Flight Attendant~ “To the Flying Public, We’re Sorry”- author unknown

To the Flying Public: We’re sorry

We’re sorry we have no pillows.

We’re sorry we’re out of blankets.

We’re sorry the airplane is too cold.

We’re sorry the airplane is too hot.

We’re sorry the overhead bins are full.

We’re sorry we have no closet space for your oversized bag.

We’re sorry that’s not the seat you wanted.

We’re sorry there’s a restless toddler/overweight/offensive smelling passenger seated next to you.

We’re sorry the plane is full and there are no other seats available.

We’re sorry you didn’t get your upgrade.

We’re sorry that guy makes you uncomfortable because he “looks like a terrorist”.

We’re sorry there’s a thunderstorm and we can’t take off.

We’re sorry we don’t know when it will stop.

We’re sorry you’re crammed into a space so small that if you were an animal PETA would protest.

We’re sorry our plane has no music or video entertainment for your 3 hour flight.

We’re sorry we ran out of your favorite soda.

We’re sorry there are no more sandwiches.

We’re sorry that Budweiser costs $6.

We’re sorry we don’t have diapers for your baby.

We’re sorry we don’t have milk for same baby.

We’re sorry you can’t hang out by the cockpit door waiting to use the bathroom.

We’re sorry you can’t hang out at the back of the airplane.

We’re sorry you have to sit down and fasten your seatbelt.

We’re sorry you have to put your seat up for landing.

We’re sorry we don’t know when we’re going to land.

We’re sorry we don’t know whether your plane to (substitute any city in the world) will be waiting for you when we land.

We’re sorry we’ve been diverted because we ran out of gas waiting to land.

We’re sorry for these and so many other things that we have absolutely no control over but which we are held accountable for EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Please understand. Flight attendants are not the enemy. We share your space. More than anyone – we want to have a nice, pleasant travel experience.

There is a reason behind everything we ask you to do. It may be a FAA directive. It may be security related. It may be a company procedure.

We don’t just make stuff up. We don’t spend 8 weeks at the flight academy learning how to pour a Coke. There are many things that flight attendants are watching for constantly on every flight FOR YOUR SAFETY. It’s not because we’re bored or so controlling that we just enjoy telling people what to do. I, for one, would like to have one flight where I didn’t have to repeatedly tell people to put their seats up for landing. Seriously. Can’t you just do what we ask sometimes? Without the glares, eye rolling and disdain? For the record – putting your seat up for landing may not seem that important to your personal safety. However, it is very important for the person sitting BEHIND YOU. If you have ever tried to get out of a row where someone has their seat back you know it can be a challenge. Try grabbing your ankles (emergency brace position) or getting out of that row quickly with smoke in the cabin.

Understand a little better now?

Many of the things we ask passengers to comply with are FAA directives. Like carry-on bag stowage and exit row requirements. When we can serve drinks (in the air) and when we can’t (after the aircraft door is closed or on an active taxi-way). We are only allowed to move about the cabin during taxi out for safety related duties. We can’t get you blankets, or hang coats, or get you drinks. It’s not because we don’t want to. It’s because we are held personally responsible if we fail to comply with FAA directives. Meaning that the FAA can fine us personally up to $10,000 if we fail to comply or enforce an FAA Directive.

Like no bags at the bulkhead. No children in the exit row. No one moving around the cabin during taxi. Perhaps now you know why flight attendants get a little testy when people move about the cabin when they’re not supposed to. It’s not the company that gets in trouble for that. It’s us.

Personally, I wish the airlines would show worst case scenario safety videos. Like what happens if you walk through the cabin during turbulence. There could be a guy who has just fallen and smacked his face on the metal armrest and now has a bloody, gushing broken nose. Or an elderly lady who now has a broken arm because someone walking to the bathroom fell on her.

Maybe a passenger with a broken neck becaus e somebody opened an overhead bin during turbulence and a suitcase fell out and onto the person sitting beneath it. These things can easily happen in a fast moving, unstable air environment.

Please just trust that we are looking out for your best interest and stop fighting with us about everything we ask you to do. It is exhausting.

Finally, please, please direct your hostility and frustrations in the direction where they will be most effective: The customer service department. They are the ones equipped to handle your complaint and implement procedures for CHANGE.

