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FA Tells Me "Get Rid of That" (my computer wallpaper)

FA Tells Me "Get Rid of That" (my computer wallpaper)

 

Old Nov 13, 07, 6:09 pm
  #1  
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FA Tells Me "Get Rid of That" (my computer wallpaper)

I was onboard UA910 between DEN and ORD today. I had my laptop on the tray table as I was going through some company e-mail. Two flight attendants came up the aisle with the beverage cart. I closed all of the programs to reveal the desktop just a few seconds before one of the flight attendants asked me what I wanted to drink. She takes a look at the photo I am using for my wallpaper, gives me a look of surprise, and says "Get rid of that!"

I wasn't sure what she was referring to. "Excuse me?" I said. She repeated "Get rid of that". I asked her what she was referring to and she said "The photo on your laptop". At first I thought she was joking. When I didn't react to what I thought was her joke, she said "I'm serious, you need to get rid of that photo". "It's very disturbing" she added. I told her that it was a photo that I had taken myself and that's all that it is...a photo. I still didn't react to her demand. In an increasing I'm-about-to-really-make-your-day-worse tone, she told me that I shouldn't have this kind of photo for everyone to see on my laptop and once again affirmed "I better get rid of it". I finally opened the Windows Media Player to start listening to some tunes. This covered the wallpaper the flight attendant found to be so offensive.

So what was the photo of? Was it pornographic? Violent in nature? Twisted? Or otherwise unsuitable for the public to view if they peaked at my laptop? Nope! It was this: http://www.jetphotos.net/viewphoto.php?id=5938235

When the flight attendants moved on, I noticed that pretty much everyone within an earshot was staring at me. I looked around to see all of the stares. Everyone had this look on their face that was is hard to describe, but it really made me feel humiliated. I've come across indifference, rudeness, poor customer service, lies from FA's and GA's (like it's illegal to take photos of airplanes!), and other poor behavior from United Airlines during my many years of flying with the airline. This is the first time United has made me feel humiliated in front of other passengers. All because the flight attendant was a little squeamish looking at a harmless photo I was using for wallpaper on my laptop. Who knows what was going through the other passenger's minds as to what the flight attendant found to be so offensive on my laptop that they couldn't see. They probably thought I was some kind of porn freak or something.

Should I have spoken with the purser about this?
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Old Nov 13, 07, 6:13 pm
  #2  
 
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It seems strange that someone would be so upset about a pic of another airplane.

Is there even the remotest possibility that she was being playful/sarcastic and there was miscommunication between the two of you?

Last edited by JohnnyJet; Nov 13, 07 at 6:13 pm Reason: Grammar
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Old Nov 13, 07, 6:15 pm
  #3  
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I think she was joking because it was a competitor's airplane on your screen.
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Old Nov 13, 07, 6:16 pm
  #4  
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Wow, totally shocking. When I started reading I thought it would be of an AA plane and the FA was joking. I seriously can't imagine the FA was serious... if so, simply shocking!

Are you absolutely sure the FA wasn't serious?
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Old Nov 13, 07, 6:17 pm
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I thought she was joking at first too, but I am positive she wasn't joking around. Her body language, facial expression, and tone told me she was being very serious.

Last edited by Brick; Nov 13, 07 at 6:19 pm Reason: Corrected spelling
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Old Nov 13, 07, 6:18 pm
  #6  
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OK, did you at no point ask what she thought was disturbing about it?
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Old Nov 13, 07, 6:18 pm
  #7  
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I would have taken the laptop and showed it to everyone so they could see what the FA was making such a fuss about. Then I would have suggested the FA get psychiatric help.
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Old Nov 13, 07, 6:20 pm
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My guess is also that she was joking. That doesn't mean it wasn't rude, no representative of the company should make a passenger feel uncomfortable or push the joke beyond reasonable limits.
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Old Nov 13, 07, 6:20 pm
  #9  
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Originally Posted by Brick View Post
I thought she was joking at first too, but I am positive she wasn't joking around. Her body language, facial expression, and tone told me she was being very serious.
I don't think these things make you "positive" of anything. People routinely misinterpret body language, facial expression, etc.
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Old Nov 13, 07, 6:23 pm
  #10  
 
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Even if the FA were serious (highly doubt it), I would have laughed it off and carried on.
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Old Nov 13, 07, 6:24 pm
  #11  
 
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Originally Posted by Brick View Post
Should I have spoken with the purser about this?
Absolutely. At the very least, speaking to the purser would have clarified the situation and determined for you whether it was a joke that nobody found funny, a misunderstanding on the part of the FA, or her attempt at enforcing "branding" on your personal property.

