Flight Attendant Weighs In On Angry Passengers, Job Stress

Steven Slater’s dramatic job walk-off slide-down on Monday wouldn’t have been anywhere near as cool if he hadn’t used that escape slide. Another flight attendant named Bobby Laurie, writing about the stress of the job for The Daily Beast, says popping the slide and stealing alcohol are “the two most taboo things in the industry.” He also says he’s fantasized about doing something similar after being forced to deal with angry or obnoxious passengers.

Why was I having to apologize for an airplane breaking and my pilots deciding not to fly it? Getting yelled at for being the bearer of bad news–or even non-news–is not uncommon. Passengers take the things we tell them personally. Let’s say you’re sitting in your seat sending a text message. The main cabin door has been closed, and the safety demonstration has been completed. By now, you’ve heard at least three times that all electronic devices have to be turned off. So why isn’t yours?

I can sympathize with Laurie over the other story he tells, where a man insults him and then later deliberately pushes his food onto the floor mid-flight. Anyone who has worked at a job where there are customers has encountered that man, and I’m pretty sure that man is the devil.

But one thing I thought while reading his article was, “Passengers are as tense and stressed out as you are–that’s why we overreact.” Security checks, delays, cancelations, unhelpful customer service reps, security overreactions, the occasional threat to behave if you know what’s good for you, cramped seats, absurd rules on electronics, and a general attitude of “shut up and be still, because for the duration of this flight you’re not human, you’re just freight”–yeah, those things can make you uncooperative.

Perhaps if airlines spent more time looking at how to make flying something to enjoy instead of something to endure, everyone would have a better time in the air. There will always be bad customers like the overhead bin guy who thought he was better than everyone else on Slater’s flight, and stressed employees like Slater whose personal lives make them susceptible to snapping. But the rest of us might all accidentally end up being a little nicer to each other.

“Confessions of a Flight Attendant” [Daily Beast]

Comments

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  1. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    I make it a point to be polite to flight attendents, and anyone else in stressful service industries like this one. I get it. But on occasion I get a snippy attendent, and that really makes it harder for me to treat them respectfully.
    I’m not the guy who yelled at you for some innocuous reason, so don’t take it out on me.

  2. TuxthePenguin says:

    In response to the last paragraph – you willing to pay far more than you are now?

    • np206100 says:

      Agree. That is how flying used to be, before everyone could afford a ticket. High prices keep out some of the riff-raff.

      • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

        That, and they could afford better accomodations for the passengers, and people realized it was something special. Now its just greyhound-in-the-air

        • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

          Again, trade-off. We pay more, we get more. We pay less, we get less.

          It’s amazing how much people see fit to complain about being able to travel at nearly the speed of sound to almost anywhere in the world for cents per mile.

          • Beeker26 says:

            But right now there is no option, because paying more doesn’t get you more. If I opt for the $450 ticket over the $200 ticket is my flight experience going to be any better? Nope.

      • Jevia says:

        I agree that flying used to be a lot more expensive. I remember growing up how my family would drive 3 days to visit other family for a week, then 3 days back rather than flying because it was cheaper to pay for hotels/meals for those 6 days than fly on 2 days.

        Of course, that was also back when Americans actually got sufficient vacation time to allow them the ability to spend so much time driving. Nowadays, we’d either have to spend the money to fly so we could visit with family for the one week vacation time allotted, forgo family visits, or beg the employer to allow a two-week vacation all at once (likely having to give up a few days unpaid).

        • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

          So true! Not only are vacation hours pretty dang miserly, but companies are constantly trimming down on the paid holidays. And there is this strange guilt about taking time off at all.

          I took a week off last month, and my job isn’t even that high within the company, but a coworker texted me because apparently I am the only person who knows how to do a particular task. So then I felt guilty, *on my vacation*, for not being at work because they were running around with no clue.

