it out" till the line is finished.

All this time, I observed one gate agent in his late 20's, early 30's nervously getting every second person's bag, make them place it in the metal frame sample, and..... grabbing it away from them! I censed the storm brewing up....

Granted, the flight was full of Russians and yes, they not always comply with regulations per se. Perhaps, the agent was fed up with them, but when it came to my turn, the guy, BARELY holding himself together, while trying to GRAB my box started saying loud: "No! this must be checked IN".

After that second and a smile on my face, the "snow ball" started to roll... I could not finish any sentence I started. All of my:

-"Sir, I am a your SkyTeam gold member and this is painting...." - No!
-"Can I speak with station manager"? - No!
-"Can you call FA and I will explain the.." -No!

-"If You fly in business, you can take it, if you don't, you check it in NOW"!!

The guy's hands were shaking, he was grabbing his mobile to take a picture, he was calling some places every few seconds, non stop, slamming one phone down, picking up other....

all this in less than 2 minutes. Then it goes: "If you don't check it in, I'll take you off the plane"!

-"can I speak with station manager"? -Yes, AFTER I throw you of the plane!
- (me) " Sir, please control yourself and your language"

There were couple of weak attempts from the second gate person to talk to him about letting me go, but by then, the guy was loosing it.

Next step: "I'm taking you off the plane and call the police"! (Why police??).
I see, that the guy is uncontrollable, so I say "OK, check it in but you'll destroy the work of art". "Too late" he replies and goes to the computer.

I'm pointing this out, so all of you know, that he has not initiated the removal procedures, the flight manifest is not yet printed out and I DO agree to check it in. I did asked him "Do you have something against Russians or the flight passengers who were with all this, oversized luggage"? "Am I "paying" for them"? The guy starts typing on the comp.

Meanwhile, my loyal "trooper", THE fiance, has been checked in with the SAME hight tubus, just smaller in diameter. She passed the gate but stays in the connecting corridor (unfortunately, there was no plane at the end, pax had to take a bus, otherwise, the FAs could have helped). So, she doesn't leave of course.

The guy starts pacing back and forth, making circles, grabbing phones, talking to other people and looks really shaken up... The actual doors of the gate are wide open and him and other staff walks up to my fiancee, trying to tell her she must go to the plane. I follow few steps, when the same guy starts screaming (I mean full voice, scream! No, exaggerations). - "Would you F**NG leave already", "This is a secure area, you "fu**ng" ... <unidentifiable in szcech>"!

The worst part, that I can NOT do anything! He screams at me, he screams at my girl. But.... You know, you at the airport, ANYTHING you'd do, can be interpreted as a act of hostile behavior or they will label you as terrorist later on and say, that you tried to highjack a plane! (We did filmed it on video a bit, but the most "juicy" moments of the guy completely loosing it were not recorded).

Well, I walk back, my girl walks back to the gate. I know, that they would have to remove luggage and do all kinds of stuff, costing the airline much, much more money. My girl refuses to fly also and then...SWAT team moves in

I must say, those guys were the most calm and professional people there. Six of them, armed, knives, guns, gloves, vests... They were a bit tense in the beginning but were smiling at the end.

At this moment the "freak" comes down, plus he saw, that we were both filming him. He starts feeding his story (but I do understand czchech). Exaggerating of course, telling them I had aggressive behaiv. etc etc. I purposely spoke english. After he finished, I told the guys that most of what he said was crap and I understood it all. Told him our version, had a witness, etc, etc.

We were escorted back to the passport control, then to baggage belt, while chatting with the boys. While walking, talking and smiling, they decided not even write a report. We thanked them, waived to each other and waited for our bags.

Now, KNOWING, that I have NO chance being right, since I DO have my cardboard tubus that stands at 90 cm in hight, I still wanted to talk to manager about people with psychological issues at the gate.

And now.....the grand finale!

Awaiting the "Big Boss" at the check in counters, imagine my surprise, when I see, 20 something girl, walking up to me, pale, eyes squinted, fists clinched.... She knew about the situation, unmistakably choose "the side" and was ready for a battle!

Needless to say, nothing good came out. We tried to be so polite and "therapeutic" with her (note: my fiance is finishing her PhD in Psychology), but to no avail.

You know, you lost when you stay there, well dressed, with all of your Rimowa's, with beautiful girl, you do not look even slightly upset, smiling, talking in proper and professional language, asking her to understand what happened. Asking her not to take sides, but give the benefit of the doubt, that someone can be rude and un-stable at the gate. Forget it! Of course she feels "cornered" and becomes defensive.

In the end you hear: "You think you are something special"? "You thing you are special because you have your gold status"? "It means nothing to me", "I know the guy at the gate, he is very nice guy"...

The main issue, is the age. The age and lack of experience. While she was making a short call, my fiance told me: "forget it, she is young and under such stress, that she can not make ANY other and NEW decision. She can not deviate from the original one she made, prior to meeting with us", "all attempts will be futile"....

Well....

The rebooking charge for the next flight, the next day was 400 euros. We opted for 600 euros on different airline (where I have ZERO status). Spent a wonderful day and night in Prague and flew out the next day, without a single problem on the other airline, WITH all of my boxes/tubus on board, with me

I actually was hoping to meet that guy next day, so I can say "thank you for allowing us to spend a great day in Prague" (well... and costing your own airline few thousand euros in all delays) A little bitter from my side? Yes, I'd not denied it but I had more fun, than problems and I'd like him to know that!

Ciao
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Old Apr 7, 11, 12:05 pm
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wow. wow. wow. wow. wow.

I cant believe they had the audacity to try to charge you to change your flight, since their gate agent forced you to do so. I would definitely escalate to senior management at CSA, showing them the video.

