If you have problems getting an exit seat from Midwest Airlines ticket agent Ramone at LGA, it’s possible he will tell Roger to go up to you on the flight and boom, “I UNDERSTAND YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THIS SEAT AND WANT OFF THIS FLIGHT.” [Click Here Technology Columns]

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  1. pylon83 says:

    I think it sucks that this guy was intimidated by the FA. However, I think his demand for a free flight and free miles is excessive. Why is it that every time someone is even slightly inconvenienced by a corporation (or “embarrassed” in this case) that they seem to think that the corporation should bend over backwards to compensate them? It’s a ridiculous sense of over-entitlement. All that should be expected (and demanded) is an apology and an assurance that the staff will be spoken too. Even if they were inclined to offer up a free flight, demanded it in a letter is not a way to get them to move forward with it. The fact he seems to compare his “embarrassment” to denied boarding is also pretty out there. He wasn’t denied boarding, he wasn’t even delayed in boarding. He got “Scolded” by a FA and that was that. He should take the apology and move on. If he doesn’t like it, fly another airline.

  2. Aphex242 says:

    “If he doesn’t like it, fly another airline.”

    I agree completely. We’re not talking about any kind of ‘incident’ here. People can be and frequently are way too touchy about some things. So the guy was a jerk, move on. If they don’t rectify it, go to another airline. But it doesn’t make them fascists or something.

  3. retech says:

    Perhaps he did not get what he wanted because of poor grammar. Learn how to use proper punctuation and verb tense if you’re going to send off an email carpet bomb.

  4. humphrmi says:

    There are some pretty head-strong FAs out there who get their jollies by directly or indirectly threatening passengers since 9/11. I complained once on an AA flight from Chicago to London about a seat (in Business class no less) that wouldn’t go back up. The FA was standing over me, demanding that I put my seat up. I demonstrated to him how it wouldn’t stay put upright. He very loudly said “well if we can’t get your seat to stay up, I guess we’ll have to delay the flight”. So I guess it was my job to keep the seat upright, but grasping the back of the seat and leaning forward.

    In any case, the point is that some FAs take advantage of your desire (A) to not be delayed, or cause delay to your fellow passengers (as in my case), and (B) to not be labeled a threat.

    Although rare, these FAs will get away with it over and over again, unless we complain about them, by name. Don’t expect free passes or airline miles for rude behavior. But do expect an apology, and also know that once about a half dozen people have complained about the same FA *by name*, they will carry a black mark throughout their career that will make it increasingly difficult to continue their behavior.

  5. dlayphoto says:

    This has me thinking twice about flying Midwest for my fiancee & I’s honeymoon to Disney World, despite the $180 savings.

  6. Spifferiferfied says:

    @dlayphoto: I wouldn’t let this one incident dissuade you. I’ve flown on a lot of airlines, but my parents always book Midwest. They’ve repeatedly had the best service. Comfortable chairs, good meals, and how can you beat a warm cookie?

    This sounds like a bad apple. Don’t let it spoil the whole bunch.

  7. sam_sheezy says:

    Oh Sweet Baby Jesus Mary Mother of GOD! You know why he didn’t get an aisle seat and why he got bellowed at by the flight attendant? Because he was fucking ANNOYING.

    Guess what? When you buy a plane ticket, you’re buying transportation from Point A to Point B. You’re not buying seat 22A. You’re not buying a guarantee that you won’t have a fat/smelly/loud/obnoxious person next to you. You’re not buying a window seat or an aisle seat. You’re not buying a guarantee that you will get to be seated next to your traveling companions.

    Prereserved seating is offered as nice perk, not a promise and not a right or entitlement. And just because you booked a ticket and reserved seat 22A does not mean that 22A will be the seat you’re in when the flight takes off.

