American Airlines Responds To Psychotic OJ Incident

American Airlines made this statement to Fox & Friends regarding the story we posted last week of a first-class passenger who was given a warning that he might face federal charges for asking a flight attendant for a glass of orange juice:

We are in the midst of a thorugh investigation. We do not just speak with the customers filing the complaint. We are also talking to all the crew members, not just the flight attendant in question. When the investigation is complete we will take any appropriate action as necessary.

The story has some legs, with pickup on Fox and apparently the local Dallas Fort Worth stations have been tracking it pretty hard:

A comment left on Galley Gossip, by John Reid, the passenger who was given the formal warning, gives further incident into the events that took place:

“I am the airline passenger whose request for orange juice has caused so much internet traffic. Although the vast majority of the responses on the blogs have been overwhelmingly supportive of me, I’m surprised and disappointed at a few of them that have actually been empathetic towards the flight attendant. If I wrote everything that happened on that flight, my own response would be longer than most people would care to read. Thus, I’d like to point out a few facts for the time being:

1) Before that ill-fated flight, I had never even met the writer of the article that has caused so much internet discussion. He would have absolutely no reason to lie or embellish a story about someone he’d never met.

2) A passenger seated across from me later told an AA representative that at least four passengers had issues with this flight attendant, and added that I “happened to be the unlucky guy she exploded on.”

3) Every single passenger in my row as well as in the row behind me (thus, the only passengers that could see what transpired) all walked off the plane with me in unison when I was told that I’d have to meet with an AA representative at the arrival gate. At least two of them without my even asking volunteered to be witnesses for me.

4) All 6+ of these passengers/witnesses not only passionately defended me to the AA rep. at the gate, but all of them stayed to talk with her for at least 30 minutes. Most of them had either connecting flights or important places to go. (I’d like to ask the readers of this blog a question. If this type of thing had happened to you, even if you were totally “in the right”, what are the chances that every passenger in your section of the plane would walk off with you in unison and spend 30-60 minutes of their valuable time defending you to an AA representative.)

5) One passenger was so unnerved by her intimidating behavior that he told the AA representative that if this flight attendant was working his connecting flight, he would not board the plane.

6) My witnesses are not stressed-out, snotty businessmen as some have wondered about. Almost all of them belong to a women’s religious group that promotes peace. One could not have assembled a group of people that was more deferential and polite than this group.

7) Not only has AA already called me to profusely apologize, but they have called other passengers on that flight as well to apologize. I know of at least two others on that flight that have filed complaints with AA regarding incidents that were either partially or totally unrelated to my own.

8) I wanted to have this incident quickly fade away, and I diligently avoided engaging this flight attendant for the rest of the trip. The incident itself was not all that eventful. What was disturbing was that the flight attendant spent the rest of the flight attempting to get other passengers to testify for her regarding what had happened. As each passenger in my section individually told her that they disagreed with her version of the incident, the flight attendant progressively grew angrier and more determined to turn a “molehill into a mountain”.

9) For the readers of the article who think this flight attendant was just “having a bad day” and should be left alone, please remember that she handed me a formal warning that threatened potential legal action. The Customer Service Manager who met all of us at the arrival gate stated that while he was shocked by the story we all told in unison, also mentioned that the warning letter was a serious matter that had to be investigated by multiple entities. I ask the readers of this blog how they’d react after being told that by this Senior Manager, especially if they had literally millions of frequent flyer miles with this airline, as I do.”

The incident has set online forums aflame, and even inspired a song. Play Wabash Cannonball and start reading when the guitar kicks in and it works really well:

Listen to the story
Of an AA morning flight
When a passenger
And a flight attendant
Had a great big fight

On an early Sunday morning
When the day was bright and new
On a flight from Sacramento
To D-F-W

On AA Flight Six Fourteen
There was this bitter dame
A first class flight attendant
And Helen was her name

A passenger in first class
He got his breakfast tray
And asked this flight attendant
“Can I have some OJ?”

Helen rolled her eyes, now
She thought “This guy a jerk.”
“You must be new to first class, dude
“Cause that’s not how this works”.

He said “You’re condescending
Now don’t get smart with me
I’m one of your best customers
‘Cause I’m an EXP.”

Well, this made Helen madder
She set the poor guy straight
“The authorities will meet you
When we get to the gate.”

I’ll ask the other people
If they’ll back up my tale
They’ll say you interfered with me
And you might go to jail.”

So she asked the others
But no one volunteered
She scared the other passengers
They all thought she was weird

They said “We saw the whole thing
We think you’ve flipped your lid!
And when we land in Dallas
We’ll tell them what you did!”

