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They Have Something To Declare

| Working | October 31, 2013

(I am 17 and my mom is in her 40s. We are flying back from a month long trip across Europe, and are getting ready to land back in Canada.)

Flight Attendant: “Customs forms, one per household.”

My Mom: “Thanks, we just need one.”

Flight Attendant: “It’s one per household.”

My Mom: “Yes, thanks, just one.”

(The flight attendant leaves, but comes back shortly after and squats down next to us so he can talk quietly.)

Flight Attendant: “You do know these are one per household right?”

My Mom: “Yeah…”

Flight Attendant: “So are you two married, or…?”

My Mom: “She’s my daughter.”

(The flight attendant turned bright red, apologized and ran off. Mom and I couldn’t stop laughing. Shortly thereafter a different flight attendant came, said the guy was really embarrassed and really sorry and they would like to offer us a free bottle of wine for the mistake. We already had our liquor limit in wine from Italy, so we gave it to the flight attendant on our way out and thanked him for making us laugh!)

Non-Flight Risk

| Right | October 10, 2013

(A passenger takes a flight from British Columbia to Newfoundland with one connection in between in Calgary. With roughly an hour to make the connection, she should have an easy time, especially since all flights are on time, and her gates are right across the room from each other. However, she misses her connecting flight. Our airline, at no additional fee, moves her to the next available flight in six hours. Within an hour or so, however, she calls our call center.)

Passenger: “I’d like to make a complaint!”

Agent: “Oh? I’m sorry to hear that. How can I assist you?”

Passenger: “I’m calling because your airline made me miss my connecting flight, and would not provide me a hotel for the night.”

Agent: “Oh, wow. I’m terribly sorry to hear that. What is your reservation code? I’ll see if I can find out if there is something we can do.”

(The agent reviews the reservation, and sees that the passenger has been re-accommodated to a new flight, and has been given a meal voucher for within the airport.)

Agent: “With all due respect, ma’am, it seems that your flight into Calgary was actually early, and you had just over an hour to connect to your connecting flight. It even shows that the agent at the gate called your name a few times. I’m not sure how we caused you to miss your flight.”

Passenger: “It was all your fault! And I want you guys to pay for my hotel for the night!”

Agent: “Again, ma’am, I apologize for—”

Passenger: “It was all the pilot’s fault! He didn’t tell me what time it was!”

Agent: “I’m sorry, what?”

Passenger: “The time! He didn’t tell me what time it was supposed to make an announcement about what time it is.”

Agent: “Ma’am, as a former gate agent at the airport, I can assure you that the captain does make those announcements. Also, in the case that he does not, I happen to know that roughly every 15 feet within the airport, there is a clock on a TV, food service station, and in every lounge. May I ask where you were that you were unable to see the clocks or hear the gate agent?”

Passenger: “That’s none of your business! Now, on top of paying for my hotel, I want you to pay me for my time that you’ve cost me by making me miss my flight. Give me back my money for this flight.”

Agent: “So, ma’am, let me see if I understand this: you got on a flight, knowing you had a connection in Calgary. On your confirmation, it told you the time you would arrive and leave. The captain may not have announced what time it was over the PA system, but within the airport, there were many clocks and many attempts at calling your name to get you on your connecting aircraft. When you did not make it onto the flight, we re-accommodated you at no fee, and even gave you a meal voucher for your additional hours at the airport. Now, you would like us to give you a free flight, AND reimburse you for the hotel that you only get about five hours of use from.”

Passenger: “Listen, are you stupid? You need to stop repeating me and get me some money.”

Agent: “I’m sorry, ma’am; I am not going to be able to help you.”

Passenger: “Tonight?”

Agent: “Ever.”

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Flights Of Fancy

| Working | September 29, 2013

(My initial flight is delayed, so I am checking to see when the next connecting flight leaves. My final destination is by no means a small city.)

Agent #1: “Do you have a connecting flight, sir? If so I can direct you to the correct gate.”

Me: “Yes, I was supposed to be on flight [number], but I’ve already missed it. When is the next flight to [location]?”

Agent #1: *confused look* “Umm… we don’t fly into [location].”

Me: “Here is my boarding pass; you obviously fly there, or else I wouldn’t have a ticket.”


Me: “I printed this at the airpo—”

Agent #1: “THAT’S IT! SECURITY!”

(Finally, another nearby gate agent hears the screaming and comes over.)

Agent #2: “What is the problem here?”

Agent #1: “This man printed a fake ticket. I know we don’t fly to [location], so it has to be fake.”

