Hah: Delta Gate Agent Has Unconventional Response To Being Videotaped

Filed Under: Delta, Videos

Recently we’ve seen some airline videos go really viral, beyond what I think anyone could have imagined. You’d think that airline employees would be on their best behavior, knowing full well that their every move is being recorded when an incident occurs. For example, yesterday I wrote about how I was shocked that a Delta flight attendant said that a couple would go to jail and that their kids would be sent to foster care. Aside from it being an outright lie, you’d think she wouldn’t want herself being recorded saying that.

Well, today video footage has emerged of a Delta gate agent taking a very different approach toĀ being filmed by a disgruntled passenger. While we don’t know the full story, it seems like a passenger is unhappy with the service he’s receiving, and requests a supervisor.

So what does the gate agent do? She very sarcastically tells the camera (“ladies and gentlemen”) that a supervisor was called 10 minutes ago, and also explains the unrealistic request that the passenger made. Check out the video here:

On one hand it seems really unprofessional to be this sarcastic in a customer service role, but on the other hand I guess it’s better than threatening to call the cops on passengers and/or sending them to jail. šŸ˜‰

In all honesty, on some level I feel bad for airline employees increasingly being filmed by passengers, given that so many people think they’ll have the next viral story. At the same time, I truly think these recordings have been a cause forĀ positive change in the industry. When cases of horrible customer service are recorded, airlines are now forced to take action and change their policies. So while I feel bad for all the good airline industry employees out there being recorded,Ā I’d certainly argue that positive change has come from the incidents we’ve seen the past several weeks.

What do you make of this gate agent’s response to being filmed?

  1. There is a world of difference between recording an incident and using filming as a threat as if customer service agents were in a deposition. Some passengers are unfortunately like this, and why airlines were forced to come up with policies around photography and video recording.

  2. I’m with her! I don’t think she was sarcastic at all. She had a pretty sunny disposition and wasn’t rude even when the douche bag who was filming was. Good for her

  3. Please stop feeding these trolls. That’s what I think of these videos. In Chicago when we have “protests,” you’ll see people trying really hard to bait police officers while recording them. It’s awful and is all about pathetic egos. The media is creating such a market for this kind of nonsense in the travel industry now. It’s the responsibility, especially of the travel media, to distinguish between important videos (Dao) and nonsense (this). Please be more responsible.

  4. If I were an employer, I’d hire that woman in a nanosecond.

    My takeaway from all of the recent viral airline videos is that passengers have no idea what the rules are, make unreasonable demands, and take it out on the staff. Yes some airline employees are callous or unhelpful, but the passengers are in a whole other league of crazy.

  5. I didn’t see it as sarcastic. She was making the best of a bad situation.

    I wonder how old the kids are? If very young, why didnt he get seat assignments in advance? (Yes I know there are reasons why this might not have happened, such as a late booking, or not wanting to pay for seat assignment.)

  6. S**t for brains passengers. Why should this guy think he’s special? In the past, my wife and I have flown with small and lap-child kids numerous times. How did he not get the word? Next time, toss their sorry asses off with no compensation. Crikey! I don’t care much for Delta, despite hundreds of thousands of remaining Skymiles and being Atlanta based, but this time I’m on their side.

  7. I didn’t interpret her as being sarcastic at all. She’s being outrageously perky and friendly to somebody who has probably been a complete douche bag to her and/or her colleagues. She clearly explains that a supervisor was, in fact, called ten minutes ago and then generously explains what unreasonable request the offended little snowflake who was filming. If you want guaranteed seats together as a parent, you need to book them together and/or pay what’s necessary to upgrade. If there isn’t room, it’s not their fault. In practice, other passengers are likely to be willing to help, but that’s not the airlines responsibility.

    In general, I’ve found that when dealing with airline personnel, you get a LOT more with honey than with vinegar. Ask nice and most people will go out of their way to help. No guarantees, but it sure helps.

  8. Kudos to her. Lucky, I assume you have some contacts at Delta – it would be kind of you to pass this on to them so she can be commended for keeping her cool.

  9. Gate agent remained professional. She was even humorous. She didn’t lose her cool or say anything inappropriate. Cooler heads always prevail. This was probably a rare flying passenger who was looking for opportunity

  10. Having a camera shoved in your face is offensive. She stated the facts clearly and smiled. The guy was being completely unreasonable.