(Sometimes) when you fly AA
This is what you get get
A bitter flight attendant
On a shiny silver jet

And as for crazy Helen
Well, she’s still on the loose
So if you ever see her
Don’t ask her for orange juice.

PREVIOUSLY: Asking For Orange Juice On American Airlines May Violate Federal Law
Delta Offers Gold Status To Victims Of Pyschotic American Airlines Stewardess

Comments

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  1. Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

    I hope the investigation proves this guys version to be true. He was clear and concise in this letter, and if this is exactly what hapened, then a formal investigation shouldn’t take that long. I appreciate his view, and I’m glad he spoke up.

    P.S. How the heck do you get millions of frequent flyer miles?? Live on a plane??

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      IIRC, there are ways to buy physical things that will earn you FF miles. I recall a story where someone got like a million miles from buying yogurts and redeeming the tops.

      • JoeDawson says:

        Wasn’t that one of the plot points of “Punch Drunk Love” with Adam Sandler? I think in that case it was Pudding.

      • fs2k2isfun says:

        You are referring to pudding guy. As for the OP’s question, its not that hard when you fly every week, even domestically, and put every thing you buy on a mileage earning credit card. Look at flyertalk.com for more details.

        I anticipate having about 1,000,000 earned miles by the time I’m 30, and I don’t fly often for work.

      • mannyvel says:

        You don’t get status from credit card miles, you get those from real flown miles or segments. This is one of the flyers that AA doesn’t want to piss off. Of course he lives in DFW, so he doesn’t have a lot of choices…but still.

    • ckaught78 says:

      One or two trips to Europe or Asia each month and you will see your miles add up quickly.

    • hypnotik_jello says:

      I had a friend who worked for SAP and had flown over 1 million miles on United in the span of a few years. It’s definitely possible.

    • NeverLetMeDown says:

      1. Fly a lot.
      2. Get status because you fly a lot, and get bonuses for the status
      3. Fly in (paid) business or first.

      For example, a United 1K member (you get this status for flying 100,000 BIS (Butt-In-Seat) miles with United or another Star Alliance carrier in one year) gets a 100% bonus on every mile they fly.

      If you fly business or first, you get a 50% premium on top of that

      So, New York-Buenos Aires round-trip in business:

      10600 miles round trip
      +10600 miles 1K bonus
      +5300 business bonus
      =26,500

      Do that twice a month, and you’re earning over 600k miles/year.

  2. Darrone says:

    Poor guy. First he has that terrible flight and now he’s on Fox and Friends.

  3. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    Who knew Orange Juice would go so very very wrong?

  4. 339point4 says:

    I completely thought that this story, based on the headline, was going to be about OJ of the black glove (and football, I guess) fame.

    • backbroken says:

      You aren’t the only one.

      Am I a bad person if I am disappointed that this story wasn’ about OJ going berzerk on a plane?

  5. BuddhaLite says:

    This is the kind of story that makes Consumerist awesome.

    Stories like Amazon ruining Christmas not so much.

    • Scrutinizer says:

      Sure it isn’t very interesting until it happens to you. I ordered several gifts from Amazon and paid extra for gift wrapping. Last night when I got home from a long day at work my packages finally arrived. You can’t imagine how upset my wife and I were when we found out that the shade of green used to wrap the gifts wasn’t even close to what was shown on the website. We took the tree down, got ride of the cards, discarded all the decorations and told my young kids no Santa, no Christmas. I mean I was supposed to get a very nice pastel green but I got something much closer to forest green.

      Hopefully as a family we can recover by next summer and enjoy the 4th of July.

  6. magstheaxe says:

    Man, I’d love to know what Helen’s thinking right now. With Reid’s accusation and the testimony of so many complete strangers backing him up, I’d be working on a career exit strategy if I were her.

    • ARP says:

      Not likely. She’s probably fairly senior in the union and so she not only gets her pick of flights, but it’s fairly difficult to fire her. Now, if they can prove that she filed a false report/warning (which appears to be the case), then even the union probably can’t protect her.

    • aka_mich says:

      If I were you I wouldn’t bother asking unless you want your ass chewed out.

    • aka_mich says:

      If I were you I wouldn’t bother asking unless you want your ass chewed out.

    • PencilSharp says:

      Folks, we are talking about American Airlines, here. Hell, she’s movin’ into management!

  7. sspeedracer says:

    “Psychotic OJ Incident” My first thought was that OJ Simpson made headlines again.