      • Link_Shinigami says:

        This is why first class needs to be provided through all companies and not just some. That way, if you really want to be treated like a person, you can pay for it. If you want to be treated like cattle and complain? Your fault for sitting in economy (To note, I’ve never flown anything but economy, so I’ve only ever been cattle on flights. I’d pay for first class if I felt inclined enough)

      • Taliskan says:

        *insert picture of Basil from Fawlty Towers here*

      • Keith is checking the Best Buy receipt of a breastfeeding mother (for tips!) says:

        I think you’re assuming here that rich people are nicer to flight attendants than normal people? If so, I’d have to disagree.

    • Preyfar says:

      Yes, I would pay more.

      I’d easily shell out another $100 or to be insured a /good/ flight experience. But the price differences between coach and anything else tend to way too expensive. First Class is never worth it, and Business is generally too much and/or doesn’t exist on the flight I want.

    • Beeker26 says:

      ABSOLUTELY.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      That’s a very good point. Airfare today is dirt cheap compared to what I used to get in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Would people really tolerate $1,200 tickets for 2 or 3 hour flights?

      I’d really like to see the old airfares adjusted for inflation. I can remember buying tickets for a lot of money 25+ years ago. There was no such thing a $200 e-saver.

  3. Guppy06 says:

    Flying will get less stressful just as soon as high speed trains start to eat the airlines’ lunches.

    In other words, never.

    The best part of flying is that lovely two-hour drive on the interstate to get to the nearest airport that actually has flights going somewhere.

    • OSAM says:

      You must live in that lovely place called Butt-Fuck Nowhere USA because the nearest airport to me (in the citys south end, a mere 20-25 minute drive) has flights to, well, pretty much anywhere. And no, I’m not in some metropolis superhub of airline travel.

      • Tim in Wyoming says:

        I used to be 5 hours from the nearest “real” airport…. Now I am a mere hour and a half. Such the upgrades in life…

      • MMD says:

        And so everyone’s experience must be the same as yours? Really?

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        When I lived in Pittsburgh (Squirrel Hill), it would often take over an hour to drive to the airport if there was any sort of traffic. I’ve lived in numerous cities where the airports were over an hour from city neighborhoods and in general, incredibly inconvenient (long drives or multiple train/bus transfers).

      • Duke_Newcombe-Making children and adults as fat as pigs says:

        You are aware of the expanse that the US covers on the North American Landmass, and that around 2/3’s of the population living within 150 miles of an ocean means that over 100,000,000 people live in BFE. Way to be smug and over-privileged.

      • CoachTabe says:

        This might sincerely be the stupidest comment I’ve ever read on Consumerist. Seriously. Do you really think the entire country lives within 20 minutes of an airport with service to everywhere? REALLY?

  4. pantheonoutcast says:

    All I ask is that flight attendants on domestic carriers stop treating me as if I was an autistic 6 year old. The tray, the seat, the seat belt? I heard you the first time. Don’t come over and invade my personal space, tug at my belt, and slam my tray closed, in order to drive home your point.

    I don’t take up a lot of space, follow the carry-on restrictions, keep quiet throughout a flight, I don’t demand any ridiculously complicated in-flight meals, so I expect to be treated with a modicum of respect as an adult who can fly unassisted.

    • IThinkThereforeIAm says:

      You may, but they have to worry about 200 more people, not all of whom have the ability to follow simple instructions (even if it makes life easier for all).

      • Etoiles says:

        Also not all of whom speak the language the instructions are being given in, or not all of whom can both see and hear, etc. Thus, both visual and audio instruction.

    • lymer says:

      They tell you multiple times because there are dipshits out there who dont listen. I just got back from a trip flying southwest and we hit some rough turbulence. The attendants AND the Pilot came on saying to stay in your seat. Multiple times. SO what happens? Some old man gets up to pee while the plan is bumping up and down. Again they said to “Please stay seated due to high turbulence.” And then ANOTHER man gets up. I mean WTF. You’re flying in a tiny tube going hundreds of MPH thousands of feet above the earth and your just nonchalantly strolling to take a piss while the whole aircraft is heaving.

      • Keith is checking the Best Buy receipt of a breastfeeding mother (for tips!) says:

        To those individuals, the risk of being thrown into the ceiling is less evil than the risk of peeing on themselves. I get it.

