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A Battery Of Smugness

, , , , , | Right | May 3, 2021

I am the “disrupted operations supervisor” for my airline, dealing with delays, cancellations, and disruptive passengers. I’m called to escort a passenger to the luggage claim because his bag is vibrating, and the police want to speak with him.

The officer opens the bag in front of him and removes a battery-operated shaving machine.

Officer: “Sir, do you know it’s illegal to carry batteries in your hold luggage?”

Passenger: “No, I didn’t.”

Then he turns to me and asks:

Passenger: “How are you going to fix this?”

Me: “Well, either you remove the battery or you carry it in your hand.”

Passenger: *Yelling* “The battery can’t be removed, you moron! And I’m not taking nothing in my hands.” *Smirking* “So, how are you going to fix it?”

I signal the officer to stand down and answer.

Me: “Sir, please there’s no need for that. In this case, the item will have to stay behind unless you’re willing to reconsider.”

Passenger: “H*** no. You’re not keeping it and I won’t carry it in my hand.” *Smirking again* “So, how are you going to fix it?”

I repeat myself and he repeats his question.

Me: “Sir, I don’t have time for this.”

I put the item in the destruction bin.

Me: “Please proceed to the boarding gate and have a nice flight.”

As I’m turning away, the police start to escort him back to the boarding lounge.

Passenger: “I guess I’ll just borrow my friend’s machine from his bag.”

The cops stopped and led him into the police station. The airport called his friend and removed his bags from the plane, causing a ten-minute delay. They were issued fines and lost their flight.

She Can’t Turn The Plane Around But You Can Turn Your Attitude Around

, , , , , | Right | April 28, 2021

Our flight was delayed, so we end up missing our connecting flight; it’s annoying, but things happen. I go to the check-in desk to get booked on the next DC flight. There’s a man in front of me who’s in the same predicament but is far more upset than I am. He’s shouting, red-faced, at the woman at the check-in desk, demanding he get on the flight we were originally booked for.

I want to be sure I get on the next available flight, so when he pauses for breath, I interject:

Me: “Hey, do you think she can turn the plane around?”

The man stops, turns, and stares at me.

Me: “The flight’s gone. She can put you on the next one, and I want to get on it, too. Let her do her job. She can’t bring back the one that already left.”

He glared at me but stopped yelling, and all of us who missed the original connection were able to get booked on the next one.

No Baggage, Just Patience And A Plug

, , , | Right | CREDIT: andrethenewgiant | April 12, 2021

I am a copilot with one of my favorite captains, who happens to be black. We have just finished our day and are waiting at the airport curbside for our hotel pickup. A car pulls up and this older woman gets out, looks at my captain in uniform, and says:

Woman: “Well, aren’t you going to help get my luggage?”

I am shocked, but he quickly does this little shuffle dance and takes her luggage from the trunk, and the next thing I see is him trailing her, carrying her three pieces of luggage. He comes back a few minutes later with a big smile.

Captain: “I walked her luggage to the [Airline #1] check-in counter. You should have seen the look on the agent. The passenger pulled a dollar from her purse and attempted to tip me. I said, ‘No, thanks. I’m a pilot for [Airline #2]. Next time, I suggest you fly [Airline #2]; I don’t think [Airline #1] pilots are as generous.”

Multiple Flights Of Entitlement

, , , , | Right | April 11, 2021

With most major airlines, once you purchase a ticket, the time and date of your flight are set, and if you’d like to change that, you have to pay a change fee. That’s standard practice at my airline, but we do have a same-day flight change option that is about half the regular change fee. If your flight has been delayed or canceled, it can be changed for free, but all voluntary changes must be charged.

A man comes up to the ticket counter demanding I change him to an earlier flight. This happens all the time, so I go into the system, find his flights, and find out he’s eligible for the same-day change.

Me: “Good news, sir: I can change you to the earlier flights. That will get you to your destination about two hours earlier. It’ll be $75.”

Customer: *Explodes* “$75?! Are you kidding me? You have the seats available; you should change my flights for free!”

This response is also super frequent, so it’s not particularly distressing.

Me: “Our normal change fee is $200 plus any price fare difference, but this is a special rate you get if you are changing your ticket on the same day. I’m sorry if it’s too much. I totally understand, but I cannot make voluntary changes without the charge.”

Customer: “Look, I am going for a very special event and I got off work early. I’m not going to pay to change my ticket, but you are going to change it.”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir. I understand your frustrations, but I cannot change your ticket without the payment.”

Customer: “But it’s supposed to storm today. If I wait, my flight might get delayed. I have to be there in time.”

I totally understand, but I still can’t change the flight if it’s not yet delayed.

Me: “I’m sorry, sir. If you don’t want to pay the change fee, I can’t change it.”

The man went off about how I was taking it upon myself to make an arbitrary decision to not please the customer, etc. It was really nothing I hadn’t heard on a regular basis. After a few minutes, and myriad more apologies, he left the counter to go sit on a nearby couch instead of going through security.

Uh-oh. That always means there’s an act two.

Sure enough, he watched the flight he wanted to be switched to go without him, and he was simmering.

Then, the worst happened. His flight was delayed. 

It was only for ten minutes, but that didn’t matter. He was back in line at my ticket counter, yelling about how he was going to miss his connection, and I had done it personally. To. Him.

It got to the point where I had to call a supervisor who, thankfully, backed me up, and informed the man that his connection was safe and if he continued yelling, he’d be escorted out by security. 

He lowered his voice but continued to make a scene until they started announcing that the boarding of his flight was nearing completion. Then, he bolted off to try to get through TSA and make it on his flight.

He ended up missing it and had to be rebooked on standby for the flight after.

Sad, but he was still not my worst passenger.

A Direct Flight To Tantrumville

, , | Right | April 6, 2021

My airline manages a phone number handling calls for information on daily flights.

Me: “How may I help you?”

The caller is a woman with an angry tone.

Caller: “My daughter is coming on the direct flight from [City], and she called me saying that they have landed at [Nearby Airport] for two hours. I paid extra to make sure that this was a direct flight! What the f*** are you idiots doing?”

Me: *Calmly* “Okay, ma’am, let me check the info on this flight.”*Does so* “The flight was diverted because one of the airport’s fire engines broke down and the airport security rating went down, meaning that the passengers had to change to a smaller plane to get here, which we asked [City] airport to inform—”

Caller: *Interrupting me* “You filthy liar, you’re a [string of expletives]!”

Me: *Calmly* “Ma’am, I’m not lying, and there is no need to treat me like this.”

Caller: “Shut up! I have every right to call you what you are!”

Each time I try to talk, she screams and insults me further. Eventually, she stops, probably tired.

Me: *Annoyed* “Due to the fact that you are refusing to behave like a civilized person, I have the right to disconnect. Thank you for contacting [Airline], and have a good day.”

Caller: “You stupid b****! I will sue—”

I disconnected before she could begin again. That call is now used for training purposes.