    • rwalford79 says:

      ME TOO.. I was like… “Whats he done this time? Brutally killed his wife and her “friend” with a knife, left a glove at the scene of a crime, held his best friend hostage and drove down an LA freeway in a Bronco or something?”

      Cause as we all know… he DIDNT reeeallly kill her… so says the law.

  8. EarlNowak says:

    The song can (awkwardly) be sung to the “Beverly Hillbillies” theme. I like it.

  9. jesusofcool says:

    Am I the only one who think’s AA’s crisis response is pretty inadequate? Releasing a statement days later after tons of bad PR that only says you’re “investigating the matter”? If this is the best their PR team can do, they should be looking for a new job.

    • coren says:

      I think categorizing this as a crisis overstates things a bit, and it’s been a viral sort of expanding coverage. Responding before it got televised news coverage would have only made it worse, IMO

      • That's Consumer007 to you says:

        I’m actually thrilled this is getting coverage. We really need the “mainstream” media as focused on these everyday assaults on us as consumers as consumerist is, and it shows the blog is doing its job well.

        Corporations need to start being put in mortal economic fear every time they terrorize a consumer to this degree. Act like a human, do the right thing, or pay the mo fo price financially. This woman should also be tracked after being fired so she can never work on an airline again.

  10. ZeGoggles says:

    I’m confirmed for a flight on AA this weekend and will be sitting in first class during the breakfast window. I have the option to take the orange juice. I’m scared.

  11. uber_mensch says:

    Couple of questions. First off, can’t a passenger seek to have an employee arrested by the police? Whatever happened to citizens arrest?
    Secondly, how about giving us the name of the offending stewardess,waitress or whatever they call themselves nowadays.

    • pop top says:

      A citizen’s arrest is only for certain crimes. Being an ass isn’t one of them.

    • friday3 says:

      You can not make a citizens arrest on an airplane. You are under the jurisdiction of the flight crew at that time. You can not get pulled over by a police officer and say you pulled me over and nothing was wrong, so I am going to make a citizens arrest.
      Furthermore, any person who attempts a citizen arrest is usually a toothless redneck in the Michigan militia. You are laughed at and derided by same people

    • That's Consumer007 to you says:

      What would be interesting is for him to hang around after the flight, follow her out to the parking lot and make the arrest there… Just for harassment value if nothing else.

  12. vesper says:

    Unfortunately for this guy, me, and like so many others, someone “having a bad day” is not just a simple “grumble under ones breath” in America anymore. Oh it used to be when I was a kid in the 70s, but now “bad days” have turned into a fanatical attitude such as “I am going to bust your balls with a temper-tantrum” and because you know why? Because I exist! We have gotten too complacent with punishment in this country. No one is afraid anymore of being indignant or breaking the law. Instead of playing politics, people need to get fired, plain and simple. Female or male, it doesn’t matter. If you cannot treat others with respect, then you don’t deserve a job and there are plenty of other people that can do a hell of a lot better.

  13. mannyvel says:

    AA: it’s always unfortunate when a valued customer has an suboptimal experience aboard one of our flights. After a full investigation, we have taken appropriate action, which we are unable to disclose due to privacy issues. We take customer issues very seriously, and would like to assure everyone that steps have been taken to ensure that every customer continues to receive the exceptional service that American Airlines is known for.

  14. justsomeotherguy says:

    Considering the legal ramifications of the c-muscles actions… she needs to be fired… and then sent to Somali to to be stoned to death. Her actions could have ruined this guys life. Had no one come to his defense he could have very well be carted off and tazered to death. We cannot continue to allow this kind of asshattery to be the norm with people in positions of authority. I hope someone posts her contact info on the interweb and she is harassed for the rest of her pathetic life.

    • godlyfrog says:

      She knew very well that the investigation would go nowhere; she just wanted to humiliate and scare him. At worst, he would never fly with AA again, and at best, he would beg for her to take it back, giving her some measure of elation for the attempt. The fact that many people went out of their way to defend him likely was well outside of her plans.

      I do agree with her being fired, though. In the first video, he’s just asking for her to be retrained, but in my opinion, a temper and personality like that cannot be retrained; that’s a personal flaw that this Helen would need to take several years of her life consciously trying to change before she would act the way she needs to naturally. She needs to be fired, but is likely a lawsuit risk, so if she’s found to have been the cause, they would likely try to reassign her elsewhere or promote her to a position where she can’t do any harm.

