American Airlines Cancels Flight Because Their Customers Are Too Pissed Off To Fly

Can it actually be unsafe to fly a plane full of seething, rage-filled passengers from Florida to New York? Apparently so. Flight 1908 from Miami to LaGuardia was delayed because the flight crew didn’t arrive on time. When they did finally show up, the angry passengers started to boo.

One passenger describes the incident, “…and then they closed them behind glass doors, and they kind of threatened us that they weren’t going to fly with the way people were acting. Some people got very agitated.”

Another passenger says that a few people were using harsh language and acting like a mob. That’s when two American Airlines crew members refused to work in a “hostile” environment. American was unable to find another crew.

“They gave us a hotel and all that, but the hotel we stayed at had barbed-wire all around it. Nice place. Nice hotel, but barbed-wire around it,” another passenger told Fox 5.

The passengers may have been rude, but American certainly got the last laugh. When the passengers finally arrived at LaGuardia the following evening–they found out that their bags had been sent to JFK.

American Airlines Cancels Flight Due to Hostile Passengers [MYFoxNY]

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  1. Jaysyn was banned for: http://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    Reason #43587 I no longer fly anymore.

  2. trecool95 says:

    I don’t really blame the airline here depending on why the crew was late. I wouldn’t fly with an angry mob either.

  3. DrJimmy says:

    Wow. That’s just…wow. The major carriers just seem to be snakebit with Customer Relations. I don’t recall a day in the last two weeks that Consumerist has been airline-free.

  4. Greeper says:

    Yet another example of how unions have ruined the airline industry.

  5. FreemanB says:

    The passengers are angry because we are late. Do we: A: Get them on the plane as quickly as possible so that they won’t get angrier? B: Offer a sincere apology and possibly some small compensation, then get them on the plane as quickly as possible? C: Cancel the flight and let someone else deal with it tomorrow?

    Because the best way to deal with people who are angry about a delayed flight is to cancel the flight, of course.

  6. g2g says:

    The best stories are the ones where no side gets the sympathy vote.

    Sure that the misdirecting of the baggage was a complete coincidence.

  7. greatgoogly says:

    You have employees who have been hit with staff reductions and probably pay cuts too, and likely a bigger work load.
    They don’t see any benefits to American so when met with a bunch of cranky customers they pull the “hostile atmosphere” card and basically say “well teach them to complain” and pull the hostile atmosphere card. I flew American to London Christmas of 06. While the flight was okay, the ground crew (Boston, Logan) were the rudest non caring bunch of SOB’s I have ever seen. They would fit in very well as prison guards at a Federal Correctional Facility. Next time I fly to visit my wife’s family overseas, I’ll pay the extra few bucks to stay away from American, United, & Cont.

  8. Pilot #1:”Wow, they seem mad at us b/c we were so late and had to wait. What should we do to calm them down?

    Pilot #2:”Let’s tell them they have to wait longer, unless they calm down. I think that should work.”

    Navigator: “Brilliant!!”

  9. apotheosis says:

    the hotel we stayed at had barbed-wire all around it. Nice place. Nice hotel, but barbed-wire around it

    …wait, what?

  10. BStu says:

    @trecool95: A few people saying “Boo” doesn’t necessarily make for a angry mob. Angry customers are something people have to deal with in business. You don’t escalate the situation by making them angrier.

    Well, you don’t if you want to stay off Consumerist, anyway.

  11. buckfutt says:

    Further evidence that an unshakable prerequisite for employment with an airline is being a pompous, arrogant a**hole.

  12. loganmo says:

    Was it the Hotel Guantanomo?

  13. Last 2 weeks?

    Try last 6 months!

    Sometimes I side with the passengers, and sometimes I can see the airlines POV. In this case … as a steward/stewardess would you want to be locked into a small canister with a large group of people who just booed and verbally abused you?

    Honestly it doesn’t say why the crew was late, but likely it wasn’t the individual crew members faults. The crew was probably JUST as aggravated about the delay as the passengers.

  14. I shudder to think what a flight from MIA-LGA, on AA, and running behind schedule, must look like. Can you imagine the threats from sweaty, tired, frustrated wanna-be Tony Sopranos AND wanna-be Tony Montanas? The comedy sketch in my head in pretty entertaining.