  11. This is too funny. These days, everyone thinks because they have an iPhone, they can film when they don’t get their way. If we are all angry about FAs threatening to call the police when they want you to do something, how hypocritical to record airline employees to get your way. Same coercion.

  12. Lucky wants every customer service person to say “thank you sir my I gave another” at all costs. Airline passengers are like the people of South Park in that episode where everyone is a Yelp reviewer and as such they all feel they are owed special treatment. God bless anyone who helps make sure the world isn’t taken over by the equivalent of Yelp reviewers.

  13. Sucks when you lose control of the narrative. Love that this video is on World Star, the comments there are clearly in support of the very professional and non confrontational Delta agent. She even said thank you with a smile. I didn’t see sarcasm at all. I did see her subtle message around the 7 second mark though…lol. I saw someone taking control of the narrative and I heard an entitled dude get all whiney that he wasn’t getting the reaction he was expecting.

  14. This is not sarcasm, IMHO. She was fine. She’s aware of the camera in public, as we all need to be aware of the camera in public these days. She handled it perfect. Nobody can make everybody happy, she’s doing the best she can. Acknowledging the viewing audience is not sarcasm. The fourth wall was breached a long time ago. Addressing the ladies and gentleman in the audience is not sarcasm, it’s just…a degree of social media literacy that we’re all expected to have in 2017? The customer is angry that a southern black pretty lady is not an easy target. That’s the customer’s problem and shouldn’t become the worker’s problem IMHO. She’s making clear what the situation is on video, which is a really vital skill in our decade and will only become a more important skill going forward.

  15. Nothing sarcastic about it. She handled it more than well, and with good natured humor.

  16. I, for one, appreciate that she didn’t move another passenger involuntarily just because someone was demanding to sit next to all of his family members.

  17. People who videotapes people who works for private comapnies are rude. Why videotaped airline agents, they are not law enforcement officers. Just for the sake of getting their video goes viral, people are rude. Think of this, do you want to be videotape while working (excluding those employed in public). Videotaper thinks “this will be the next United” story. Respect other people pls, its not funny.

  18. Perhaps the staff wouldn’t have cameras shoved in their face for no good reason if people like you didn’t publish a ridiculous number of articles about them.

    I can’t remember the last time I looked at this site and there wasn’t an article about it. The United incident alone was beyond absurd – how many articles were published here in the end? It must be close to 20…

  19. Being filmed against your will when you’re trying to go about your life or do your job is extremely threatening and hostile. Heck even doing press interviews ‘on the record’ is stressful. It’s funny I was writing about this on my fb page on Thursday: that unlike bloggers and private citizens sharing posts on their social media, journalists have a legal and moral responsibility to tell the truth, and these videos are very dangerous in how they’ve been used in the past few weeks especially.

    I’m getting tired of click-race ill-informed so-called news stories with zero research on formerly credible news websites that are coming straight from these posts and not from proper research, primary sources an attempt to get at the truth of the story. With airline customer service being such a guaranteed clickstream right now, mainstream media are hungry for these videos and the viral machine is throwing them out, which is incentivising opportunists to antagonize airline employees with the hope of fame and free flights.

    Thankfully your blog @Lucky has continued to be informed, researched and accurate, and one thing I find interesting in so many of these posts is that you point out that you’re not a lawyer. It’d be really interesting actually for you to get a lawyer to contribute snippets of content as it would really help keep folk informed and get the story straight so that when major media outlets copy and paste it, they stop propegating false stories.

    This video was made to be shared online, it was made to present a false and limited version of events, and it was made to intimidate the member of staff, and whilst yes she was sarky, she absolutely did the right thing here, she refused to allow him to set the narrative and she insisted on protecting DL’s operations and revenues from blackmail/theft. I don’t know the guy’s side of the story but I’m sick of the cycle of extortion that the media are facilitating.

    There’s a wider requirement that we stop reporting re-digested non-researched sources in the media, and cut off the air supply to these videos. We also need to stop pandering to people who want to hate on the airlines. In most cases we’re seeing the same thing, the airlines are doing the right thing overall but making mistakes as they do it. This has always been the case and most of us have suffered far worse mistakes. These guys posting these videos are not frequent travellers, they’re frauds, and if you film people whilst antagonising them you’re going to catch them making a mistake.

    Furthermore, we’re going to result in a situation where filming on planes gets banned, and where airlines will have to install CCTV everywhere so that false narratives can’t be presented.