Think about it. Complaining to the flight crew about all your negative travel experiences is about the same as complaining to the office janitor because your computer isn’t working. It may make you feel better to vent about it – but it really won’t fix anything. More than anybody we are already aware of the lack of amenities, food, service and comfort on the aircraft. Please share your concerns with the people in the cubicles at corporate who need that information to make better decisions for the flying public.

It’s frustrating that so many people are in denial about what the travel industry is about now. The glory days of pillows, blankets, magazines and a hot meal for everyone are long gone. Our job is to get you from point A to point B safely and at the cheapest possible cost to you and the company. So be prepared. If you are hungry – get a sandwich before you get on the plane.

If it’s a 3 hour flight, anticipate that you may get hungry and bring some snacks. If you are cold natured – bring a wrap. Think for yourself and think ahead. Otherwise, don’t complain when you have to pay $3 for a cookie and are left with a crusty blanket to keep you warm.

We hear often that the service just isn’t what is used to be. Well, the SERVICE we provide now isn’t what it used to be. When I was hired, my job was to serve drinks, meals, ensure that safety requirements were met and tend to in-flight medical issues.

Since 9/11 my primary job is to ensure that my airplane will not be compromised by a terrorist. 9/11 may be a distant memory now to many, but be assured that EVERY DAY a flight attendant reports to work he or she is constantly thinking about 9/11. We feel a personal responsibility to ensure that something like that never happens again. We can never relax. We can never not be suspicious about someone’s intentions.

It is difficult to be vigilant and gregarious at the same time. Especially when most of us are working 12 hour days after layovers that only allow 5-6 hours of sleep. Not because we were out partying and having a grand time on the layover – but because the delays that you experience as a passenger also affect us as a crew, so that what was a 10 hour layover is now 8 hours which doesn’t leave a lot of time to recover from what has become an increasingly stressful occupation.

Despite everything, I still enjoy being a flight attendant.

I am writing this letter because I do still care about my profession and about the public perception of flight attendants. In the increasingly challenging travel world it is becoming more imperative than ever for people to just be decent to each other. I can go through an entire day without one person saying anything remotely civil. I will stand at the aircraft door and say hello to everyone who enters and maybe 50% will even look at me and even less will say hello back.

I will try to serve someone a meal who can’t be bothered to take their headsets off long enough for me to ask them what they want. Most of the time the only conversation a passenger has with me is when they are complaining.

Is it any wonder why flight attendants have shut down a bit? After suffering the disdain of hundreds of passengers a day it’s difficult sometimes to even smile, much less interact. We are human. We appreciate the same respect and courtesy that passengers do.

The next time you fly, try treating the flight attendants the way you would like to be treated. You may be surprised how friendly your flight crew is when they are treated like people.

author unknown

Thanks to JMA for providing the link on Facebook Fan Page

Thanks to Simpliflying for the link to Airliner.net

Thanks to JAFA, for posting on Airliners.net

If you’re in the market for a travel pillow, check out this Guide to the Best Travel Pillows.

35 comments for “Flight Attendant~ “To the Flying Public, We’re Sorry”- author unknown

  1. Steve
    August 22, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    To the author:

    As an every-week flier, I appreciate what you do for a living. I really do. I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be to know that 50% or better of what you say over the intercom is ignored; or what it’s like to have a 6’4″ healthy male ask you to stow his luggage for him. Or how many elite fliers who should know better make unrealistic demands because they are the single source of revenue for the airline. I’ve always wondered what it is that makes otherwise intelligent, self-sufficient adults to turn into complete morons the moment they step onto an airplane. And bitch. And whine. And complain. I mean, it’s a couple hours out of our lives for a simple flight. When you compare the number of instances of multi=hour delays and in-flight issues like severe turbulence to the number of flights that take off and land in the U.S. everyday, it’s astounding. Flying is really a simple, relatively convenient way to get 1000 miles in a couple hours.