  15. savdavid says:

    Next time, instead of getting so defensive AFTER you get your tale published, you might consider actually telling all the facts in your story. You are not much better than Helen in the way you hold back facts but get mad because readers don’t have the whole story. How does saying the witnesses had anything to do with churches or organized religion add credibility to your “story”? Are you saying they can’t lie like evil heathens? Why are you going all over the net and TV about this? You are WAY past your 15 minutes of dubious fame.

    • Pandrogas says:

      Troll much?

      But your question was already kind of answered if you read the article up top. He wanted this to go away quietly, it’s the media and the internet that’s brought up all the attention.

    • mannyvel says:

      It sounds like you’ve come late to the story. The problem was originally publicized by another passenger in the same section. This guy is the original affected person (who got the warning).

      And yes, in certain cases religious folk are more credible than your average person. Sorry to burst your bubble about that. Grab a new cup of coffee, and start reading the backstory.

      • brandihendrix says:

        Calling yourself Religious makes you more credible?
        I am always very suspicious of adults who put so much time and energy into their imaginary friend.

        Just because someone doesn’t believe in your god doesn’t make them a good person (think Catholic priests who are molesting the boys), and someone who is an atheist isn’t necessarily a liar who shouldn’t be trusted.

        • drjayphd says:

          I thought that just meant religious people could be more honest, in the same sense as them possibly being less so. No correlation or causation.

    • trujunglist says:

      he said he didn’t even want the publicity, and would’ve rather had it all blow over, but now that it is public, he wants to settle things. he didn’t even write the original story, it was written by someone who saw the whole incident occur and then acted as one of the witnesses.

      READING IS GOOD WE LEARNED IT IN SCHOOL USE IT LOVE IT DON’T BE A TOOL

      • Michael Belisle says:

        No, it was written by someone who was asleep during the genesis of the incident and pieced it together from people who observed the incident. It’s a second-hand account of the incident, with descriptions of what was said instead of the actual words.

        If Mr. Reid is going to tell off the haters, and wants to “settle things”, then he should put forth his version of events. You can’t settle things by saying “my own response would be longer than most people would care to read”, and then relay a few high-level points about how we’re all good people, united together in unison on my side, against the scourge of Helen. “He would have absolutely no reason to lie or embellish” does not say what it should: that the facts presented were accurate.

        But the story relayed is probably more or less accurate, and Helen was probably out of line. Although I want to have sympathy, this guy and the original poster exude an air of cliquey superiority (e.g. “I take the word of the other 5 friends I work with (including my wife) as truth”, “[Helen] should find a job like flipping burgers”) when talking about this incident.

        I imagine that one could, in fact, find many groups of people more deferential than them.

        • Michael Belisle says:

          Alright, having watched the Fox and Friends video now, I accept that he’s presented his version of events. They are, indeed, different in subtle yet important ways than Mr. Hoss’s second-hand version.

          Also note that Christi Hoss said “he was so quiet that I was sitting in the seat behind him and I couldn’t even hear him speak.” (!) So Mr. Hoss was asleep, and Mrs. Hoss couldn’t hear what Mr. Reed said to Helen. If at some point he needs witnesses in his defense against anyone but an Internet jury, he’d be advised to find better ones.

  16. akuma_619 says:

    That bitch flight attendant should be fucking fired. They think now they are the shit and can treat anyone however they feel. If a customer does something he will get in trouble with federal law. Its a fucking joke.

  17. DrLumen says:

    It’s been a while since I have flown but orange juice is not a restricted substance is it?

    gooz fraba!

  18. DD_838 says:

    I really wish somebody would get a photo or interview with this flight attendant. I’m dying to see what she looks like.

  19. G.O.B.: Come on! says:

    That must have been some epic P.M.S.

  20. halo969 says:

    Go ahead and call me nitpicky, but I think “ill-fated” is a poor choice of words for what happened.

  21. VeiledThreats says:

    People keep saying she probably has high seniority, but working an SMF-DFW flight is hardly cream of the crop, even in First class for a flight attendant.

  22. That's Consumer007 to you says:

    oh gawd I thought from the headline OJ Simpson got on a plane and had another “episode” lol.

  23. That's Consumer007 to you says:

    I would simply be filing a million dollar lawsuit and offering to drop it once proof of the FA’s firing is delivered. She should also be arrested for causing a disturbance on a plane and bothering other passengers / making them fear for their safety.

  24. Jasmine says:

    I think the stewardess is ready for retirement. She can’t take the stress and it’s the customer
    that is giving her a job. I would be livid if she treated me that way. I have never had an ex-
    perience like that and I have been flying since 1975. What is American thinking about now?
    She should be dismissed and that’s final. No one should be treated that way, especially if you’re a paying customer.