What now? (Part 4)

This is where social media comes in. It has to. It’s either that or an attorney, as I keep being told that social media and lawsuits are the only things big companies hear.

I was joking with a colleague that I didn’t want to go the social media route. Why? Because I am a private person. Because I don’t want to be best remembered for “being yelled at on a plane.”

But the systems failed me, as a consumer and a person who has civil and consumer rights. If the FAA doesn’t want to address this, and American Airlines continues to pat me on the head to reassure me “don’t worry; we’re handling it,” then I have no choice but to take it to my peers and hope that we have options for holding companies accountable when their employees exhibit threatening and intimidating behavior to passengers.

Maybe the Flight Attendant Union wants in on this. Why? Because I am choosing to believe that the working conditions that Robin and MFA had to endure were what caused them to lash out in this way.

Maybe a consumer protection group wants to use this story as yet another example of how airline travel in this country has declined to the point where tempers and anxiety are so high, that such experiences are likely to be more and more common.

I don’t know: But I do know that a $300 voucher is not the solution, to a much bigger problem.

15 comments

  1. No one is perfect, you do realize that regional flight attendants generally make about less than minimum wage? Creating this blog is the equivalent to getting this upset at a Mcdonalds employee because you did not get your fries. Yes you are being that extreme. Just get over it. Regional flight attendant jobs are crummy jobs, there is a 38 percent in turnover year after year. Only 15 percent of regional flight attendants make it to year four. It is a nothing little job, most people work these jobs for a few years just for the flight benefits. Put yourself in their shoes, they get yelled at day after day flight after flight by passengers, working 10-14 hours per day, getting about minimum wage (if you work 12 hours in a day under the current rules you would be lucky to get paid 6 hours, you do this 4 days a week, multiplied equals 24 hours in a week times 52 weeks per year times $20 per credit hour (not hours worked which is 12 but credit hour which would be about 6 per day) equals $24, 960. Formula 24x52x20 = 24.960.

    These employees generally go away from home 4 days a week and work over 40 hours in that time frame but getting paid about 60 percent of hours worked.

    Now lets look at seattle minimum wage $15 x 40 hours per weeks x 52 = $31,200.

    Now if what you say is true, should you have been treated this way? ABSOLUTLEY NOT, but please keep it in context, a blog because some people making less than minimum wage did not act professional? Definitely over kill in my opinion. Once again you nor anyone should never have been treated like that but keep in mind these less than minimum wage regional flight attendants probably already had a tough day dealing with delays(not getting paid for the delay) and now they had a maintenance issue. They probably were already at wits end, plus the flight attendants did not have higher education, proper training, nor experience. REGIONAL FLIGHT ATTENDANTS ARE MINIMUM WAGE EMPLOYEES

    A question for national debate would be, what type of service should i expect from a person making minimum wage? Should I really expect the type of service that generally a college educated professional would provide?

    Have a nice day, I hope you find peace with this situation.

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    • Re Sally’s Comment: I would expect not to be harassed and threatened by anyone, no matter their wage. Never in my life have I been harassed by a flight attendant, cashier, restaurant worker, taxi driver, doctor, or anyone else serving me. Getting the wrong order at McDonald’s is not analogous to being threatened and harassed. Do you fly much? If so, put yourself in her shoes. They threatened to kick her off the flight and blacklist her when she did none of the things they had accused her of. If it were me I’d probably start crying, and mildly (or moderately) freaking out. Flying is unpleasant enough as it is…add that kind of experience and it becomes almost terrifying.

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  2. Sally, If what you say is true it gives those people the right to harass people? Doesn’t make sense and neiher do you. If you can not deal with the public get another job.

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  3. Sally: Making minimum wage or less is no excuse for poor customer service. If they feel they are underpay, they should look for a new job. I waited on tables and paid below minimum wage. That does not give me an excuse to treat with disrespect. My last flight on an American Airline saw how poorly one of the flight attendants treat the passengers. He should not have been on the plane to start with. American Airline needs to train their employees better.

    This blog brings awareness and maybe AA will do something.

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  4. Re Sally’s comment also: What you are paid in no way entitles you to treat customers like garbage. Bullying has zero tolerance in most workplaces and schools, why not on an airplane? No one makes then work for that wage. If they want to make more, go work at WalMart. At least there, you get paid for all of the hours you work. No excuses for this behavior at all. I will not fly American any longer, either. Thanks for the heads-up.

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  5. Well, Sally appears to just be an ignorant woman who needs a little spell-check on her computer. Perhaps she should also consider putting HERSELF in the passenger’s shoes.

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  6. Oh I know exactly how you felt that day. I had a similar experience in June 2010 on an AA flight from DFW to LAX. My 16 year old daughter and I were returning from Costa Rica and let’s just say getting to Costa Rica was a cluster (they canceled our flight entirely the morning of) and getting home was an ever bigger cluster. Our flight out of DFW was delayed for a few hours, and once we finally boarded I put 2 bags in the overhead bin – the bags contained the souvenirs my daughter was bringing back, and the other bag had some souvenirs and travel related items. I was exhausted and had put my headphones on to relax when my daughter nudged me. She said a man had just shoved his backpack in the bin and she was worried about the breakable items in her bag so she wanted me to check. I stood up, opened the bin and sure enough, both of our bags were mashed all the way against the back. Very calmly I asked who the backpack belonged to. A woman said it was her husband Al’s. So I ask if it was ok to move it, because it was smashed against my 2 bags which contained breakables. Instead of her saying ok, or I will do it. She asked me why I had 2 bags in the overhead. I informed her one was mine and the other was my daughter’s. I pulled our bags out of the overhead and sat down, thinking everything was over. The next thing I know, a female FA was on the phone saying she had a belligerent passenger in the back of the plane and the situation was escalating and she was worried about what I would do on the flight. I didn’t get her name at the time, but it sounds like we had the same FA! About 5 minutes later the captain came out of the cockpit and asked me, “Are you going to be a problem on this flight? If you are, I will have you arrested and removed from this flight.” I told him very calmly that I wasn’t a problem and had no intention of being a problem. I was terrified that I was going to be removed from the flight and be stuck in Dallas!