    Your seat can get bumped for lots of reasons: an aircraft spot, accommodating a large family, handicap accessibility issues, etc… Lots of things have to be taken into account. Weight and balance, for one. Too many kids checked into the seats at the back of the plane, too many adults at the front? Gotta move ‘em around! Security, occasionally. Most flights have at least one person packing heat on ‘em. They might need to be placed in a seat that you had originally booked for yourself.

    There’s only a few emergency exit row seats and guess what? EVERY PERSON ON THE PLANE WANTS ONE. Yes, they’re more comfortable, they have more leg room, they’re the “poor man’s first class.” But not every person can be seated in the exit rows.

    If you want the guarantee that you will get a more comfortable, roomy seat I have the perfect suggestion for you: BOOK FIRST CLASS.

    Showing up three hours early doesn’t entitle you to a better seat. Shit, showing up 17 hours early doesn’t entitle you to a better seat. And the fact that he just kept nagging and nagging and harassing and harassing the poor CSA about his stinking emergency exit row, well, I would yelled at him, too.

    Get a grip. I’m glad they rescinded their $25.00 offer. He doesn’t deserve a penny.

  8. LionelEHutz says:

    I’ve never even heard of Midwest airlines. Are they a real airline, with airplanes (that work) and everything?

  9. Boberto says:

    The fact that he’s demanding a free voucher/miles/whatever speaks volumes.

    Perhaps the apology could be reciprocated.

  10. BugMeNot2 says:

    Wow, a number of you guys really sound like extreme examples of douches. He already downplayed and discussed the angle on his requests. Even if they were to be extreme, it doesn’t obviate or justify his treatment on his flight. It’s fascinating to watch you twist his words around to justify a personal problem you have with Americans and/or their culture. It doesn’t matter whether your point is correct or not – your methodology discredits your point.

    Get a grip, as you say. There’s lots wrong with FAs threatening you with an implied TSA cavity search (a deboarding is never ‘just’ a deboarding). The turnstile nature of low-end business returns still doesn’t justify poor treatment or personal disrespect – doesn’t matter if the business is credit cards or transportation.

    Apologists for shabby treatment, as if it were somehow ‘making up’ for our self-indulgent expectations, are just enablers of the same problem.

  11. algormortis says:

    I’ve dealt with Roger.
    I don’t fly Midwest anymore after he threatened to boot me from a flight for having a conversation in my native language on the phone in the boarding area because “it’s Arabic or something.”

    Close. Japanese. Still, that was the end. Good riddance if they’re that unable to control their staff, despite the fact that there are so many good Midwest employees.

  12. dlayphoto says:

    @Spifferiferfied: My fiancee just flew back to Des Moines (where she goes to med school) on Midwest. She got not one, but TWO cookies on both legs of her flight!

    But, back to topic: If there have been so many problems with Roger (or so it seems), why hasn’t he been disciplined and/or terminated?

  13. algormortis says:

    I have no clue. They ignored my complaint and I voted with my wallet. Wonder if Roger has the incriminating photos or something given that he seems to get away with it.

    I didn’t even get a voucher. I am guessing that I should be smart enough to only speak English in a US airport these days, but it was an old school friend I hadn’t talked to in literally a year.

  14. dlayphoto says:

    @algormortis: Maybe if more people speak up about this Roger fellow, then maybe something can/will be done.

  15. jollymonjeff says:

    I agree with you. I don’t comment anymore and rarely read the comments anymore because in the last few months, this board has just started to rip apart folks instead of speaking intelligently and with respect to all.
    You folks want to disagree with what the guy said and did, say why you feel that way? Great. Beat the crap out of the guy for his views? Go somewhere else. You are not wanted here.

    I thought his letter to the CEO was well written. The response from the company showed the continuing trend that companies feel it is cheaper to gain a new customer through advertising than to retain one through service.

    @BugMeNot2:

  16. banmojo says:

    First of all, to all of you who are defending the airlines: F$#@ YOU!!