But it was an entertaining (if scary) story. I mean, one guy has a bad day and he causes you delays and costs you hundreds of Euros.
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Old Apr 7, 11, 2:16 pm
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Well.... I SERIOUSLY doubt that CZ management will do anything.... I don't want to waste my time. It is much easier for them to say: "Sorry, but you had oversized package, and you even admit to it" So, why bother if the (almost) entire staff of CZ is unprofessional....
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Old Apr 7, 11, 2:19 pm
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They have the recording from the gate, so they can easily see the entire event. File a complaint, ask for a registration number and then follow-up weekly.

One thing I noticed though is that you can easier get away with an exception if you do not board last, as pressure of people behind you as witnesses can work in your advantage.
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Old Apr 7, 11, 2:29 pm
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Since this is all about OK, I had to move it to the OEFFP forum...

Regards Oliver2002
mod M&M forum
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Old Apr 7, 11, 5:08 pm
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I suspect that if you post the video you took on YouTube you will get a swift and appropriate response from OK.

I would love to see it.
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Old Apr 7, 11, 6:28 pm
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Thought about "boobTube", but first, I don't have the guy's screaming F**#ng F**K. We were pre-occupied with other issues at that time So I got the cops video (and they were not happy about it, and tried to block my girls phone camera's view but they didn't know I was filming it). Secondly, the "lost it" guy came down really fast after realizing we were filming him and just sat on the chair and actually started ACTING (!). Started even being calm and saying "let's wait for police" or something like that...

So, in the end, we have 20 minutes of shaken images, walking, talking, camera flipping up and down. Don't think anyone would be interested... I wouldn't, if I'd saw something like that.

But what is MORE "shocking" to me, is not the mentally unstable guy at the gates (probably, couldn't make a pilot test and blames everyone for it), but the unprofessionalism of the manager, who is in their mid 20's!!! You can not physically to have that much of experience, by the time you graduate from school and even if you are top of the grad.class, you still can't "absorb" life and life's never ending surprise situations by that age

Trust me, I was very bright kid in my 20's and I am sure, there are many, many, many other people as well. BUT, I think if the entire International (!) airport of Prague, gives such KEY position to a person of that age (with obvious lack of experience), who can tell complete strangers and STILL a paying pax with gold status "You think, you a special with your gold cards" and "I don't care" and "This means nothing to me", then we have a serious HR problem on our hands.

She can think the worst things about me, but you don't tell this to people's face AND you probably forgot, that you REPRESENT an entire airline and a country! Call me old fashioned, but even with my razor tongue, I will not allow myself to tell this to a person if I have such type of job.
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Old Apr 9, 11, 5:11 pm
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Wow, not looking forward to my travel inside Europe
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Old Apr 9, 11, 10:53 pm
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I would really write to Czech Airlines management. The unprofessionalism of the staff involved as you described it is really intolerable.
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Old Apr 10, 11, 10:59 am
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Originally Posted by nissan720 View Post
Wow, not looking forward to my travel inside Europe
Keep calm. If you are as good as your are normally at a US airport, nothing will happen to you. I really cannot imagine any pax starting a show like this in the US (at least it would not go on for long).
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Old Apr 10, 11, 6:59 pm
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Originally Posted by Flying Lawyer View Post
Keep calm. If you are as good as your are normally at a US airport, nothing will happen to you. I really cannot imagine any pax starting a show like this in the US (at least it would not go on for long).
Except for the fact that at no US airport you would ever have this problem with a US airline.
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Old Apr 11, 11, 7:23 am
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Originally Posted by CAlex View Post
<.....>

One thing I noticed though is that you can easier get away with an exception if you do not board last, as pressure of people behind you as witnesses can work in your advantage.
So, far, this is the best idea I've got (for the future). Perhaps waiting to be the last in line, actually played to the disadvantage and the agent getting stressed.

BUT... it does NOT excuse CZ management, who hires people, who can not control themselves. Not to mention ones with lack of experience and due to the age/economic situation, being rebellious against "status" pax. (even though, I feel ashamed, calling myself a "status" pax.... I was quite a rebel (well, and still is)).
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Old Apr 12, 11, 7:23 am
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Happy day...as I read this, I can only laugh. I wonder if the airport security tapes are readily available to make the point. In the pre-TSA days I had a similar situation of a GA going off her rocker and I decided to take it up it a notch by saying "What? What's that? You want to kill me? How could you say something like that, are you ok? Someone call a doctor, this lady just threatened me and she looks sick!" That brought all sorts of people onto the scene and it worked out well.

I guess the point is that if there's so much audio & video being recorded at airports, it might as well be used for some good aside from the illusion of security.
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Old Apr 13, 11, 7:27 am
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Originally Posted by Lord Happy View Post
In the pre-TSA days I had a similar situation of a GA going off her rocker and I decided to take it up it a notch by saying "What? What's that? You want to kill me? How could you say something like that, are you ok? Someone call a doctor, this lady just threatened me and she looks sick!" That brought all sorts of people onto the scene and it worked out well.
That's a bit too extreme.
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Old Apr 24, 11, 3:28 am
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Wow, I must have missed this as my last weeks have been pretty busy.

Some time ago I had a much less extreme incident (well, involving bus driver almost suffocating passengers and herding them like cattle). I wrote an e-mail complaint to OK, and got a reply that their customer relations department will get back to me within 4 weeks. Guess what? They never did.

I took the vow that is often repeated on FT, that I will never fly them again , and 4 years and hundreds of flights later, with 4-6 visits to Prague each year, I managed to avoid them. Not so much because I think missing me will really hurt their revenue, but I would be able to bear AT4s and run-down 737s for intra-europe short-hauls, if the service they provided was worth it. This way, I really have no reason to give them my business.
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