    Why did the guy even bother posting this when it makes him look like a total bully?

  20. Does anyone know if there is a way to give a job well done coupon to an employee for her handling of this situation?

  21. DL agent handled it fine.

    Please don’t stop covering the customer service elements of these stories, Ben.
    The UA, AA and DL stories have done more in the last 60 days to demonstrate how the inflight experience has degraded than the previous 6 years of USA Today stories.

  22. @Ryan B: DL give plats little tokens you can fill in to compliment staff you are impressed by. You fill them out and hand them to the staff, they have your details on them. I used to keep one in my wallet.

    Hopefully everyone else handed her one!

    (UA now so don’t have them and do take specific feedback but don’t discuss employees.)

  23. I now work in the airline industry in a more senior role but when I was still studying, I was working as a gate agent – like many pilots etc did as well.

    I have to say, we should also look at this side for once. Let me show you just briefly the kinds of passengers I experienced day in day out. Often people obviously leaving their manners at home and taking a big spoon of “sense of entitlement” with them instead. Passengers flying on the cheapest economy fare they found but making requests as if they were Lucky traveling in Etihad Residences šŸ˜‰

    I saw people smashing the screens down from the gate desk. People spitting in the face (!) of agents because they had to gate check their 15kg suitcases. People yelling and screaming (also at each other). People fist fighting for the priority boarding lane until the police had to be called. People expecting that any airline’s DCS system could print their boarding pass for airline XY and shouting when they are being sent to their actual airline’s desk. People not wanting to talk to women. People not wanting to talk to men.

    Once two ladies wanted my colleagues to “call the captain” of their flight which was already off block. They were 15 mins late and they lied that it was the security’s fault. Their boaridng pass, as checked later, was scanned at security 2hrs earlier and they just went shopping and forgot the time. Obviously the aircraft did not come back to pick them up so they started filming and taking pictures plus calling the worst insults you could imagine. Police was called and their phones got confiscated (yes, that was great!).

    Just to give you a small insight into the world of passenger service.

    Of course this does not make the majority of passengers and it does not mean that any ground handling agent should stop delivering great service to the customers. Most people are working hard to make requests happen but aviation is a strongly regulated business, also for safety reasons, and usually a hub can only work on clear and time-bound processes.

    In my opinion it is a shame that a minority of passengers is taking advantage of social media like this. Don’t forget that airline/ground handling agency staff also has privacy rights! Would you like being filmed at work if things don’t go exactly as expected by the customer? Especially posting videos online without the consent of the employee is just horrible behavior.

    Again, this is not an excuse for the real incidents that did happen and can always happen. Be aware of and act against real discrimination or similar. However, people should start to think of each others as human beings again in general. Just be respectful on both sides and think twice before acting unfairly yourselves.

  24. What I find offensive is that we are only shown a snippet of information and it is all focused on the employee. It is a shame that we don’t have video of the guy with the camera. At best, he is baiting her. At worst, it is assault.

  25. I think the gate agent did a good job! Kudos!

    That is really a good way to manage being recorded. Nice!

    (No threatening words, no calling of cops, and saying to the camera what the situation is, and how her hands are tied, and there is no delay of calling of supervisor which may with his/her authority, find alternative solutions. Positive attitude. Great work!)

  26. Callum – was that you by any chance? Taking into account your douchy comment here..

  27. yes agreed, she did a fantastic job šŸ™‚ No doubt. Like many I don’t find her sarcastic and I believe her attitude should be widely used as best practice in such cases. I find the current trend to use phones to record situation in a partial way, without even attempting to provide full and clear context, abusive and dangerous. The dark side of the web probably.

    It seems the US law allow such practices hence I believe that young lady found the best way to manage such situations. Just sad the author of the video did not provide more personal details about the agent so I would be able to congratulate her personally.

    In Europe and probably other parts of the world I believe such recording would just be clearly illegal.

  28. Im getting really tired of these videotapes that pops up every day. Mostly by adults stubborn and irrational like teenage girl… Grow up and do as told, or stay behind and let the rest of us be able to depart happy and on time!

  29. Unprofessional. I’m not sure why people think this is acceptable. Clearly she wasn’t “perky” when dealing with this guy before the camera went on and she was obviously doing it to mock him. Yea people are douches and pulling out their camera phones at the drop of a hat, but that was unprofessional. She should have politely told him she contacted the supervisor. He clearly was not in on the joke which means she is mocking him. I don’t give a crap how annoying the guy is. This is her job to be respectful and deal with people in a dignified manner.