    In fairness, there are a lot of FA’s who simply need to find something else to do. I know the FA’s primary role is for my safety. But, serving drinks is still a part of it too, and it’s part of the job that each FA knows they have when they sign up. So is an occasional walk through the cabin. The “I’m here for your safety and have to be vigilant” stuff loses all its credibility when 3 FAs are hanging out in the back of the plane complaining about work rules for half the flight, or when I walk to the rest room and the FA is busily engaged in sudoku. Of course you should have some rest; but I don’t think asking for a second glass of Sprite Zero classifies me as difficult – which is how I’ve been made to feel. Those who really hate all the requirements of being a Flight Attendant should find something else to do; just like those who can’t climb on an airplane and treat fellow human beings with respect should head to Greyhound or drive themselves.

    Of all FA writings I’ve read, yours is in my opinion one of the best ever. You’re thoughts are balanced and are obviously born of experience and a genuinely caring attitude. So, on behalf of every 125-or-so passengers on all of my flights this week, I apologize to YOU. I, and I assure you many of your best customers have a great deal of respect for you.

    And despite its downsides – aviation is still an amazing and awesome science and industry that should never lose its aura of wonder. Navigating halfway around the globe in 12 hours is still a magnificent gift.

    Safe travels.

    • cb
      September 18, 2013 at 5:41 pm

      why don’t you get a pilot licence and fly YOUR OWN plane…always whining and complaining

    • Special
      September 20, 2013 at 9:29 am

      I agree with most of what you say. However, people don’t make you feel a certain way, how you feel is yours to own or a perception. Don’t take anything personally, just ask and move on. Let the FA’s own the feelings, just creates less suffering.

    • Kathy
      September 20, 2013 at 4:36 pm

      I appreciate your fair assessment of this post. There are good FA’s and terrible FA’s as in any profession, and I’ve worked with good and terrible, lazy, rude and angry. Please know that they are truly the minority. Sometimes you are unlucky enough to get one or several of these lovely guys/gals.
      I’ve been a FA for a long time and I can honestly say that the majority of the crews that I work with are hard working, kind people. Nobody really likes to fly anymore, and who would? You are manhandled by TSA/security, asked to board en masse like cattle onto less spacious airplanes with limited overhead bin space into shrinking seats with little or no food service except a beverage. I don’t even like to travel on my vacation or days off.
      We all feel your pain; just strive to be polite and flexible…it’ll go a long way.

  2. Danielle Woods
    September 17, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    I also agree with most of what was stated in this letter. However, in my 13 years of flying experienced this many negative people on one flight much less a whole day. There are a lot of questions, but rarely do I get disdain from my answers.
    When I was a new flight attendant I took my family to Hawaii for a vacation. When we got seated on the aircraft I realized that the Flight Attendant had been speaking on the intercom and I had not heard a word she was saying.
    There were two reason for my lack of attention I realized that day. The first reason is because the minute you step into an airport you are inundated with announcements. You hear them over and over and over again and you start tuning them out.
    The second reason is because the minute you step on the airplane you are so worried about getting your belongings organized and seated to get out of the aisle so that someone else can pass by you that you are not listening to what is being said around you (which leads back to number one)
    When I am standing in the front of the plane, I am almost always greeted with a smile, a hello, or just eye contact. If I get the rare one that does not respond to my hello I think “wow, that’s rude” but only because it takes be aback a little to NOT get a response from someone. Then I refer back to number one.
    Yes, flying now is different that it was pre-9/11, but it is still enjoyable. I have of course, like all of us, had that occasional jerk who thinks they are someone special and don’t have to follow the rules like everyone else. What do I do, I embarrass them. I call them out in front of everyone and make others laugh. They feel like an idiot and others got to watch a little bit of playful fun at someone else’s expense.
    I do the best I can to make my day go by as pleasantly as possible. When I deal with several hundred people a day I don’t have the energy to get upset at people who don’t really pay attention to me. Why ruin my day because of someone else’s behavior?
    I had one experience that I will never forget and taught me the biggest lesson of my career.
    My crew mate was standing in the over wing during boarding. A man walked by him and very curtly said “I don’t want peanuts, I don’t want a drink, I don’t want anything, just leave me alone.” Well, that wasn’t going to fly with him. He has a huge heart and knew something outside the airplane had happened. He went up to this gentleman and asked if everything was okay and if there was anything he could do to help. The man began to cry and said that he just left the funeral of his son.
    Every since that day I have looked at my job as an opportunity to make someone’s day go a little better. I don’t know what happened to that person before they got on the plane and I don’t take anything personal.
    I have many people ask me when they find out I am a flight attendant “boy you must have some stories to tell”. My answer is always the same. “No, not really, my job is a blast and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
    Yes, you will find us sitting in the back of the plane doing our crosswords or gabbing about our jobs (and, no, we are not always complaining about the pay). We have been through the cabin a dozen times asking if there is anything else you would like, taking your trash and just checking on your general comfort. There is a point where you want us to leave you alone and let you relax. We have only ourselves to empathize with us about things that happen on our jobs. 99% of us have just met at the beginning of our trip and we are getting acquainted. Unlike popular belief there are thousands of flight attendants in one airline and rarely do any of us fly together more than one trip. So we are meeting strangers every time we begin our trips and the most common ground is our jobs.
    I do appreciate the letter from above. It states all of our frustrations and all of what we have said to one another at one point of our careers or another.
    I could also add, don’t ask for a drink for your sleeping partner, I will 9 times out of 10 end up throwing it away at the end of the flight. Don’t poke them in the ribs and ask them what they want. When they wake up I will be happy to bring them a fresh, not watered down drink.
    So, in the end, yes we have our frustrations and the general public forget their brains when they get to the airport, but we also sometimes forget our manners when we get to work. We all have to be understanding that there are two sides to every story and be patient with people. This IS the job we signed up for.