    As my wife puts it, “American Airlines — how can one company screw up every single element of their business so completely, every single time”

  15. @BStu: A few people saying “Boo” doesn’t necessarily make for a angry mob. Angry customers are something people have to deal with in business. You don’t escalate the situation by making them angrier.

    The blurb above also says people were using harsh language, in addition to booing. I presume this means that people were cursing and possibly making indirect threats. It’s a lose-lose situation.

  16. chrisjames says:

    @g2g: Nope, it’s not a coincidence, but it probably wasn’t malicious.

    I was just told this weekend that if a flight is delayed “too long,” they’ll “clear some space” by putting the baggage on the first available flight to the appropriate destination. You can guess how well that works with redirected flights, connections, baggage processing protocol, and general baggage handler ineptitude. My flight was only delayed an hour, but it was enough to send my bags (luckily) to the far side of the airport I arrived at.

    They’d probably get more compensation if they complained about the missing luggage than the mistreatment by the airlines. Even some credit cards will compensate for missing or delayed luggage.

  17. apotheosis says:

    The blurb above also says people were using harsh language, in addition to booing.

    So now the TSA will start screening for f-bombs.

  18. spikespeigel says:

    @apotheosis: I’m assuming this person was alluding to the fact that they were treated like prisoners. Either that, or the hotel literally had barb wire. In which case, your response is wholly adequate.

  19. johnfrombrooklyn says:

    I was on a plane once in Bangkok going to London that was seriously late. 5 or 6 hours hanging out on the runway. The passengers were mostly Australian, British, and drunk. When we started to take off most passengers were booing and yelling. Then the Thai army got on the plane with about 12 machine guns pointed in all directions while the British captain said the plane wouldn’t leave until every single passenger was quiet. It worked.

  20. INTPLibrarian says:

    I have to assume that there were only *some* passengers using harsh language. Keep them off. But to cancel the whole flight…???

    I just have a hard time believing there were more than just a few really hostile people. Angry and grumpy, I can understand. If only more people understood how often a sincere apology (and not necessarily one that assumes blame either) can calm most people down.

    Or maybe it’s just me.

  21. chemmy says:

    @apotheosis:

    The people had a right to be upset but at the same time…. Does cursing out a reservations agent when your flight was cancelled help you? Not really.

    These people (airline crew) are likely the only people that can help you get what you want (to get to NY on that flight). So best not to piss them off… at least not until you get what you wanted. Boo them when you get off the plane in NY.

    On another note… It’s their job… Sucks they were late but many of us have had problems that made us late too.

  22. macinjosh says:

    @apotheosis: They’ll also install install nuclear detectors for the c-bomb.

  23. kepler11 says:

    that was a bit stupid of the airline. By offloading everyone, they had to pay for everyone’s accommodation, meals, etc. If they had just identified the troublemakers individually, they could have denied them boarding for interference. Or they could’ve made an announcement that they’d better calm down or they will be removed.

  24. apotheosis says:

    @spikespeigel:
    That’s what I couldn’t figure out, if the guy was just being hyperbolic. I’d like to think so.

  25. buckfutt says:

    Watch the video, it’s clear he meant the place was a nice enough hotel, but still surrounded by barbed wire, i.e., you don’t really want to go out for a stroll in that neighborhood.

  26. @kepler11: that was a bit stupid of the airline. By offloading everyone, they had to pay for everyone’s accommodation, meals, etc.

    The flight crew made the decision to not work in that hostile environment – thus canceling the flight because a replacement crew could not be procured. The flight crew certainly does not pay for the accommodations for the passengers.

  27. hamsangwich says:

    instead of harsh words they should’ve used harsh letters

  28. fostina1 says:

    just like the stranded family yesterday. the airlines have a little bit of power and it gets to there head. no excuse for this. someone needs to give them an ego check.

  29. bukz68 says:

    Perhaps the passengers could have handled this better but I can literally think of about a dozen things I could have done if I were part of that flight crew before canceling the whole flight. Seems like the crew addressed the problem vindictively instead of addressing the customers like adults or actual human beings. If I were AA I’d probably fire the whole damn crew.

