Earlier this week, Judy Putnam wrote a follow up article in the Lansing State Journal, revisiting my story and explaining how it fit into the larger landscape of passenger experiences. Since my trip on PSA/American Airlines, I have flown again (on Delta) for work without issue.
As I mentioned elsewhere, when I first spoke up about the experience, I was contacted by many people who shared their own flying-related horror stories. Some were sad, many were infuriating, and all of them made me understand how my experience (being picked on for no clear reasoning by airline staff) was surprisingly common. Colleagues and people I know personally have shared their funny/tragic/ridiculous stories. For some folks, telling me was the first time they really talked about it, because they were too embarrassed by what happened (picked on for no reason, or treated terribly for innocent requests), while for others, the experience is a well-worn story told at cocktail parties during the “what’s your worst travel experience?” round of storytelling.
This new article prompted a new set of commentators, and you can see that some of the feedback and insight is critical and questioning. I appreciate the thoughtfulness of some of your comments, especially those of you who have written to explain better how the airlines work and what motivates them. If nothing else, that additional information is interesting and helpful. I have nothing to gain by making this up, I would love nothing more than for the airline to interview everyone else at the back of that plane (seriously: don’t take my word for it. As the strangers on the plane, including the one quoted in the article who corroborated my story), and I am not seeking some big payout.
I have even been entertained by some of the emails I got from people who took the time to tell me that I was “dumb,” a “liar,” “ugly,” or otherwise dirtying up the internet with my face and/or having the nerve to write about my experience and/or daring to exist in this realm. And some folks seem genuinely irritated that I had the nerve to be upset by what happened, that I had the gall to say it was not acceptable, or that I had the audacity to turn down their voucher. Bless your heart, those of you who cared enough to send your very best. I’ve also read the comments posted on the articles themselves.
I know that some people want a neater resolution: maybe a better apology, or something. I know that’s not going to happen. American has nothing more to say to me, and PSA Airlines is treating this as an “internal matter” about which I am entitled to no information. The FAA, though it operates a website to gather consumer complaints, is not really interested in consumer complaints. I do not expect to hear from any of them again, and they know/hope that I’ll go on my way, returning to my work and my family and my community responsibilities. What did the airlines suffer? A moment of embarrassment, if that.
The only recourse I have is to continue to avoid American Airlines.