On Sunday I wrote a post entitled “Why Are Some Airline Employees So Damn Hostile?”
The post was specifically about a gate agent I witnessed who went out of her way to make her job difficult and be rude to a passenger. But it’s a trend I see overall in the airline industry. Don’t get me wrong, there are some amazing people working in the airline industry, but also some of the most hostile people out there.
In a way, the hostility is supported by the airlines, given that they give employees so much latitude to remove passengers from flights in the name of “safety” and “9/11.” I can’t think of a single other for-profit industry where employees can get away with being so rude to the people paying their bills.
Which brings us to today’s viral story, of a lady who on Sunday was booted from a US Airways flight between Phoenix and Portland.
Why was she given the boot? Supposedly the flight attendant yelled at her (because she didn’t understand something he said), she apologized to him, and then she complained to another flight attendant about the other flight attendant being rude to her. Then she got removed from the flight.
The person seated behind the lady in question took a video, which can be found on The Washington Post.
And here’s the description of the video:
This poor girl didn’t hear Tim (in aisle) the flight attendant ask her to move to let someone else by. Tim then yelled for her to move and it upset her, yet she still apologized to Tim. After sitting, the girl mentioned to a different attendant Tim was rude to her. Next thing we know, the girl is thrown off the plane. After the flight about 20 of us grabbed the pilot at the gate and complained. That sheer number proves Tim was just being an ass. USAir/American flight 408 (Phoenix to Portland) Oct 11, 2015.
KATU News did a story about the incident, which can be found here:
I tend to think the people seated around the person in question are the best judges of what went down:
- The passengers around her are in disbelief when she’s removed, they “boo” as she is taken off the plane, they say they’ll never fly American again, etc.
- The lady is even calm when she’s being removed from the plane… based on the above clip she doesn’t seem to have a mean bone in her body
There’s only one reason a passenger should be removed from a plane — does the passenger pose a “real” threat to the safety of the plane? If the answer is no, they shouldn’t be removed. But post-9/11 the question seems to have turned into “does an airline employee like the passenger?” And if the answer is “no,” that seems to be enough reason to get the boot as well… because 9/11.
Seriously, in what other industry is service like this tolerated? When you complain about service at a hotel, you get a sympathetic manager and probably some sort of compensation on the spot. When you complain on an airline, you get removed and they threaten to call the cops on you.
There’s only one other business I can think of where complaining about a bad experience leads to the cops being called:
Ultimately we don’t know everything that transpired here, but it sure seems like the flight attendant was out of line. And the worst part is probably that nothing will be done about it, under the guise of “security.”
What do you make of this incident?