  30. sleze69 says:

    @trecool95: @heavylee-again: @chemmy: Customer service is their JOB! I wish when I worked at Micro Center or as a Compaq telephone support guy, that I could have refused to deal with/answer calls from angry customers because it was a “hostile work environment”.

    Their reasons are bull***t and they should really be fired for that.

  31. FeuerrotBenz says:

    How does one’s luggage arrive at another airport?

  32. ThinkerTDM says:

    I totally blame the passengers here. They should have just acted like sheep, and sat and waited for the crew to finish whatever was more important than coming to work. When the crew did show up, the sheeple should have just kept quiet and looked at their feet.
    If people just did as they were told- no problems!

    Oh, if you didn’t realize, that’s sarcasm.

  33. Youthier says:

    @kepler11: That cost makes me think that the crew had a valid complaint against the mob. It did cost American more money to handle the situation this way so I have to think that there may have been a legitimately hostile work enviornment. I used to tell people that I trained in the service industry, “You always have to be polite but you never have to take abuse.”

    I don’t know… this is a hard one. AA probably should have just flown but I don’t know that I can come down on them to hard.

  34. milk says:

    @heavylee-again: When I was on a cruise earlier this year with my family, there were a ton of people taking their time to get to the muster drill. Announcements were made every few minutes stating where to go, yet half an hour later there were still people coming in, carrying the booze they just had to get before standing around wearing a life jacket. The hundreds of us in my section were an angry mob, booing and yelling at everyone who walked by. It was a nice way to bond with my fellow responsible cruisers, and the staff was laughing. ^_^

  35. moore850 says:

    Can we get back good rail service in this country now please?

  36. ThinkerTDM says:

    The airline employees themselves created that “hostile environment”. Do you think any of the airline personel bothered to communicate the issues (the lateness of the crew) to the passengers? If they were there at all.
    It is simply amazing to me that the airline people who do the check-ins at the gate don’t communicate to the passengers more. If they would take 5 damn minutes to just apologize and keep people informed, no problem.

  37. BigPapaCherry says:

    The OP never stated whether or not he was among those people who were booing or using the “harsh language”. If he wasn’t, I feel seriously bad for him and anyone else who was being quietly upset and still got the shaft here. I’d be among the quiet minority until they canceled the flight, then I’d blow up.

    That being said, American’s crew needed to just deal with it, or just pick out the ringleaders and make a bit of an example of them by kicking just them off. There’s bound to be a few people they could single out.

  38. bagumpity says:

    Wow. Just. Wow. I saw this back a few times when I was riding low-cost airlines (remember People’s Express anyone?). With cash-strapped budgets, they just didn’t have the money to keep their planes in the air or provide any useful customer service. It is disheartening to know that we’ve come to the point where the big airlines are experiencing the same types of trouble. Blame who or what you want to, but it’s still a pretty sad end to the golden age of air travel.

  39. chrisjames says:

    @ThinkerTDM: Whatever was more important than coming to work may have been being delayed on another flight or being delayed in security. You can get priority in either case, but that doesn’t always ensure you’ll get to where you need to be on time. Regardless, if only one of the crew was late and without replacement, the entire crew must wait.

    That doesn’t excuse the actions of the two “deserters” when faced with an angry crowd. If it was so bad, why were the rest of the crew still willing to work through it?

  40. vildechaia says:

    I hope AA is “taking this seriously.” Somebody ought to clarify “hostile environment,” so that it is clear what constitutes it. And, these flight crews seem to be in dire need of some attitude adjustment. Corporate headquarters, are you listening?

  41. Pro-Pain says:

    These idiot airline employees get away with murder now (Post 9/11 Nazi airline behavior). They should all be fired, or @ the very least suspended. Totally unprofessional. Thank God I don’t have to fly anymore. Ridiculous.

  42. esthermofet says:

    Booing? Nasty comments to the flight crew? Did any of them think that maybe it would be a bad idea to act like children and treat the pilots with such amazing disrespect?

    I wouldn’t fly them anywhere either.

    No doubt (hopefully) their extended stays in Miami were equally frustrating.

  43. apotheosis says:

    @BigPapaCherry:

    There’s bound to be a few people they could single out.

    What, and risk getting hit with some kind of discrimination lawsuit, which might ultimately be more damaging than pissing off the whole flight?

