Posted October 21, 2008 by Carl Unger
About a month ago, my fellow blogger Zak Patten posted a piece about a New York Times reporter who went undercover as an American Airlines flight attendant. While the article and Zak's entry were interesting in and of themselves, a few of our readers chimed in with illuminating experiences of their own. What we found is a wide range of stories and opinions, much of which reflects the strained airline industry we're all dealing with.
Here's one reader's take: "They act like the passengers don't matter at all. If I'm sleeping in the aisle seat because it's 2am and we've been sitting on the runway for 7 hours, don't yell at the person in the window seat about a drink such that you obviously wake me up - have some common decency and speak softly. If you want to play with your bag that you brought on board, move it out of the way so I can get to the bathroom - I'm the passenger and you're the service professional. It's your job to do everything you can to make my life easier. I couldn't care less about their personal issues - they should pop some pills and shape up."
A flight attendant posted as well, lending a voice to the other side: "Sometimes the people who sit in first class, esp. the women become so taken with themselves that frequently they never look you in the eye when you take their order. And worse than that they get their male companion to order for them never giving any acknowledgment of my presence. Do you think I'm going to knock myself out to serve that person-think again."
One reader offers a tip that will make flight attendants' lives easier: "One of the best ways to help them and all passengers is: No carry ons. Faster boarding and esp. faster getting off the filled aircraft. Big deal another 10 minutes to get your suitcase when leaving." Still, others are just plain frustrated with flight attendants in general: "It would be nice to have flight attendants at least START with a nice attitude."
Finally, another flight attendant posted a sobering paragraph, reminding us all to keep things in perspective: "When someone is screaming in your face because their vegetarian meal did not get on, or they may have to check the bag, or they forgot diapers, (you know this is all our fault by the way) I calmly take a breath and think of the thousands that died on 9/11 and realize how insignificant all these little issues are. What customers do forget is we are the ones that will get your *&#% off a burning airplane and we will put you before ourselves, because that is how we are trained so if you don't get that extra drink in the timely manner you are so accustomed to, maybe we're giving oxygen to someone who actually needs us, or we are checking to make sure you are in a safe environment. I personally apologize for any rude behavior on any stew's part and really there is no excuse, sometimes we just lower ourselves to that level when someone is spitting in our face about really insignificant issues"
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