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  7. My wife had an encounter a number of years ago after she greeted a FA while entering the plane. The FA aggressively spoke to her about why she had spoken in that tone of voice. She followed us to our seat with similar comments. Baffling. We were just happy that it cooled off, but felt that we had been attacked.

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  8. Flew American Airlines this past week. My wife is in a wheelchair (quadriplegic) and we had what was supposed to have been an 80-minute layover in Phoenix, which would normally be enough for a plane change. Our first flight was late and the skycap – after being told our connecting flight would depart in 30 minutes – took a leisurely stroll through PHX to get us to our gate, where the attendants were literally just about to close the door, as everyone else had been boarded.

    It was on the tip of my tongue to say “don’t worry about it, just put us on the next plane” but I didn’t. My reward was them taking nearly 20 minutes to put my wife on the plane … and if the passengers who were on flight 641 to Denver on Monday 11/14/16 happen to see this, may you receive every available reward in heaven for surrendering your first-class seats so that they wouldn’t have to drag the aisle chair back to Row 23. So they got her situated, and then the flight was delayed another 40 minutes. After a passenger came forward to angrily question a flight attendant about the delay, the captain came on the PA to specifically state that the delay was due to “we need to load a wheelchair in the baggage area.” I understand he may have been trying to appeal to everyone’s better angels, but all he actually did was point the finger specifically at us for upset passengers.

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  9. There’s no excuse for the FA’s behavior. As far as the ridiculous argument they make minimum wage there for its ok to attack and harass paying customers, as far as I know they aren’t being forced to be flight attendants. I’m sure there are thousands of minimum wage earners that would love a FA job. I don’t care if they are working as FA because there are “no other jobs” even McDonald’s workers are normally nice. Good luck!

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  10. Sally sounds like a real winner. It is their chosen professional. NOONE is begging them to be flight attendants. I work for a major cellphone service and if I ever talked to a customer the way this attendant did I would have been fired probably on the spot. But I would have been FIRED!

    Please spare us their work challenges lol there are other jobs out there I am sure they qualify for. Regardless of how much $ you make or don’t make..you should perform your job according to your employers expectations.

    I have been treated like crap by a man who made 45.00 an hour but treated with more respect by a McDonalds employee making 7.50 an hour.

    Its her BLOG HER FREEDOM OF SPEECH…I am SURE that she SLEEPS AT NIGHT!! LOL!

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  11. A few weeks ago, I took a AA flight from RDU to JFK. I was very hungry and had not had lunch so though I hate pretzels, at this time I just needed to eat something and even a measly bag of pretzels was welcome. As fate would have it, the atendants, with their cart, passed by me to the back of the plane and forgot to give me a bag. So I went up and asked the male attendant for a bag. He told me to go and sit down and he will bring it. I suggested that since he had the bags right under his hands on the cart, why cant he give me one straightaway. He looked at me menacingly and said “why dont you get out of my face”. I went back to my seat and some time later, a bag of pretzels got thrown from behind onto my open tray.

    I complained the next day to AA and got a standard response that they were sorry.

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  12. The FAA regulates safety. The FAA does not regulate service, discrimination, nor harassment.

    It’s a two-way street, all related to money. The quality of service, both by flight attendents and in tems of having substitute planes at the ready to handie maintainance issues has declined since deregulation in relation to profit margins. The quality of passengers has declined since then too…does anyone remember the days when passengers dressed in suits & dresses to travel by air and were so polite & sophisricated? Because in those days only the (sophisticated) rich & airline employees could afford to fly. And people were more polite back in the Leave It to Beaver days.

    Additionally there are fewer empty seats on airplanes these days b/c economics have forced the airlines to become more efficient at luadplanning. Research has shown that pax become more stressed when the plane is full and someone is sitting next to them.

    Of course waiting in long TSA lines prior to flight diesn’t help the moideither.

    The only reason we got Tarmac Delay legislation in the USA is because someone saw the rules that the European Union operates under and lobbied for similar legislation in the USA.

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  13. “Now if what you say is true, should you have been treated this way? ABSOLUTLEY NOT, but please keep it in context, a blog because some people making less than minimum wage did not act professional? Definitely over kill in my opinion. Once again you nor anyone should never have been treated like that but keep in mind these less than minimum wage regional flight attendants probably already had a tough day dealing with delays(not getting paid for the delay) and now they had a maintenance issue. They probably were already at wits end, plus the flight attendants did not have higher education, proper training, nor experience.”

    I guess people believe what they want to believe and ignore the facts of what i wrote, It is clear to those who are not biased. The blog is overkill in my opinion that is exactly what I wrote, I even said she should not have been treated in this way, (if what she sais is true) that is exactly what I wrote. However A blog picking on minimum wage employees, individuals who are not allowed by the airline to defend themselves is overkill. The story of the traveler is told by her side only. Wow I agreed that no one should be treated this way and I get blasted.

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