Agent #2: “Oh, for the love of—I’m sorry, sir. Let me look up when the next flight to [location] is.”

Agent #1: “NO! Y’ALL JUST CONSPIRING AGAINST ME!” *storms off*

Agent #2: *to me, sighing* “The sad part is, that’s at least the third time she’s tried to call security for a fake boarding pass.”

The Flight Of His Wife Is The Fright Of His Life

| Right | August 16, 2013

(I am closing the ticket counter for the night. Our airline believes very strongly on flights leaving on time, and as such have a strict thirty-minute cutoff policy. Anyone arriving at less than 30 minutes to departure will not be allowed to check-in. It is 27 minutes to the last flight’s departure, and a man comes running to the counter, where my coworker and her trainee are still at an open computer.)

Passenger: “I need to check-in for this flight!”

Coworker: “I am really sorry, sir, but unfortunately you are too late to make your flight. I will be glad to rebook you for a flight tomorrow. May I see your ID?”

Passenger: “What do you mean I’m too late? The flight doesn’t leave until 9 pm!”

Trainee: “Yes sir, but we have a 30 minute cutoff for check-in, and it’s 8:33 pm.”

Passenger: “It’s only three minutes!”

Trainee: “Yes, sir, but you still have to get through security. We want the other 131 passengers on the plane to leave on time.”

Coworker: “I’m very sorry, sir, but it is too late. As I said, I would be glad to book you on a different flight tomorrow.”

Passenger: “Your airline is stupid! I got your stupid credit card because I thought you would respect loyalty! It’s the last flight of the night and I’m going to be f****** stuck here until tomorrow!”

(The passenger continues to get increasingly angry and starts yelling obscenities. Everyone around, including the employees of airlines next to us, are staring. He is waving the credit card around.)

Passenger: “Fine! Rebook me for tomorrow! And give me that stapler!”

(My coworker hands him the stapler. The passenger uses the stapler to split the credit card in half, then throws the pieces at my coworker.)

Passenger: “I will never fly your airline again!”

Coworker: “Sir, I have been trying to help you, but I won’t take this kind of abuse. Now, if you want me to continue, I will need you to stop. Also, I would like to inform you that your flight was actually for tomorrow.”

Passenger: *suddenly quiet* “Oh. My wife was supposed to call and change that.”

Coworker: “Well, she didn’t. Do you still want me to rebook you?”

Passenger: “Never mind. I’ll just call.” *leaves*

Trainee: “Wow.”

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Check-In Has Totally Checked-Out

| Working | July 26, 2013

(I have noticed my airline ticket states ‘Check-in: minimum three hours prior. Failure to report to check-in on time will result in loss of seat and forfeiture of refund’. This seems excessive, but I decide to play it safe and arrive at the airline more than three hours prior for check-in. However, check-in isn’t available until about an hour and a half prior. I eventually check in.)

Clerk: “Thank you, have a nice flight.”

Me: “Actually, I was wondering where I can direct a complaint.”

(The clerk immediately looks uncomfortable. I quickly realize my mistake.)

Me: “Oh, no, don’t worry. I have no complaints about you. Your service was excellent! However, the ticket clearly states we have to check in a minimum of three hours prior to the flight, which obviously isn’t the case. I just want the airline to know that if they don’t provide more accurate information on their tickets, they might lose conscientious passengers.”

Clerk: “Oh, the ticket doesn’t mean you have to check in three hours prior; just that you should be at the airport at that time.”

Me: “Actually, the ticket specifically says CHECK-IN is a minimum of three hours prior.”

Clerk: “No, it says you must be at the airport three hours prior.”

(I point to the part of the ticket which provides the check-in information, and read it aloud.)

Clerk: “Um, uh… sorry about the, uh, delay…”

Me: “I don’t think you understand. I’m not claiming you did anything wrong. I know it wasn’t your fault. I simply want to register a complaint with the airline so they know this type of misinformation on the ticket can be frustrating to some passengers, potentially resulting in a loss of business.”

Clerk: “I’m really sorry about the delay.”

Me: “I simply want to know how to contact a complaints or customer service department, so they might stop placing this misleading information on the ticket.”

Clerk: “We’ll do our best to ensure check-in is speedier next time.”

Me: “Is there a department I can contact for complaints? A hotline? A customer service desk?”

Clerk: “I’m really sorry if my service—”

Me: “Never mind. I’m sorry I bothered you. I’ll just check the website and see who I can contact from there.”

Clerk: “Yes, that’s a great idea! Or perhaps you can send an email to the complaints department!”