    • brinks says:

      It kills me every time I watch the demonstration on how to fasten your seatbelt. Really? Do people actually have trouble with this?

      • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

        It’s because they aren’t like car seatbelts. My dad’s VW van had belts like these so I knew how to use them before I even flew.

      • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

        Yes, believe it or not, there are people who have never flown before. Millions of them. Billions, even. Worldwide.

        And all it takes is one person who has never flown and doesn’t listen to cause a problem for an entire flight.

        • Mr.Grieves says:

          ….

          I figured it out no problem on my first flight, at 9 years old.

          There are only 2 actions the belt can perform, is it really that hard? It can either slide into the lock, or you can pull on the lock leaver to release the belt. You can figure this out in about 2 seconds of fiddling with it.

    • Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

      “All I ask is that flight attendants on domestic carriers stop treating me as if I was an autistic 6 year old. The tray, the seat, the seat belt? I heard you the first time. Don’t come over and invade my personal space, tug at my belt, and slam my tray closed, in order to drive home your point.”

      Then close the damn tray, straighten the damn seat, and fasten the damn seatbelt and STFU and you won’t be treated like a moron. Personal space? NOBODY wants to be in YOUR “personal space.” So stop whining.

  5. brinks says:

    I’ve been a retail manager for my entire career, and I have the utmost sympathy for anyone who has to deal with customers all day long. While most people are fairly understanding and reasonable, all it takes is one irate moron to ruin your day.

    I had a guy yell, scream, and get right in my face because we were sold out of the laptop he wanted. Um…would he like me to pull one out of my ass? While the gentleman was screaming in my face, I had a lapse in judgment and called him an idiot. I later got in trouble for it, despite the fact that some burly man in my face scared the hell out of me.

    My friends and I consider Steven our hero. We’ve all had those moments, after dealing with yet another asshole who is demanding something that we just can not do, just want to say “F*** it. I’m outta here,” curse out the customer, and storm out. However, to pull it off in such a monumental way, (F bombs dropped, beer in hand, down the slide), gives us all something to aspire to. When my inevitable meltdown occurs, I can only hope for something so cool.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      I know how you feel. And what really sucks about a situation like this – even if you hadn’t called him an idiot, he could’ve come back and said you did and you’d have gotten in trouble.

      One of my best managers was fired because of he-said-she-said. Some doofus came in and his credit card was declined on a purchase. So he went across the street to the best buy and returned some stuff he had JUST PURCHASED on his card. Then came back. Still declined.
      I told him that it can take several days. He DEMANDS I call the credit card company and then starts yelling at me. My manager comes over and tells him to get out of the store, and I don’t recall him using any unkind words – he was just very firm. Customer comes back and writes to corporate that the guy shoved him, called him derogatory things and cussed him out. They even asked my testimony and ignored it for the most part.

    • kjs87 says:

      My favorite line ever is, “Well I’m not going to shop here anymore,” like it’s a huge threat that you spend five dollars in the store a year and you’re not going to come back. My manager’s reply is always the same; “Good. We don’t want you here.” Sometimes I don’t think it’s called for, but sometimes, I really wish I could say the same thing without getting fired.

    • Jimmy60 says:

      Did he at any point insist that you go to “the back” to check?

      I hate this the most. “Listen buddy, I work here. I know every little thing in the back. I’m also a commissioned sales person. If I had the slightest inkling that I have something in “the back” that you might buy, you’d be getting a demo on it.”

      We really don’t have one. It isn’t that we hate you.

  6. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    Unreasonable rules about electronics is right. My ebook reader isn’t going to bring down the plane. Neither is my phone. Get over it and let us keep ourselves busy so you don’t have to deal with us!

    • outlulz says:

      It’s the first 5-10 minutes of the flight and the last 10-15 minutes of the flight. You can’t last that long without your electronic being on?

      • lymer says:

        It is my right as an american to be entertained at all times. AT ALL TIMES!!!

        • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

          Some flight attendants (its sort of on a flight by flight basis) have required ebook readers and pretty much everything else to be off for the whole flight. That really sucks.

          • Etoiles says:

            I remember flying to Europe in the mid-90s. They refused to allow us to use a Walkman or Discman for the whole flight. Really? A group of 50 teenagers on a 7.5 hour flight, and you’d prefer us *not* to be each plugged into our portable tape players, shutting up?

            Never did understand the rationale for that one.

          • HogwartsProfessor says:

            Oranges, see esquared333’s post above. It’s about being alert during the risky parts of the flight. If your nose is in the book and an emergency happens, there may not be time to bring you up to speed. I generally prefer to be aware of what’s going on when I fly, and anyway, I enjoy takeoff. That little swoop when you leave the ground is fun.

            Once the plane is up, you can read to your heart’s content. It’s just a few minutes. Unless you get stuck on the tarmac of course. :)

            • erratapage says:

              That thing about alertness is just goofy. I’m going to be just as alert using my kindle in flight mode as I am browsing through the AirMall magazine or with my sharp mechanical pencil out, playing sodoku.

              It’s really about electronic interference, and the truth is, there is no evidence that’s a problem anymore.

      • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

        I enjoy reading, and I purchased an ebook reader for this reason. And I’ve never seen a device with an FCC tag that states that it DOES interfere with stuff.

        • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

          Any e-reader with some kind of radio (3G, wifi) has the potential to cause interference with on-board electronics.

          Seriously, read the in-flight magazine for 15 minutes. Do the crossword. Do sudoku. It’s not this huge inconvenience in your life to have to give up your toys for a small amount of time.

          • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

            I bought a dumb e-reader. Has zero radio.
            And several places have proven that cell phones don’t screw with the nav equipment.

            Initially this rule was in place to prevent people from jumping cells and not paying long distance fees. Also, analog transmissions were MUCH MORE likely to actually interfere. Unfortunately the FAA has never gotten around to investigating with newer technology.

            Granted, I am glad that we don’t have people yakking throughout the flight, but they seriously need to do some investigation and realize that ebook readers, ipods, etc aren’t going to crash the plane.

            • melcat says:

              Defiantly, a friend of mine is going to school for a commercial pilot’s license. He told me that the FAA is really behind on the research and his instructors at school send text messages when they fly. He said it’s not a problem at all.

          • Anonymously says:

            Mythbusters busted this in Episode 49, claiming that electronics in modern planes are thoroughly shields from interference.

            People used to believe taking women aboard a ship used to invite sea monsters or something stupid like that. Banning electronics is equally stupid and antiquated.

          • RvLeshrac says:

            If that were true, *every single airplane built today* wouldn’t even make it to the taxiway, let alone the air, due to interference. Radio-waves don’t just stop and go around objects that might deem them “inconvenient.”

    • skylar.sutton says:

      Let me explain. An electronic device is allowed to interfere with signals as long as it proclaims it somewhere on the FCC label (there are some other rules… but that’s all that matters for this purpose).

      The flight attendants would have to walk around and check each device’s FCC label to determine if it interferes with radio signals from the tower… OR they can just say “put them all away for 10 minutes”. They chose the easier route.

      • probablykate says:

        I accidentally left my cell phone on for a whole flight one time. I thought I had turned it off but after we landed and I pulled it out to turn it on, it was already on. Oops. But it didn’t seem to cause any problems. Is it just multiple devices that would cause a problem?

        • Anonymously says:

          It’s because devices might have caused a problem like 20 years ago and the rule is a stupid holdover. Everyone leaves electronics devices on all of the time. When was the last time you heard a story about “Cell phone causes plane crash”?

          • dreamking says:

            the main reason these days is because cellular devices flying at 500MPH can play a minimum amount of havoc with cell towers trying to handle them (and failing). I don’t think this is a problem as much anymore either, but I’ll bet it’s more of a problem when 200 of them are doing so than when 10-20 (forgot/refused to turn off) are doing so.