  3. Robert
    September 17, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    Dam, someone (the Stepford stewardess) needs to smoke a fat one and just get over the fact they have to work. It happens to us all! At least you get to see people when they’re on vacation!! How’d you like to only see someone when they are suffering intense pain? Yea, I don’t expect ANY help from the crew if something similar to 9/11 happens again, the passengers will subdue whomever and prevent entry into the cockpit. And we’ll like it.

    • Danielle Woods
      September 18, 2013 at 10:53 pm

      I’m curious, Robert, if you are talking about the first letter addressing all of our issues or mine? Like to clarify which one of us is being referred to as the “Stepford Sterwardess”.

      • Robert
        September 26, 2013 at 10:53 am

        @Danielle.. that is another Robert. I did not write the post with Stepford stewardess.

  4. Darrin White
    September 18, 2013 at 7:28 am

    I was a police officer for 20 years so I understand not being appreciated. The job was great the people were not. These days there is a sense of entitlement and the people who demand respect the most are the ones least likely to give it. Plus they pay a lot for a ticket so they feel like they have every right to be demanding. My only concern on a flight is to make sure it does not plow into a mountain. The drinks and snacks are a bonus to me. People are rude and stupid and demanding and want evwryrhing their way and if they don’t get it they get loud and louder. The airline industry has not changedthe job function of flight attemdants hasn’t changed the people who interact with these two have. In case I haven’t made myself clear people are stupid.

    • cb
      September 28, 2013 at 6:19 pm

      yes,completely agree…1) the public has changed over the years ruder than ever 2)a flight attendant can do all she/he can do and they are not appreciative 3) when an employer treats their employees less than DIRT this will trickle down to the public…I’m curious on how these foreign airlines treat their employees…since all these customers complain about United States airlines employees so much!

  5. Robert
    September 18, 2013 at 11:45 pm

    This article is the biggest bunch of garbage I have ever read! I am so sick of the US flight attendant using 9/11 as an excuse to be the laziest rudest hag in the sky!

    I fly 90% these days on international carriers like Singapore, Cathay, and Lufthansa! I see NONE of this nonsense on these carriers and they still find time to serve a full meal service with a smile on a short 2-3 hour domestic flight. Even Lufthansa does this on a 1-2 hour flight in Europe. Yet I dont hear ANY of them apologize for not providing a pillow or a drink etc because they still provide a full service and understand their role in customer service. Safety is transparent and goes hand in hand, but they sure dont throw it in the paying passenger’s face every flight with the endless announcements that they are there for your safety and to put your seat up and turn your phone off over and over and over. Flying in the USA is so miserable thanks to the miserable attitude of MANY flight attendants because of what is said in this article! Enough already! Every stewardess should be required to go to an Asian airline for a month and learn what customer service is all about before spouting off like this article does.