  30. Interestingly, this situation just happened to me, except different. When boarding alone in Amsterdam for a direct flight in business class to San Francisco, the ticket scanner flagged my ticket and they asked me to step over to the desk. There the desk agent very politely asked if I was willing to change seats so that two people flying together could sit together. It was a 2-2-2 config, I had an ouside aisle and they were offering the inside aisle on the same row. I agreed, the desk agent thanked me. I asked if the people would know and she said oh yes she would inform them. I guess they were waiting in the pre board area. When they got on I said ‘hi’ and they thanked me. I guess the point is why couldn’t the United gate agent, or all US domestic carrier gate agents (or on board flight attendants, have the capacity and compassion (and technology) to act similarly?

  31. She was terrific! That was friendly, as opposed to sacrastic. She had called the supervisor, and she have a time line…10 mins ago, and rather be hassled by the videotaping, she handled it fantastically…with a grin and jokingly and smiled. She will make a good manager. Its about handling awkward customers…any grass root worker dealing knows that awkward customer…..

  32. This guy was probably being a whiny pain and she was clearly busy trying to get the plane boarded. Every cheapskate is busting their camera out now thinking they may have a shot at payday. So over this.

  33. Her reaction to passenger paparazzi? She SHUT HIM DOWN with an explanation and smile.


  34. Interesting insight jumpseatflyer.
    The more i read travel blogs, the more i learn how backwards murica is.

    You all must be so proud

  35. This was perfect, not sarcastic or snarky in any way. Good for her. Having someone record you doing your job can’t be fun. This guy was unreasonable and a jerk. I’m glad to see somebody self-entitled get treated with a smile all the same. Have fewer kids next time.

  36. Ben,

    Your stories are leaning towards click bait. Every response to your article is opposite of your opinion. I would suggest you vet your stories but that would be counterproductive to all the hits you get.

    I’ll stay aboard a little longer but the usefulness on OMAAT is dwindling.

  37. The GA could have handled that way better. It’s not just the message (which was what it was). Her loud voice, looking up from under, staccato hand movements, sarcastic tone, repetitive words – they all scream unprofessional. She is *thisclose* to losing it – needs a break.

    The passenger should not have put a camera on her. That is incredibly rude and privileged.

  38. The gate agent was doing her job as best as she could under the circumstances and under duress. She was not at all sarcastic but just stating the facts as the situation escalated. People forget that the airlines want to provide good customer service whether on the ground or in the air and that the public is becoming increasingly rude and hostile. I see this more and more as a frequent flyer.

  39. Agree with the bulk of the responses here and I agree that the agent did a good job in a bad situation.
    Having said that I would make one note re: parents traveling with small children (granted I don’t know how old the children were in this case). It’s not reasonable to expect a young child to be separated from her/his parents during the flight. Yes the parents should have tried to get seats together, but what if there weren’t enough seats available?

    While I am certainly not advocating or supporting entitled behavior on the part of flying passengers, requesting that your young children be seated next to you is not unreasonable or entitled.

    (Disclaimer: I have no kids!)

  40. Yeah, I’m more than ready to put airline employees on blast when necessary, but you can’t just whip out your phone like an entitled jerk when you don’t get your way, thinking it’s some sort of magic key to getting what you want. Gate agents don’t have the power to just make seat assignments appear and if you absolutely need to sit together, pay for the seat assignment ahead of time (unless you are booking less than a week or two in advance, its usually not that hard to find entire rows available, and I doubt that a family that large booked their flight that close in unless it was a funeral or something). She was a little snarky, but she was smart to make sure that her side of the story (where she did nothing wrong) was told and his behavior deserved the derision it got. She had a plane to board and she didn’t have the time (nor should she have) to deal with this nonsense when she’s just doing her job.

    Also from the sound of it, he had a window seat so he probably wouldn’t have had that much difficulty asking someone to switch with him once he was on board (although I’m willing to bet that he just decided to take whatever seat he was trying to get without asking, because he definitely seems like that type from this brief interaction)

  41. Before being critical, Ben, why don’t you try standing behind the gate counter and dealing with some of the idiots who fly these days?

    Oh, that’s right….you’re already on the plane, complaining about the quality and selection of the champagne.