  44. Televiper says:

    It sounds like there were a couple very hostile passengers and the flight attendants got spooked. They may have already been stressed out from whatever made them an hour late. The real issue here is the fact that AA doesn’t have enough flight crew to fly their planes on time.

    Also, I’m sure AA apologized over the course of the wait. There are people out there that don’t accept apologies, and get angry anyway.

  45. tedyc03 says:

    No no, misdirecting the luggage was a *service!* They knew that the baggage might get stolen in LaGuardia. Oh and that will be $15 please.

  46. MeOhMy says:

    That’s strange…I could have sworn the Phillies were at home this weekend!

  47. @me and the sysop: When I was on a cruise earlier this year with my family, there were a ton of people taking their time to get to the muster drill. Announcements were made every few minutes stating where to go, yet half an hour later there were still people coming in, carrying the booze they just had to get before standing around wearing a life jacket. The hundreds of us in my section were an angry mob, booing and yelling at everyone who walked by. It was a nice way to bond with my fellow responsible cruisers, and the staff was laughing. ^_^

    I don’t understand why this was directed at me.

  48. jmsierra says:

    What makes the customer’s angry is not that the flight was late…its that American Airlines is really good at showing time and time again that IT DOESN’T CARE! Now that is something to get angry about…specially when you have no choice since you already paid and are stuck miles away from home. I applaud these passengers…we need more public revolt over the lousy service the Airline industry is providing these days…and specially American Airlines.

    For those who want to give AA a pass…I have seen how they apologize. Its like they get mad at you for even having to talk to you…”customer service” is something they just hate dealing with…and suck at either way!

  49. nursetim says:

    @ThinkerTDM:
    That was my reaction too. If the passengers were kept up to date on the situation, the reception for the crew would of been better. Also, sounds like claiming “hostile work environment” is a union thing, so there is my contribution for the anti union flame war.

    Does anyone remember the footage of airline passengers rioting in some airport in South America somewhere, so at least it didn’t go that far.

  50. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    They weren’t saying “boo”. They were saying “Boo-urns.”

  51. KitanaOR says:

    The OP doesn’t say how long they had to wait for the crew. If it was 15-20 minutes, then shame on the passengers. If it was ANY longer than that, shame on the crew.

    I recently had a flight delayed because of a late crew that complained that the airport construction had slowed them down. You mean the same construction that a 100+ passengers went through and managed to get to the flight on time?

  52. backbroken says:

    Let me add Pilots and Air Stewards to the list of people who you have to kiss their ass lest they get offended and screw you over royally:

    Pilots
    Air Stewards
    Judges
    Police Officers
    Customs Agents

    …with an honorable mention to some food service people.

  53. ajadoniz says:

    @Greeper: not only have unions ruined the airline industry, but also the american automobile industry, and EVERY industry they extort.

  54. This really is awesome.

    You can’t even complain about the poor service any more or otherwise they will just refuse to fly the plane.

  55. picardia says:

    I would tend to think that an announcement of one free cocktail per passenger would calm virtually all ire.

    I don’t blame a flight crew for not riding with a group they found legitimately dangerous, but I am somewhat skeptical as to how dangerous the passengers really were at that point. I was on a flight once that turned hostile — the flight crew, for some reason probably linked to a previous flight, was pissy and difficult from the get-go and, when we ran into delays for takeoff, kept trying to blame the passengers (claiming that people were walking around and costing us the take-off window when absolutely NO ONE was on their feet, and we’d all been dying for a chance to move and maybe visit the bathroom for more than an hour at that point). People booed. The mood was ugly. But the flight crew was in absolutely zero danger, and that was obvious. If it was a similar situation here, then the cancellation of the flight sounds more like pique than a legitimate safety issue.

  56. Balfegor says:

    Re: Televiper:

    “Also, I’m sure AA apologized over the course of the wait. There are people out there that don’t accept apologies, and get angry anyway.”

    Really? I’m not so sure. I recall one Christmas, United ended up cancelling my flight (the plane broke), and we didn’t get an apology. Instead, we got the snottiest airline employee I’ve ever seen. He might have said apologetic words — you know how sometimes they yell “we’re very sorry” at you, in a pugnacious tone that says “Screw you!” But words don’t count for much if they’re not accompanied by a correct display of contrition. Doesn’t matter what insolent rot they’re thinking in the back of their heads — the passengers deserve a show of proper respect and consideration for the enormous inconveniences the company’s failure to follow its own schedule has caused.

