Of Crew Power Trips and egalitarianism (US Airways purser)

 
Old Mar 2, 10, 12:38 pm
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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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Old Mar 2, 10, 12:43 pm
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I thought you handled the situation very well

The Purser on the other hand. . .
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Old Mar 2, 10, 1:26 pm
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Wow! If I had had the time I probably would have deplaned, refunded and bought on another airline. Unreal.
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Old Mar 2, 10, 1:29 pm
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Make sure you get this reported. Don't just report the Purser, but also the Captain. Dougie really should be listening to things like this. It's ridiculous.
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Old Mar 2, 10, 1:40 pm
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As this seems overall, more specific to US than general to carriers as a whole, I'll move this to the US Airways forum. Ocn Vw 1K, Moderator, TravelBuzz.
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Old Mar 2, 10, 2:09 pm
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So, did you let her have it on your way out or did she disappear?
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Old Mar 2, 10, 2:27 pm
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Originally Posted by bitburgr View Post
So, did you let her have it on your way out or did she disappear?
No. Her attitude changed once we were airborne and I decided that since I had managed to hold it together at the gate there was no point being an ar$e at this point.

On disembarking, she said good bye in a professional manner, and as I walked past her, I gave her the standard PhlyingRPh reverse nod (move head in an upwards direction first, pout lips very slightly on the upward; face away on the downward, maintain a slow, crisp walk).
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Old Mar 2, 10, 2:35 pm
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Originally Posted by bitburgr View Post
So, did you let her have it on your way out or did she disappear?
I've found Power Tripping F/A's in far greater numbers at other carriers that I give less business to.

Not saying US doesn't have them because they do. The question here for me is what should a customer do in a situation like this?

I think confrontation is likey out as you're not in a position to win short term.

Cheerful is often effective. Nothing like a "Good Morning Ma'am" to "Welcome to another day in paradise" usualy seems to work as it's very very difficult for someone to be nasty to someone so cheerful. In this case however it seemed to make little difference. For the OP I think it was just "His Turn" to feel the wrath of a disgrintled airline employee.

Giving the offending F/A an earful upon deplaning will only convince her that she was right and you're a jerk.

I'd likely apologize for any "misunderstanding" along with lots of empathy about what a tough job it is just long enough to get a look at her ID so I can get an accurate name. Then, time permiting I'd write an accurate narrative of the events and off that narrative would go via e-mail and snail mail to Hector Adler, VP of InFlight and anyone else I thought might want to know and if it were me I'd include the VP of Labor Relations just to stir the pot with the AFA. In fact I might even mail the President of the AFA with my story.

IMO you don't waste precious time and energy arguing or mouthing off in these situations. You just calmly gather the information needed to make your point with US Airways management and see what happens. There is no excuse for rude, however there is a measure of accountability you can extract when you encounter it. Last "dust up" I had over rude behavior landed me a nice fat voucher AND I never asked for a dime.
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Old Mar 2, 10, 3:41 pm
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Originally Posted by Sparrow_Hawk View Post
I've found Power Tripping F/A's in far greater numbers at other carriers that I give less business to.

Not saying US doesn't have them because they do. The question here for me is what should a customer do in a situation like this?

I think confrontation is likey out as you're not in a position to win short term.

Cheerful is often effective. Nothing like a "Good Morning Ma'am" to "Welcome to another day in paradise" usualy seems to work as it's very very difficult for someone to be nasty to someone so cheerful. In this case however it seemed to make little difference. For the OP I think it was just "His Turn" to feel the wrath of a disgrintled airline employee.

Giving the offending F/A an earful upon deplaning will only convince her that she was right and you're a jerk.

I'd likely apologize for any "misunderstanding" along with lots of empathy about what a tough job it is just long enough to get a look at her ID so I can get an accurate name. Then, time permiting I'd write an accurate narrative of the events and off that narrative would go via e-mail and snail mail to Hector Adler, VP of InFlight and anyone else I thought might want to know and if it were me I'd include the VP of Labor Relations just to stir the pot with the AFA. In fact I might even mail the President of the AFA with my story.

IMO you don't waste precious time and energy arguing or mouthing off in these situations. You just calmly gather the information needed to make your point with US Airways management and see what happens. There is no excuse for rude, however there is a measure of accountability you can extract when you encounter it. Last "dust up" I had over rude behavior landed me a nice fat voucher AND I never asked for a dime.
I wouldn't give the OP so much hope for compensation. Most pax (including myself) are getting zilch, nada, nothing! Leave US - and if you have to stay *A, go to UA (don't know what a better option is right now).
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Old Mar 2, 10, 4:08 pm
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That is ridiculous. I hope you give US an ear-full.
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Old Mar 2, 10, 4:53 pm
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I agree with everyone else - I hate to see reports of what appear to be disgruntled employees taking their frustration out on passengers. Unfortunately too many employees, and one is really too many, have the attitude that everyone pays (insert cheap fare here) for their ticket and should realize that those cheap tickets are subsidized by the employees, so the passenger becomes the enemy.

Just idle curiosity, was it mainline or Express - I assume mainline out of DFW.

Jim
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Old Mar 2, 10, 4:55 pm
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Originally Posted by newbiztraveler View Post
That is ridiculous. I hope you give US an ear-full.
+1. If no other reason that it seems like US is trying to improve in a lot of areas and episodes like this mean they're taking 1 step forward and 1 (or 2) steps back.
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Old Mar 2, 10, 6:34 pm
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Wow. This is amazing...simply amazing. Why don't these bitter people who hate the world just shut down, quit their jobs, go home and let someone who would appreciate the paycheck take over? Amazing.
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Old Mar 2, 10, 6:39 pm
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I'm still trying to figure out the reverse nod.
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Old Mar 2, 10, 6:43 pm
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Really awful Write US. I believe from your posts in Omni you are from Pakistan. Do you feel that this was racially motivated. Her behavior was obnoxious. Sorry to see you experience that.
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