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    Flying Off The Handle Will Get You Handled

    | USA | Awesome Customers, Bad Behavior, Tourists/Travel

    (I’m at an airport, and the flight I’m on has been oversold. The representative calls over the PA system for volunteers willing to be bumped to another flight, in exchange for a free ticket. I am talking with the representative about changing my flight when a man storms up and begins berating the lone employee at the counter.)

    Employee: “I’ve found another flight on [airline] departing in 15 minutes which would get you to your final destination half an hour later than your originally scheduled arrival. Is that okay?”

    Customer: “This is outrageous. My family needs to travel together. I demand that you give my son a boarding pass at once! Stop helping other people!”

    Employee: “Sir, as I have already explained to you, your son bought a standby ticket, while you and your wife bought normal tickets. Your son will not be able to board this plane unless there are empty seats, and we are currently seeking 7 passengers willing to alter their travel plans. Please sit down and I will call you over if that becomes possible.”

    Customer: “No! I was talking to you first; you need to deal with me now!”

    Employee: “Sir, I cannot help you if there are no empty seats, and there currently aren’t, but there may be shortly if you will just wait.”

    Customer: “I shouldn’t have to wait!”

    (I decide to speak up.)

    Me: “Excuse me, but you’re making your own problem worse. I’m one of the 7 people who might be willing to get off this flight, for which I have a valid ticket, but only if the airline can reroute me. This man was trying to do so, but the flight he was going to put me on is leaving in less than 15 minutes. If he can’t get me on that flight, I’m not getting off this one. There is only one employee here; if he is busy with you yelling at him, he can’t process people being rerouted, and your son won’t be allowed on this plane. If you want your family to travel together, get out of the way and let this man do his job.”

    (The customer walks off in a huff and goes back to sitting with his family, muttering all the while. Meanwhile, the employee speaks to me.)

    Employee: “Technically, sir, I have to instruct you to let the airline employees deal with the other passengers.” *pauses* “That said, I’ve booked you an exit row window seat for all of your remaining flights at no additional charge, and please accept these vouchers for meals valid today at any of the airports on your itinerary, in addition to the credit for a round trip ticket we had already mentioned. Here is your new boarding pass, and your new flight departs from [gate] at [time].”