  57. MyPetFly says:

    @apotheosis:

    Some hotel on Riker’s Island, I think.

  58. Cap'n Jack says:

    @moore850: Hear hear! More trains!

  59. mzhartz says:

    I don’t think it’s fair that the entire flight was canceled. If someone is acting hostile, fine, remove them, but to make the people who were calm pay for it isn’t fair. It’s like we’re back in elementary school.

  60. vladthepaler says:

    I think it’s interesting (and a good thing) that consumers are finally responding to bad service rather than just bending over and taking it. Booing people for poor job performance is entirely appropriate.

  61. Thaddeus says:

    This never would have happened if the passengers were wearing their shock bracelets.

  62. arsbadmojo says:

    We were stuck once with delayed flights from RAL to COV. The next gate over was a bunch of New Yorkers, also seriously delayed.

    There was one major instigator, and about half a dozen enablers, and I watched him turn this angry group into what can only be described as a mob. I was starting to wonder if I should call security.

    My plane finally arrived, so I don’t know how it turned out for them, but I know there’s no way I would fly with that group if I had been a flight crew member.

    Yes, it sucks that the airline has screwed your plans, but be mature about it and suck it up! There were 2 or 3 women holding infants that weren’t complaining – trust me, I felt much more for them that the screaming SOB.

  63. @trecool95: The crew was probably late because they came in on other flights that were running late on that very same airline. It’s not likely the crew’s fault, unless they all lived together and all forgot to wake up in time to fly.

    Punishing the group by canceling the flight was over the top. I’m sure they could have isolated a few agitators if they though the flight was seriously at risk.

    American could have avoided the situation by handing out some free drinks, headphones, or whatever. It would cost them a couple hundred bucks, tops.

  64. SuffolkHouse says:

    I wouldn’t fly American Airlines if they gave me the tickets. I don’t trust them. They are in serious trouble, and I’ll be the first one applauding when they go belly-up. They screwed me by sending my luggage to the wrong NY airport. They were unapologetic. They lied to me, and didn’t care a bit.

  65. Caslonbold says:

    Last week a friend flew from LA to Seattle on AA. The flight departure time was to be at 3:30. They loaded the passengers and then everyone had to sit on the plane for an hour and a half at the gate. It seems the pilot and co-pilot weren’t scheduled to arrive on the flight until 5:00. No one to fly the plane…oops.

    I guess AA has some scheduling problem for their crews. Maybe they need to adjust their corporate clock?

    I took a nice cross country flight with AA…back in 1975.

  66. EdnaLegume says:

    I don’t know if I’d feel all comfy and whatnot locked in a tube in the air for a few hours with angry and “mob like” people.

    *checks nearest train station locations…
    *lists kidney on craigslist to fund gas habit…

  67. @moore850: @Cap’n Jack: Someone always manages to suggest trains as a viable alternative to air travel whenever we get a story like this, but that’s really only applicable for very short (shuttle) flights. Sure, I may be better off with a 3-hour Acela trip than a delayed Delta shuttle if I’m going from Boston to NYC, but would you spend 20 hours on a train to get from Miami to NYC just because you thought there was a chance that you’d end up with an flight delay? This fascination with rail transportation seems to be more ideological than practical.

  68. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    I sent the link to Ben, but Meg doesn’t credit me :(

    More airline shenanigans!! Next on Faux News…USAir cancels flight because they “don’t feel like flying.”

  69. DrGirlfriend says:

    I wasn’t there, so obviously I can’t speak definitively. But the thing with American is that they rarely grace their passengers with updates about delays. You can be sitting there on the plane, half an hour after the scheduled departure time, and you simply won’t know why you haven’t taken off yet. Eventually someone will come on and give a perfunctory explanation, usually it entails your plane being 12th in line for take off. I fly American a lot, mainly because they have a pretty tight hold on the San Juan market and I fly there every year to see my family. And while in general I haven’t had terrible experiences with them, I know that a lot of their staff, from ticket agents to pilots, aren’t fond of communication with passengers.