    • Sassy Stew
      September 19, 2013 at 4:17 am

      Dear Robert, you clearly have no idea how the airline industry works. American carriers are not government institutions with endless funds so to make profits and keep people at work, and to keep ignorant people like you getting from point a to b for the lowest price, they cut out meals and pillows. And the letter wasn’t that she was complaining about doing her job, she just wants people like you to understand that we cannot help the way the company does things and the service the company allows us to provide. We also cannot help that in this country we have federal regulations to uphold. If you are willing to pay the fines for the flight attendants because they let you break the rules and do whatever you want, compromising the safety of those around you, and of course yourself, maybe we can come to an agreement. I just hope the passengers who get caught behind your reclined seat in the event of an emergency are as understanding to your personal needs. And we do not get paid to kiss your ass. We are there to save your ass. And if that doesn’t need to be done we will serve you with what the company provides us. If you don’t like it, charter a private jet.

      • Queen Golden
        September 19, 2013 at 3:42 pm

        What happen to all the qualities you presented when you are about to get this Job. Loving, Caring< Empathy, Love taking care of people. I love FAs all am just saying is you Ignore the problem passengers and focus on the ones that really appreciate you. Recently a flight attendant refused taking out 2mins to come poise with my two kids for a picture but this mean attitude wont stop me for loving FAs.

      • Robert
        September 19, 2013 at 4:02 pm

        Thats the problem with FAs in the USA.. you think you are there to save my ass! Perhaps, in the rare event that a crash happens. But what are you there for the 99.9% rest of the time? To hide out in the galley and read People magazine? NO! You are there to serve your customers that pay your wage!

        FYI the airlines I mentioned are all public companies. They do not receive government subsidies, are all profitable, and excel at customer service.

        American cabin crew need an attitude adjustment!

        • Liesl King
          September 19, 2013 at 9:51 pm

          Robert – thanks for the advice on being becoming better flight attendants, here in the US. You couldn’t be more wrong about the intentions and/or responsibilities of any flight attendant.
          BTW….some advice from a former flight attendant to you: A nice, long grammar lesson is in order, my friend!!!!

        • Kathy
          September 20, 2013 at 11:34 am

          Robert, about 13 cents of the price of your ticket goes to “Pay Our Salary”. That’s it. Hopefully the next FA that helps you in any way knows that and gives you 13 cents worth of service.

          • Robert
            September 20, 2013 at 4:02 pm

            It is not the passengers problem that only 13 cents of a ticket goes to your pay. The rest goes to other expenses that keep the airline in business, and you employed! The attitude amongst American stewardesses is shocking. It is apparent that you pass on the mentality that if only 13 cents goes to you pay then you should provide equally low service.

            Why is it that European and Asian airlines get it and you dont? I get better service on a 45 minute Iberia flight than I do in America! I recently flew Virgin Australia on a short hop. The service was stellar and low cost as well! Emirates – no comparison! The problem lies in the fact that someone in America decided that being a FA was a career where you could fly until youre 70 years old, whereas most other countries hire young, energetic and attractive cabin crew that find something else to do in their 30s or early 40s, instead of being an old cranky bitch who thinks their job is so much more important than it really is. Time for a dose of reality!

          • Kathy
            September 21, 2013 at 7:51 am

            Robert, you missed my point. There are good FA’s and Lousy FA’s, as in any service industry.
            Those that don’t do their jobs should be fired, end of story. However, every airline that you mentioned enjoying are government subsidized airlines, hence, they are paid more, have better benefits, more FA’s on flights, and mandatory retirement caps. Not that this should be an excuse for better service, but I, too, have noticed a big difference in the general attitudes of workers from state-subsized carriers.
            You can’t compare them…..
            But, please, don’t ever think that you, or anyone, is “paying our salary”. It’s never an excuse to be rude or demanding. As I previously stated, there are great employees and there are terrible employees, as there are great passengers and terrible passengers. It works both ways.

        • Kimberlee
          September 21, 2013 at 7:45 am

          Being a F/A and reading your comments really shows me how stupid you really are.I wouldn’t save your sorry ass,and I certainly wont give you the time of day other wise,we can always pick you “too good” people out,and why should we waste our time even trying to interact with such a moron.I hope I never meet you on a flt.Of course I do meet people like you every week,so sad you have to lose your brains at the door.