    They have us all by the short and curlies, and you see fit to DEFEND them?? If you haven’t seen the decline in customer service and simple niceness in this industry over the past 20 years you’re f$#@ing blind. So, kindly TFSU.

    Secondly, this Roger sounds like a grade A kind of prick. I think we should engage in an email deluge to the AA big boys in an effort to get him fired. Anyone care to provide their emails/names?

  17. banmojo says:

    @banmojo: “AA big boys” should have read “MA big boys”. But truly, they’re ALL prick-f$#@s and I’ve decided never to fly again since this past holiday season. They won’t be getting my money at least. How hard is it to treat your customers as if they were the people who PAY YOUR F$#@ING SALARY??? Since they kinda are.

  18. Klink says:

    Their response:
    “I UNDERSTAND YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THIS AIRLINE AND WANT RECOMPENSATION.”

  19. MountainCop says:

    I used to be a very frequent flyer – for several years I flew from Colorado Springs to Las Vegas about every two months on business. Even got to know the ticket agents and flight attendants on a first name basis. The service was very good on the three airlines I used and I was treated very well.

    Now, after 9/11, the airlines have taken the attitude that I owe them something, and that I should be grateful for the opportunity to be transported from point A to point B – and that I should tolerate their smart ass comments and attitude, shoddy service, the TSA, and being treated like the red-haired bastard step-child at the family reunion and be thankful for it.

    Well, I don’t think so. I spoke with my wallet.

    Unless it’s a life or death situation, I drive everywhere – even to Washington DC from Denver and back last year on business.

    It’s time for the consumers to let the airlines know that this is unacceptable. If they keep on filling the planes, they will have no motivation to improve.

    My $0.02 – your mileage may vary.

  20. GearheadGeek says:

    @algormortis: Yes, you should never speak Japanese on the phone in a US airport, because we all know what dangerous, violent terrorists all Japanese ppl are. BULLSHIT! If Roger is a power-mad xenophobe, he needs to learn to deal with it in better ways than threatening his employer’s customers. If he can’t, then he needs to find work. Maybe he could be a bouncer, or a prison guard. That would satisfy his need for authority I’m sure.

    The fact that the current climate of xenophobia and paranoia makes you feel that you’re risking censure by speaking on the phone in Japanese is a sad commentary on the current state of our society.

  21. misstic says:

    I wonder what the “language barrier” is? Could that have played a role in the entire debacle?

  22. Erskine says:

    Roger is going to end up broken and bloody in a bathroom stall if he keeps up that kind of crap. Fear tactics will only get one so far.

  23. Erskine says:

    Of course, a better way would be to tattoo wavy black stripes all over Roger’s body and have a japanese man call him from time-to-time, leaving the message:

    “Sorry, Roger – you tiger now!”

  24. JGB says:

    I live in Kansas City, but work in Miami (I am aware that this is stupid) so I fly Midwest whenever possible. So much so, that I will drive to Fort Lauderdale, which is 40 minutes from my Miami Beach condo so I can fly direct to KC on midwest rather than 10 minutes to Miami International and a connection in Atlanta.

    That being said, for the benefit of those that do not know this airline, there are no bad seats on Midwest flights. All the seating is business class. The seats are wide and only two per side. Leg room is probably twice what it is on AirTran.

    So bitching because you could not get an exit row seat is pretty stupid. If you are uncomfortable in a “regular” seat on Midwest, you would probably have to be sedated to fly with anyone else.

  25. neithernor says:

    @dlayphoto: I’ve had many positive experiences on Midwest; I think this guy just caught a bad link in the chain.

  26. oilman says:

    oh please – I guarantee this dude was rude about his seating arrangement and more or less got what he deserved. Sounds like Roger is a prick but the FA probably went and got him cuz the traveler was being rude about his seat.