    Then again, I have seen how some people treat flight attendants, and I know people who are/have been AA flight attendants too. They are well aware that AA can be an unpleasant company. I know it’s rough on both sides.

    Unless these passengers were 100% unreasonable and were easily triggered, I have to imagine that their reaction came after a series of events, not just because the crew was late. In any event, unless the mob consitituted more than half of the entire passenger list, I’d think removing the offending parties would be the more reasonable and cost-effective way to go.

  70. MercuryPDX says:

    “They gave us a hotel and all that, but the hotel we stayed at had barbed-wire all around it. Nice place. Nice hotel, but barbed-wire around it,” another passenger told Fox 5.

    Wow… they’d stayed at Rikers Island?

  71. MissTicklebritches says:

    I wouldn’t want to get on that plane as a passenger, let alone a member of the flight crew.

    If the whole flight crew was delayed, it was probably because of something like a late connecting flight. It’s not like they’d be delayed because they all couldn’t decide what to wear!

    Honestly, these days you couldn’t pay me enough to be a flight attendant. The work conditions sound absolutely terrible. Who’d want to be held captive in an enclosed space 30,000 ft above ground with 200 hostile customers?

  72. xkevin108x says:

    Flying sucks.

  73. MercuryPDX says:

    @spikespeigel: Actually IIRC there’s a hotel right across from the airport on the other side of Grand Central Parkway that DOES have barbed wire around the fence surrounding it.

  74. nick_r says:

    I say again: Is it really a problem for the airline if none of these passengers ever flies AA again?

    No. Right now, it’s really more of a solution.

  75. mariospants says:

    Pilot to maddening crowd: “Just remember – we can fly the smooth and easy route or we can fly Air Turbulance. Your pick.”

  76. hexychick says:

    @g2g: How about when you CAN sympathize with both sides? If the entire crew is late, there’s probably a reason for it that we don’t know. Don’t the crew members generally arrive in from other flights? I can understand the passengers being pissed off because who wants to keep waiting when you already have been waiting an hour and a half longer than normal? You just want to go home. Still, you don’t piss off or upset the people who are about to fly you across the states because how is it their fault? I can’t blame the crew for not wanting to fly with a plane full of angry people either. I’m not saying AA was right for cancelling the flight, but they did cover hotel rooms for the passengers. Both human sides of this story seem to be screwed by the corporate side/airline’s mistakes.

  77. Geekybiker says:

    If the airlines just treated passengers humanely we wouldn’t see this sort of thing happening. You know this is going to get alot worse before it get better though.

  78. Trai_Dep says:

    It seems that this situation, as noted, could have been fixed by the captain and chief attendant patiently listening to the passengers, commiserating, then explaining that it was out of their control (perhaps suggesting they complain to someone that could do something about it). Then saying, “We can stay here or if you can calm down, we can get you going where you’d like. Now. Which do you prefer?”

    > Never underestimate the value of a heart-felt apology.

    BAD crowd wrangling. Very bad.

    Even worse, stranding the customers.

  79. @kepler11: I seriously doubt the airline paid for a dime. They’ll claim it was weather-related due to a storm in Spokane, WA, or some-such, and they don’t have to pay a dime.

    Been through that at Midway – they used our plane to clear a backup somewhere else, then said our cancellation was weather-related, and no flights were available until the next day, and they were NOT paying for any lodging or meals. As I called the airlines CS number (because the line at the airport was 100 deep), I asked them, when was the last weather advisory here in Chicago? Just tell me the time it was issued and I’ll believe you. The CSR hung up. And we ended up calling a relative from the Quad Cities to come get us – it was faster than waiting for the next day, and cheaper to pay her gas than to pay for the hotel room and food at the airport, since the airline wasn’t going to cover anything.

    Airlines can do whatever they want, whenever they want, and I have found there is very little if anything the individual consumer can do about it.

  80. @ajadoniz: Sure, because left to their own devices, corporations have shown time and time again they will treat workers with respect and pay them livable wages. Right.

  81. @MissTicklebritches: “Who’d want to be held captive in an enclosed space 30,000 ft above ground with 200 hostile customers?”