          • Robert
            September 25, 2013 at 2:57 pm

            @Kimberlee.. you should be fired with that attitude. Get over yourself please and retire so someone young and energetic can take your place. You are in the service industry. Not to be rude, but you are a glorified waitress in the sky who will open the door and blow the slide in the rare event a crash happens. Its not rocket science.

            @Kathy.. Lufthansa, Cathay, BA, Virgin are NOT state subsidized airlines. Even if they were, it has no bearing on good customer service. Its in their culture. American culture is rooted in laziness, entitlement, and poor work ethic. Check your facts.

          • Kathy
            September 26, 2013 at 3:27 pm

            Robert, Cathay and Lufthansa do get subsidies from their government, I have friends who fly for both, so I am correct on that point.
            I think you’re just a very angry person. My previous reply to your post stated that I AGREE with much of what you’re saying; particularly that regardless of whether you’re a subsidized employee or not, NO ONE should ever be rude or lazy, but you chose to ignore that and instead focus on telling me to check my facts.
            You only want to argue. I’m done with you

    • Bob
      September 19, 2013 at 11:23 am

      Think you missed the point, Robert. All the things you mentioned, except attitude, are out of the flight attendants control. The reason the flight attendant can provide those amenities on those flights is because corporate provides them to you. What do you expect? Should the flight attendants purchase meals, pillows, blankets for all the passengers? You seem very ignorant and I am glad I do not have to work with you! YOU are the problem. The reason you encounter the bad attitude is most likely because you are the person complaining and treating them rudely for things out of their control. I think you should have to spend a week being an US flight attendant, per your own suggestion.

      • Robert
        September 19, 2013 at 4:06 pm

        Ha! I realize the airlines have stripped most amenities but that is still no excuse. On a recent 5+ hour transcon flight I saw the cabin crew pass through with drinks ONCE and then they disappeared to the galley for the remainder of the flight. No water, no pass through to check on anyone. Ignorant? Hardly! I have several friends in the airline industry and hear their constant bitching and witness their horrible attitudes all the time.

  6. Bubba
    September 19, 2013 at 8:47 am


    • xx@hotmail.com
      September 19, 2013 at 9:36 am

      wow. you are an angry and disturbed man.

    • Kristy
      September 19, 2013 at 9:40 am

      Bubba you need help! That is a level 4 threat against a flight attendant & I am sure they will track you down and charge you accordingly! I pray that people like you never reproduce. You are full of hate and evil & I’m sure you are as ignorant as your name insinuates!

    • SkyAngel
      September 19, 2013 at 10:20 am

      @bubba you should be arrested for that threat! On behalf of all FAs you should be punished for your actions!

    • Amy C
      September 20, 2013 at 3:25 am

      You ARE the reason for much needed change to guns laws…period.

  7. Lynda
    September 19, 2013 at 10:44 am

    @ Bubba. You’re

  8. Miranda
    September 19, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    The one thing that gets me everytime I fly is the way they board the plane ! They always start with rows 1 – 10. And with all the people taking their airport trollies on board, they are standing in the path trying to get their luggage in the overhead ! Al the boarding people behind them have to wait till they are done ! Why not board the plane back to front ? That way the people standing in the back are not in the way of the next one boarding !?

    Also…why are most airlines now charging extra for checked in luggage ?
    If it was up to me, I would charge extra for all those who take the luggage into the plane, and let checked in luggage be free…. that would solve the overhead space problem ! I don’t mind getting to the airport 2 hrs before the flight leaves, and waiting 30 – 45 minutes at my destination to get my luggage…