  27. neithernor says:

    @banmojo: I agree with you about not defending the airlines, but for some of us, deciding never to fly again is just not practical. Should I be forced to quit my job and move somewhere else for the benefit of seeing my relatives 3-4 times a year? Because if I have to drive that 1000 miles, there’s no way I can see them that often.

  28. rjhiggins says:

    I get really annoyed with people who speak in airport abbreviations (“out of LGA to MCI”) rather than words to show (I guess) how well-traveled they are.

  29. oilman says:

    @RJHIGGINS – no doubt – hehe.

  30. ahwannabe says:

    The airline industry has done they impossible. They’ve made Amtrak look good.

  31. boxjockey68 says:

    @jollymonjeff: Well said, here here.

  32. Oregon says:

    When there was a post about being a CSR, an overwhelming amount of comment posters to this site admitted that they were CSR’s. As we have seen from 1000′s of posts-”CSR = the customer is always wrong” Once again here the customer must be wrong is the theme of CSR poster comments.

    Wake up people the ‘rogers” of the airlines are becoming more of the norm and not such a rarity. Look back at posts from the past few months and see a collection of threats from FA’s for simple requests.

    File a complaint with not only the airline but the FAA and TSA and the State Attorney General. Rogers threat to have you de-boarded shows a pattern of abuse. Multiple complaints will arouse an investigation.

  33. sam_sheezy says:

    @BugMeNot2: The extent of his “treatment on the flight” was the fact that when he asked for an emergency exit row (for the umpteenth time), a flight attendant came up and said (allegedly) “I UNDERSTAND YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THIS SEAT AND WANT OFF THIS FLIGHT.”

    According to the OP’s complaint and letter, he wasn’t kicked off. They didn’t even THREATEN to kick him off. He just interpreted the statement (a statement that could be a misquote or an exaggeration on his part, he does seem hypersensitive and a bit of a drama queen) “I UNDERSTAND YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THIS SEAT AND WANT OFF THIS FLIGHT” to mean the flight attendant was threatening to kick him off. Which he most surely wasn’t.

    What the flight attendant WAS doing, however, was telling him (in a not-so-polite way, agreed) that if he’s not satisfied with the seat he has been assigned, he’s welcome to get off the plane. Which is true.

    Plus, other people and the OP have all stated that the flight attendant is British. Have you seen or experienced British sarcasm or humor? It’s pretty damn dry and smug.

    This is a case of the OP feeling entitled and overreacting.

    I’m 100% positive that the people around him did not think he was some kind of terror threat because the flight attendant said “I UNDERSTAND YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THIS SEAT AND WANT OFF THIS FLIGHT.” In fact, they probably just thought to themselves, “Gee… That flight attendant is kinda a dick. Poor guy.”

    People have bad days, people get cranky. I’m sure that the flight attendant in question isn’t the best flight attendant they could have, and perhaps he is racist/ignorant/a total douche-bag. But that doesn’t appear to be the case in THIS instance.

    A flight attendant’s primary job is to get the cabin secure for take off. That is first and foremost. But from the moment the passengers step foot on the plane, they are bombarded with requests: change my seat, I want a window, I want to sit closer to the front, can you seat me next to me girlfriend, can I get a glass of water???

    Not only is that annoying, but often times they simply CAN’T move people around. There isn’t time. Or there’s a weight and balance issue. And when you’ve got a whole plane full of people harassing you, and a flight deck wanting to GO-GO-GO… You’d be a little cranky too.

    People need to realize that when you pay for a discounted coach seat ticket, you get discounted coach seat service.

    I don’t go eat at Burger King and demand that they take my reservation, offer me white linen, and pour me ice water in a crystal goblet. You get what you pay for. Want to be treated like a Special Princess? Pay for it.

    The OP suffered no damage here. To demand an apology is fine. And he got that. He even got an offer for $25.00. That was MORE than they needed to do– he didn’t suffer any actual loss here.

    But when he decided that the apology and the voucher wasn’t enough, well, that’s when he became the bigger asshole and that’s WHY the airline has written him off all together.