Assuming that the FA wasn't joking (which seems to be the case given your detail on that very point), then perhaps she was myopic and thought the picture showed the plane crashing or on fire or something. But if that were the case, she should have explained her position as to why the picture was "very disturbing" (and you should have asked her about it when she pressed the issue).

If she was merely objecting to the competitor's branding, that is entirely unacceptable. It is not the FA's job to enforce brand-visibility (or lack thereof) on your personal property so long as the item in question is not obscene to a reasonable person. I think your photo passes that test with "flying" colors.

So yes, you should have spoken to the purser if only to clarify the situation. Depending on the outcome of that conversation, the situation may have warranted a letter to UA, as well.
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Old Nov 13, 07, 6:24 pm
  #12  
 
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Originally Posted by Brick View Post
I was onboard UA910 between DEN and ORD today. I had my laptop on the tray table as I was going through some company e-mail. Two flight attendants came up the aisle with the beverage cart. I closed all of the programs to reveal the desktop just a few seconds before one of the flight attendants asked me what I wanted to drink. She takes a look at the photo I am using for my wallpaper, gives me a look of surprise, and says "Get rid of that!"

I wasn't sure what she was referring to. "Excuse me?" I said. She repeated "Get rid of that". I asked her what she was referring to and she said "The photo on your laptop". At first I thought she was joking. When I didn't react to what I thought was her joke, she said "I'm serious, you need to get rid of that photo". "It's very disturbing" she added. I told her that it was a photo that I had taken myself and that's all that it is...a photo. I still didn't react to her demand. In an increasing I'm-about-to-really-make-your-day-worse tone, she told me that I shouldn't have this kind of photo for everyone to see on my laptop and once again affirmed "I better get rid of it". I finally opened the Windows Media Player to start listening to some tunes. This covered the wallpaper the flight attendant found to be so offensive.

So what was the photo of? Was it pornographic? Violent in nature? Twisted? Or otherwise unsuitable for the public to view if they peaked at my laptop? Nope! It was this: http://www.jetphotos.net/viewphoto.php?id=5938235

When the flight attendants moved on, I noticed that pretty much everyone within an earshot was staring at me. I looked around to see all of the stares. Everyone had this look on their face that was is hard to describe, but it really made me feel humiliated. I've come across indifference, rudeness, poor customer service, lies from FA's and GA's (like it's illegal to take photos of airplanes!), and other poor behavior from United Airlines during my many years of flying with the airline. This is the first time United has made me feel humiliated in front of other passengers. All because the flight attendant was a little squeamish looking at a harmless photo I was using for wallpaper on my laptop. Who knows what was going through the other passenger's minds as to what the flight attendant found to be so offensive on my laptop that they couldn't see. They probably thought I was some kind of porn freak or something.

Should I have spoken with the purser about this?
I don't get it. What could she possibly have found "disturbing," let alone "very disturbing," in that rather unremarkable picture of an aircraft taking off? I really don't understand.

I suppose if it were me, I would have asked her loudly enough for those around us to hear what exactly she found "very disturbing" about the picture of a passenger jet taking off. Whatever she would have said in response then would have been informative. And if I were caused embarassment by the episode, then I would have asked for the purser to come over during the flight, so that he/she could tell me what was "very disturbing," or in the least inappropriate, about your screen saver, again doing so politely, but in a voice loud enough so that others could hear the exchange. Then, if you really wanted to pursue it still further, after the plane landed and others were deplaning, you could have asked to speak with the captain about this silliness. All a matter of emotional satisfaction.
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Old Nov 13, 07, 6:25 pm
  #13  
 
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Perhaps the FA thought it was picture of a plane "landing" and overshooting the entire runway? Kind of a stretch, but who knows what she was thinking?
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Old Nov 13, 07, 6:26 pm
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That is beyond ridiculous. Write (as in, send a paper letter) to UA and tell them exactly how you feel, and include a printout of the picture.

Any lawyers in here care to comment on whether there is a First Amendment issue here? Can someone sue a company for supressing his right to free expression?
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Old Nov 13, 07, 6:26 pm
  #15  
 
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Well its now my wallpaper too, so I hope she's happy.
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