  9. Jessica
    September 25, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    Thank you for a peek into your world. I can totally understand how many expectations people have. I am a nurse and it is interesting to compare the role of the nurse and that of a flight attendant. There are days where I feel like I am nothing more than a waitress, which may I remind you my “job” is to keep my patients safe,alive,and comfortable (much like a flight attendant), but I have found it is all about YOUR attitude. One thing I disagree with in your article is that you tell people to redirect their frustration to customer service because that is what they are trained to do. Have you ever dealt with an airline’s “customer service” department before? They are anything but helpful.I was recently flying by myself with my 2 month old baby. Once on the plane they found it had some mechanical issues and they proceeded to jack it up to fix the struts (important I know) 1 hour later when I realized I was going to miss my connecting flight where I would meet up with my Mom and she would help with the rest of the trip I asked the FA if there was anyway to see if I could get off the plane and try and get on the flight my Mom was on that hadn’t left yet. My request was brushed to the side and I was told I may still make it to catch my connection. Long story short…I didn’t, had 9 hours of layovers with 3 plane rides by myself (did I mention it was a international flight to Canada). I got in at 11pm instead of 3 pm and my final destination was a 7 hour car ride away. 4 other people were inconvenienced and I ended up having to pay for a hotel for everyone because they had been waiting at the airport all day to drive us 7 hours when we got in and it was now too late. Upon calling customer service and relaying my travel experience (it had nothing to do with the delays it was how I was treated in the process and the lack of concern and help I received)I received NO help whatsoever. I was finally given $100 voucher for a future flight. I graciously let them know that the voucher was of no help because I would NEVER fly United again and requested to be reimbursed for the hotel since there was multiple ways that I could have caught my flight if I had been listened to and truly helped. I was told that I couldn’t be reimbursed because it was my final destination, which it was not my final destination was a 7 hour car ride away. Again, I understand delays are out of the hands of the airline, but when a customer is requesting something that could have avoided all the mayhem anyone that works for that airline should go out of their way to at least try. That is what I do for each of my patients that I care for in the hospital and that is what I expect when I am paying lots of money to a company to be “safe,alive and cared for.”
    It would be interesting to see how customer service would change if airlines began to get paid based on service like they are doing in the medical field. Basically, your company loses money if you do not achieve a benchmark customer satisfaction in comparison to the rest of the nation’s companies. Unfortunately, every company in the USA is having its employees learn to do more with less, but customer service should not be sacrificed in the process. It can make the employees grumpy but it is our job to continue to offer the best we can with what we have. It sucks when you work so hard and get yelled at and I agree that people should not take out their anger on the front line staff. However, the customer service departments need to get their act together and do their job so there is a place to vent pent up frustration. If a situation such as I had with United Airlines happened at the hospital I work at I would have received a phone call from the unit’s director as well as the chief Nursing officer and possible the CEO of the hospital. I would have been apologized to and even offered the opportunity to come and speak about my experience and how it could have been better to help the hospital make positive changes. People need a way to feel heard otherwise it leads to frustration.

    • cb
      September 28, 2013 at 6:29 pm

      I’m curious what is your suggestion that the flight attendant do in your situation? I’m pretty sure passengers in front of you has short connections also…she should have brought you to the front of the plane? what if it was a full flight and seats not available? now what? btw how can you compare medical health to flying?

  10. Robert
    September 25, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    Ill leave this for one to ponder on the differing attitudes present in the USA airline industry:

    Lauda started Lauda Air in 1979. Seeking to offer better service than traditional European airlines did, he required that flight attendants check the bathrooms every 20 minutes to make sure they were clean, He hired Vienna’s best restaurants as caterers and he sought to assure that flight attendants were “young and friendly” by setting an age limit of 36. When they passed 36, flight attendants were offered other jobs at the airline. “After 10 years in that job, you are burned out,” he said in the interview. “If you stay longer, you don’t get more friendly or more motivated.”

    • cb
      October 8, 2013 at 12:56 pm

      times have changed…you are correct about attitudes in America; because a 22 year old woman TODAY will not put up with this rude, ungrateful American public; she will quit within 3 months…young Americans today will NOT deal with the customer service industry; unless they are homeless

  11. Robert
    October 2, 2013 at 5:19 pm


    Not to beat a dead horse, but you could not be more wrong about which airlines are subsidized by their government. Cathay is owned Swire Group in the UK. Lufthansa is a public corporation listed on the the DAX and on the NY exchange. The list goes on…but your belief that foreign airlines are state ran and as a result are able to offer services superior to US airlines is utter nonsense.

    I too have friends working for many international airlines, but dont need to ask them when you can read the airline’s annual report.

    Good day.

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