    Any WHY do you think they are hostile? Because of the way they’ve been treated by the airline. Delays upon delays, no communication, prison guard-like behavior by everyone from the airline that comes in contact with a paying customer…

    If the company’s treatment of its customers was better, you wouldn’t have so many hostile customers, now would you?

  82. Landru says:

    @Greeper: I’m not sure I would blame the unions. You might think about all the leveraged buyouts that have resulted in airlines having too much overhead to operate in challenging times, thus creating hostile flying and working environments.

  83. phillyflightguy says:

    @backbroken:

    Sounds to me like you have a hard time getting along with people. I’ve worked in the food service industry and currently as a flight attendant. I pride myself on my level of superior customer service. There is no need to kiss ass, just be polite and give the respect you’d like to receive. When you start off with a ‘tude’ you’re bound to get it thrown back in your face. If you start off with a “Please” and end with a “Thank you,” you’d be surprised how many poeple will go out of their way to give you better customer service (whether it be free drinks on the plane, or a free dessert in the restaurant). Have a nice day! and Thanks!!! :)

  84. fostina1 says:

    pilots probably had a hangover and needed an excuse.

  85. Piedmont says:

    Has anyone heard an explanation as to why the entire crew was late? Being delayed is certainly aggravating, but seriously, for all the passengers knew there may have been a legitimate reason why the entire crew was delayed. Imagine if you showed up late for work, for reasons beyond your control (and I admit I’m making an assumption that the tardiness was beyond their control), and you were greeted with a chorus of jeers. That would really suck.

  86. Orv says:

    @Landru: I think that’s a lot of it. Years ago there was a social contract between workers and employers. The workers took care of the company, and the company took care of them. Now the workers know the company management will lay a bunch of them off and cut the salaries and pensions of the rest, all the while paying mega-millions to the CEO who’s running the place into the ground. They have no reason to care anymore.

  87. CaliforniaCajun says:

    @Greeper: “Yet another example of how unions have ruined the airline industry.”

    I call BS. The flight attendants have taken cut after cut after cut – all agreed to by the unions. It isn’t the union’s fault that the airlines didn’t have a reasonable business plan that could sustain them through high fuel prices – and payroll is only the next biggest cost behind FUEL. And I don’t think the idiots in the executive suites making millions despite failing businesses are unionized, either. Why don’t you go after them?

    Being a union member does not turn someone into some evil, no-service automaton – but it does help to guarantee reasonable working conditions, which were not all that common when many of the biggest unions were formed.

    Got health care on your non-union job? Thank a union.

  88. buckfutt says:

    Unions are scum. Airline execs are also scum. The two of them deserve each other–if only the paying customers that neither side could give a crap about weren’t caught in the middle.

  89. shaman66 says:

    Thank god our govt. regulates airlines so crap like this doesnt happen.. oh wait.. King Bush doesnt believe in regulation…

  90. Savvy-faire says:

    These specific flyers learned a valuable lesson: act like a jackass, and no one’s going to go out of their way to help you. A lot of cases like this, the flight crew is late because they’ve been working overtime on other delayed flights– sometimes they’ve even volunteered to work an extra shift just to get people where they’re going. If the customers had saved it for an angry letter, or an angry call, or even a calm call to demand some type of satisfaction from the management that actually *caused* the problem, rather than abusing the people trying to fix it, they might have gotten on their plane. Take note: throwing a tantrum doesn’t do you any good past the age of 5.

  91. mon0zuki says:

    @FreemanB: I agree with this completely. While I definitely do NOT blame the airline for not wanting to fly with an “angry mob,” the airline sure didn’t do much to make up for the tardiness. True, tardiness may not be any specific party’s fault – things happen – but since the crowd is being held up by the lack of a crew, the crowd should at least get an apology. Maybe free drinks. A glass of champagne while you wait would definitely soothe some nerves.

    @g2g: Are you implying the bags might have ended up at JFK on -purpose-? Blasphemy! [/sarcasm] :D

  92. mon0zuki says:

    Oh, and I meant to add – the crowd still had no right to threaten the crew. I can understand frustration and anger, but really now, everyone knows that NOBODY wants to be 30,000 ft in the air with a bunch of cussing, tantrum-throwing, mob-mentality adults. It’s bad enough when it’s KIDS, for chrissakes!