  42. It’s sounds like the passenger reserved seats knowing others seats were full on the next row and wanted the TA the bump someone who had reserved a specific seat.
    I agree with her pick your seats when you pick a flight if there already taken chose another flight. The person video taping needs to get past what someone told that THEY ARE SPECIAL and accept the fact they do not always get their way.
    As others said I would hire her in East beat or promote her. To have this disposition with an un reasonable passenger

  43. I actually chuckled at listening to the recording! It was obvious that she had endured her fill of his whining because he did not get his way. She was assertive, covered the facts and left little opportunity for him to whine in between!
    Give that girl a cookie,a coupon, a pat on the back and a high five!

  44. To funny!!! He got caught being a prick! Sounds like he is a family guy,, and leading his kids to grow up the same way, shove a camera in somebody’s face to try and get your way. .. joke is on you, he thought he would try and get one side of the story and she informed the AUDIENCE, haha the whole story.. very smart gate agent!!!! They don’t pay these employees enough to deal with all the phone’s video’s enough, their privacy is zero.. how sad what people are doing to try and get their way.

  45. Lucky, you should learn the definition of sarcasm before you use it again in one of your posts.

  46. GA is clearly doing the right thing by smiling and repeating the request and that a supervisor has been called. Means the entitled passenger with the camera has nothing to complain about.

    Lucky I like most of the stuff you put out there but agree with @John – if you think this is sarcasm you need to research the definition. I think you are just quoting the douche videoing this interaction because he mentions the word “sarcastic”. This guy deserves no sympathy at all, unlike the GA who was obviously being harangued by him.

  47. I feel the agent, (and they do take a load of flack from customers, who want free be,s) was quite nice, what did the passenger want thew flight was full? , Plus who likes a camera up their or in their face, Delta 10 passenger 0 zero

  48. Yet another self-important, entitled A**hole who thinks he can do whatever he pleases and the rules aren’t applicable to him. The Delta agent handled it ad well as could be hoped.

  49. I work for an airline! Usually great flights. Can I come to workplaces snd viideo people ???? Cause I have experienced less than stellar service yet never put my phone in their face! I think all the people that do this should let us video them at their job. Omgosh what fun! Seriously though the two things I take seriously . Terrorism and bad behavior aka ambien and alcohol. The public says flying is not what it use to be . Yep . No one use to wear wife beater shirts and flip flops and use the restroom with bare feet ! Yes airlines drop the ball but the American public also is a flip flop , badly dressed and non mannered public. It works both ways ……… I always tell people to put shoes on before using the restroom because it may not be water . The response ” no big deal”. Ughhhhhh . So travel well and safe!!!!!lol and please dress semi decent ! Yes. the airline world has changed but so has the public . It seems a two way street……

  50. As a retired gate agent, I applaud this agent. I work 22 years in the Banking industry and 14 years in the airline industry. As I had 22 years of experience dealing with customers with and without money, I felt that I could handle any type of customer. While working for the airlines I have seen the worse unmannered, self centered, rude and obnoxious people ever. I seems when they check in their luggage or leave the curb side any resemblance of humanity stays with it. Also people start the recording not at the beginning of the situation involved but at a point that it is suppose to benefit them.

  51. Notice how customers only start recording when they aren’t getting what they want? There was no recording of his request or his initial interaction with the gate agent. He was clearly trying to bait her, so she repeated his request so there was no ambiguity in what was going on and took the power back once it was clear and on video that the passenger had made an unreasonable request. She did a great job.

  52. We do not see what happened before he started recording. Much like Oscar Munoz described Dr. Dao as “belligerent.” A few days later a video shot before the dragging shows that he was calling customer service and was explaining that he needed to be at work at 8:00 the next morning.

    I agree with Katy’s description — “the GA’s loud voice, looking up from under, staccato hand movements, sarcastic tone, repetitive words.”
    Some other items of note — the way she says “ladies and gentlemen” and better yet, the way she bobs her head when she says “ten minutes ago” with extreme emphasis on the word “ten.”
    In addition, why does she say that he is in row 29? And… at that point she makes that dramatic sweep with her hand, indicated they are all the way across.

    She probably was being extremely rude before he started taping and when the camera came on, she decided to be snarky.

    If this were not sarcastic, she would have said very diplomatically in a very level and evenhanded voice, “Sir. I have called the supervisor and they should be here shortly. We do have most of your party in one row except for one person. Unfortunately because the flight is full we are not able to rearrange to get you all together.” Instead of this high pitched overly dramatic delivery she had.

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