    Trust me, unless he’s flying four times a week, they can AFFORD to write him. off. He’s just seen as a greedy, whiny jerk and they don’t CARE if he takes his business elsewhere. Plus, they’re confident that he’ll come back anyways. So it doesn’t matter. Idle threats, baby. Idle threats.

    If a clerk is having a bad day and is rude to me at Target, I don’t demand that they comp my whole order. That’s just bullshit. Would I let a supervisor know? Possibly. I try to be reasonable– we all have bad days, the clerk might have just gotten bad news from a relative, etc… and I don’t want to cost anyone their job unnecessarily. But if I feel like it was egregious enough, I’ll tell someone. And an apology would suffice.

    That’s it. I don’t need to know if the employee was punished or fired. That’s not my business. And I most certainly don’t need anything for free because of it.

    Finally, if this experience truly was the “most embarrassing” moment of the OP”s entire life, then they have led a very sheltered and boring life…

  34. RISwampyankee says:

    Midwest Airlines really is the best. I have to fly from Boston to Milwaukee (BOS to MKE) on a fairly regular basis. I always, always, fly Midwest. Two-across leather seats, tons of leg room, chocolate chip cookies baked on-board, Roger not withstanding, there is just no downside to this airline. Last summer, I flew BOS/MKE on AirTran to save a hundred bucks. I won’t bore you all with what you all know, but I will never be that penny-wise and pound stupid again.

  35. calldrdave says:

    Dave here…the guy this is all about. I posted Midwest’s latest response to my letter and my response to them. As stated in the blog, I appreciate all the comments and considered them all.

    [www.davegreenbaum.com]

  36. pylon83 says:

    @calldrdave:
    My god, your response is like a novel, and a very dull one at that. I certainly hope the one you actually sent has quotation marks to separate the portions of his letter you are inserting.

  37. sam_sheezy says:

    @calldrdave: It’s a shame that you like the emergency exit row so much, since you said yourself that you “…have back and leg problems…”

    Dave, that means you’re not supposed to be in the emergency exit row. FAA regs dictate it. If there WAS an emergency, someone who is healthy, able-bodied, and in good physical condition has to be seated in the emergency exit row. If you have back and leg problems, you shouldn’t be sitting there. Period.

    Oh and… get over yourself. For fuck’s sake.

    Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

  38. raedances says:

    @calldrdave: Not that it justifies Roger’s rude response, but it does seem like you made some questionable choices. If the flight really was delayed by an hour, as indicated in the original complaint, then asking for a seat adjustment before take-off is in poor taste. Not only are you delaying your own flight, but you are also delaying everyone else taking off from your runway. If you had concerns about the initial check-in, you could’ve spoken with a gate agent before you boarded the plane – arriving 3 hours early for a delayed flight would certainly provide you with ample opportunity to do so.

    I’m also curious about the practice of checking in 3 hours early for a domestic flight. There must be some regulations set by the TSA regarding check-in time, as I imagine an unreasonably early arrival to the airport would be a security risk. 3 hours isn’t outlandish, but it’s earlier than normal. It’s entirely possible that the system wouldn’t let Ramone check you in at that point.

    And as for the idea that you were going to negotiate some sort of compensation, that’s just naivety. You’re emailing people who are extremely busy – to expect them to negotiate like a used-car salesman is ridiculous. The best request you could’ve made would’ve been for in-kind compensation: exit row seating on your already-booked flight. Asking for a free ticket seems greedy, which probably did not earn your complaint any sympathy.

    I see your point about the rude/agressive response you got from Roger, but look at it this way: Roger offended you, but he also was acting in the best interest of everyone else on the plane by getting you to sit down, shut up, and let the plane take off. “Good customer service” doesn’t mean neglecting other passengers to cater to one man’s poorly-timed complaint, sometimes it means making the best possible compromise.