  93. @Trai_Dep: “We can stay here or if you can calm down, we can get you going where you’d like. Now. Which do you prefer?”

    What is it about flying that makes grown people act like children? (And I don’t care who started it.)

    There’s no excuse for the alleged behavior of some of the passengers here. The problems with the airlines come from the top. Abusing the foot soldiers does no good.

  94. civicmon says:

    Ever been to the Miami airport? There’s a very good reason why hotels have barbed wire surrounding them.

  95. synergy says:

    My first reacton was that this was situation was kind of like those kids Consumerist posted about yesterday. Except this was several grown people. People who 1) should’ve known better, 2) didn’t have the alleged excuse of mental/developmental issues, and 3) were (probably) several grown people (as opposed to smallish, more easily controllable kids). I would think that if it was 3 or 4 unruly people they might’ve just kicked those off the plane. Them cancelling the whole flight tells me that it was more than a couple of people. If it wasn’t, well, then they really screwed up.

  96. .
    Even without being on this particular flight, I find myself siding with the passengers on this one, based purely on statistics.

    I would guess — almost ensure — that American Airlines violated their Customer Service policy on this one and some of the passengers reacted accordingly. Basically, American Airlines (and, from personal experiences, UNITED AIRLINES, too) do not keep passengers updated regarding flight delays and, more often than not, come right out and lie to the passengers.

    If American Airlines is going to break its own customer service policy, then why shouldn’t passengers complain, do it loudly, and sometimes curse in the process. This was, after all, a planeload of NYers. Gotta love ‘em.

    For chuckles, here’s the Customer Service policy that American Airlines swears they follow:

    Delays, Cancellations, and Diversion Events.
    American Airlines and American Eagle will provide customers at the airport and onboard an affected aircraft with timely and frequent updates regarding known delays, cancellations, and diversions and will strive to provide the best available information concerning the duration of delays and, to the extent available, the flight’s anticipated departure time.

    American Airlines and American Eagle are in business to provide safe, dependable and friendly air transportation to our customers, along with numerous related services. We are dedicated to making every flight you take with us something special. Your safety, comfort and convenience are our most important concerns.

  97. sean77 says:

    Gotta love mob mentality. I can easily see how one jackass provoked an entire flight.

  98. @Michael Belisle: Completely agree that it is immature and inexcusable to attack the front-line workers for problems not likely of their creation. It’s foolish, as well: the boots on the ground are seldom empowered to do all that much to help you, but as this article shows, they have plenty of power to make things worse.

  99. drftjgoj says:

    they weren’t booing. They were yelling “we’re ready to booo-ard.”

  100. backbroken says:

    @phillyflightguy: Actually, you might be surprised to hear that I’m agreeable to a fault. I could use a little more ‘tude’ to be honest.

  101. Orv says:

    @Michael Belisle: Flying makes people act like children because airlines treat them like children. They create rules with no apparent purpose and withhold information when something goes wrong; it’s like being in grade school again.

  102. Nick1693 says:

    @apotheosis: No, they’ll make themselves look like they’re screening for f-bombs.

  103. Elan Arbitsman says:

    My friend was one of the “angry mob.” Here’s her comment:

    “The flight was supposed to leave at 9:45 and the crew did not arrive until 11:30. Almost all the articles failed to mention that MOST people clapped and cheered when the crew got there and maybe 2 or 3 people booed. 250 people had to find another way home because of those 2 or 3 people (AND AA could have just ejected those three-since they knew exactly who they were). AA’s excuse for the delay was the flight crew being delayed in customs, but all the other people who were on the pervious flight had made it through customs and had been sitting there for an hour when the crew arrived. Seems unlikely that the average Joe could get through customs faster than the flight crew.”

  104. fever says:

    As a passenger I wouldn’t want to fly with an angry mob either.

  105. suzyO says:

    @Landru: you, sir or madam, are correct.

    “I’m not sure I would blame the unions. You might think about all the leveraged buyouts that have resulted in airlines having too much overhead to operate in challenging times, thus creating hostile flying and working environments.”

  106. JimOhio79 says:

    This is why on my lats vacation from Ohio to Florida I drove instead of flying. The overall rudeness I’ve encountered on major airlines is increasing. The best experience I’ve ever had was on Southwest.