Hats Off To Bad Service

| Working | May 22, 2015

(My family is on a flight back to New York City. My older brother is wearing a Yankees baseball hat.)

Flight Attendant: “Hello, what drink can I get you today?”

Brother: “I’ll have a Coke, please.”

Flight Attendant: “Before I serve you, I’m gonna need you to take off that hat.”

Brother: *thinking he is joking* “Ha, good one.”

Flight Attendant: “No, I’m serious. Take off the hat.”

(My brother made light of the situation, and eventually got his Coke. My family, however, was confounded that the flight attendant was actually serious about the hat!)

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Making A Graceful Exit

| Working | December 19, 2014

(A few days before Thanksgiving, my 6’5″ husband and I (tall as well) are on a long trip back to our home in Europe from a trade show in Las Vegas. Our time at the show was fraught with embarrassment and financial peril, as both our East Coast as well as our German credit cards from a major card company are randomly accepted or denied, even within the same hotel. We therefore have resorted to using cash whenever possible. At the airport, my husband is dealing with back pain, and at the gate we try to upgrade our plane seats to Economy Plus with much needed leg room. The agent at the gate is slightly flustered with handling a packed and overbooked flight, but keeping her cool:)

Agent: “Yes, I can give you two exit row seats if that is okay with you. That would be $204.”

Husband: *looking way happier* “Yes, please!”

Me: “Can we pay in cash?”

Agent: “I’m sorry, I may not take cash here, and you cannot get prepaid credit cards in this area of the airport.”

(I explain our credit card and authorization woes, and warn her that they might fail, but to please try them. While she attempts to run all our cards, Husband and I chat that we just will have to take it as it comes with the cards, and hope for the best.)

Me: *noticing the people on the waiting list nearby* “You know, at least we will BE on the flight and get home, with or without the upgrade. I’m glad for that. If we can only pay for one upgraded seat, you’re getting it!”

Agent: “It looks like this [last] card might be authorizing, but the system is acting up again. It won’t let me assign the seats to you!”

Me: “Oh, dear. Did the card fail after all?”

Agent: “I don’t think so. This is the third time today the system is doing this. I’ll try this a couple more times, and if it doesn’t assign, I’ll waive the fee.”

Husband: *in German* “What did she say? Is she serious?”

Me: *in German* “She might be joking. I don’t know. Let’s just wait.”

Agent: “Okay. That does it. I am done with seating system. I am waiving the fee and manually assigning you the seats. Here are your new boarding cards!”

(Shocked and grateful, we shake her hand and thank her profusely. The waiting list people got on the plane, too, on our vacated seats! Airline agent, if you are reading this, you saved us a lot of pain on the long flight home to Thanksgiving with our family there! Thank you so much, and happy Thanksgiving to you, too!)

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Extreme Jumping To Conclusions

| Right | November 12, 2014

(As an airline employee, you are eligible for staff travel. The airline I work for has the rule that you can only travel if there is a seat available at the gate. We are in Spain, and we already know that the flight is pretty full. We also know that the aircraft is a Boeing 747, and on such a short flight (a little over two hours) there is the minimum required crew on board, so there are multiple jump seats (flight attendant seats) empty. The colleagues decide to take us home on a jump seat. We are moved to different jump seats during the flight, because we are in the way in the pantry and in the aisles during the dinner and beverage service. The passengers see us walking through the aisle with our belongings several times.)

Passenger: “Hey… what is going on? Are they moving you again?”

Me: *joking* “Yeah, they have just found out they don’t have a seat for us after all, so they are now taking us to the back to give us a parachute…”

Passenger: *shocked* “Oh, my God! Are you serious? That is terrible!”

(We sit down in the back pantry and have a good laugh with the colleagues.)

Me: “Did she think I was serious? If so, she is pretty gullible!”

(After landing, we see the concerned passenger at baggage reclaim. She comes up to me, all cheerful and happy.)

Passenger: “Oh, how wonderful! You made it to Amsterdam! They let you stay on board after all!”

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So Fly Me To Home, Where The Samurai Gnome

| Working | October 14, 2014

(I’m taking a short flight from Philly to Pittsburgh to visit my girlfriend. The flight is on Halloween, and we’re going straight from the airport to the party and so I’m already dressed in my outfit. I’m dressed as an elaborate Samurai. Despite my somewhat bizarre dress, I don’t encounter any resistance going through airport security until I’m boarding the plane itself when suddenly…)

Stewardess #1: “Oh… oh. One second.”

(She runs off, seeming somewhat flustered, but soon comes back holding a tiny toy treasure gnome.)

Stewardess #1: “Would you mind if we took your picture with our travel gnome?”

Me: “Uh… no. Not at all. Go right ahead.”

Stewardess #1: “Yay!”

(Three stewardesses gather around while I hold up their ‘travel gnome’ and another one takes a picture of all of us. Apparently one of them had seen the movie ‘Amélie’ and gotten a toy gnome to be their plane mascot. I was the only one in costume on the whole flight, and they had to get a picture with the Samurai.)

Stewardess #2: *after I’m seated* “Thank you so much for that. Can I get you a free drink?”

Me: “Oh, no, that’s okay.”

Stewardess #2: “No, you don’t understand. Our plane LOVES our travel gnome. I’d love to get you a drink on the house.”

Me: “Oh. Well, in that case, a rum and coke, maybe?”

Stewardess #2: “Absolutely!”

(And so for playing with the gnome I got a free drink to help pass the short plane ride.)

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Taking Stupidity To New Heights, Part 4

, | Right | September 19, 2014

(A customer calls to book a flight from London to Berlin. The aircraft assigned for that route had recently been changed from a jet-engine to a propeller plane. I am required to inform passengers when booking the flight.)

Customer: “A propeller plane? But if the engine stops working, the ‘plane will fall from the sky!”

(I was momentarily silenced as I tried to work out how this wasn’t also true for the jet aircraft. The passenger eventually decided to chance it and booked the flight.)


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