        • GameHen says:

          I always leave my cell phone on for the entire flight…and I fly a lot. I don’t use it, it’s just on in my purse. I haven’t died in a firey crash nor had the plane sitting on the tarmac or circling the airport as they tell us that they can’t reach the tower due to “electronic interference”.

    • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

      If only there were something else you could do for 15 minutes of your life. Anything.

      • pantheonoutcast says:

        I hear that this course of action is frowned upon when others are present. Unless they are willing to lend a hand…

    • SlappyFrog says:

      Jeebus, Princess, how about you just follow the freaking rules.

      It is about eliminating risk!

      • Anonymously says:

        Seems like everyone’s getting angry at each other of a stupid rule that doesn’t really eliminate much risk.

    • esquared333 says:

      Yes, electronics will not interfere with the plane’s electronics. BUT they need to be put away during take off and landing because your FULL attention is needed in the event of emergency – as take off and landing are the most DANGEROUS parts of flight.

  7. IThinkThereforeIAm says:

    Best way?
    Check out the “Fifth Element” – they put everyone asleep as soon as the flight is ready to take off. Can carry more passengers (they are “stored” horizontally in small storage bins), no complaining and wondering around the cabin, etc.
    Whenever I have to endure a 10-12 hour flight overseas,I wish they’d do it.

  8. papastevez says:

    Everyone gets to pick their Job. Most everyone thinks their job sucks the worst. I have no pity for these people. Certainly less than anyone else in a customer service industry. At least your average waiter wont call the FBI if you step out of line.
    With regard to the texting thing….if you’re going to sit in your jump seat and text during the moments that the plane is lifting off, I’m not going to take it seriously either.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      A lot of these workers have been there for 20-30 years and are just fed up with the downhill direction their job has taken. Their job used to be aspired to, and it used to be glamorous. Now its a glorified 7-11.

    • coren says:

      Cool. Then I pick CEO of Apple. Gimme some stock.

  9. TehQ says:

    I think both parties are guilty. Customers are stressed and pissed that they get charged for everything and have to go through ridiculous amount of security. Then when they get on the plan they are treated like a bitchy customer when they haven’t done anything.

    Last time I flew, you could tell its kind of us verses them. Its not company servicing customer, its a battle of who can be more stubborn and win the flight.

  10. skylar.sutton says:

    “The main cabin door has been closed, and the safety demonstration has been completed. By now, you’ve heard at least three times that all electronic devices have to be turned off. So why isn’t yours?”

    Because we’ve all flown before and we all know you’re going to push off from the gate and sit there for 45 minutes. When you get ready to actually fly, I’ll get ready to sit there without my device.

    • full.tang.halo says:

      And this self important attitude is what pisses off flight attendants and other passengers. You are not some special flower who the rules don’t apply to. Stow it like the rest of us or don’t fly at all.

    • outlulz says:

      If you have a problem with the rule, go and lobby for the FAA to change it. The airlines didn’t make it and the flight attendants didn’t make it. They’re supposed to ensure all electronics are off when the cabin doors close and I don’t believe they’re supposed to push off from the gate otherwise, so all you’re doing is screwing everyone else over.

      • skylar.sutton says:

        They’re also not supposed to push off from the gate and sit there for hours on end… but they do anyways. Eye for an eye.

        • full.tang.halo says:

          “An eye for an eye, and soon the whole world is blind.”
          — Mahatma Gandhi

        • outlulz says:

          Well yeah…they are. There’s nothing in the law stopping them from doing so other than the new rule that imposes fines. But there are FAA regulations about you keeping your electronics on after they close the cabin doors, and about disobeying the flight crew.

  11. full.tang.halo says:

    Start booting passengers that misbehave, you get a warning, keep it up, blam! off the plane, you won’t be completing your journey with us. I truly believe in the Scott Adams, A-holes aren’t worth it to business, both as employees or customers. It’s ok to disagree or be tough but you stray into the being a D-bag just to be one, take yourself elsewhere.

    • burnedout says:

      The owner of the best Chinese restaurant in town has a reputation for throwing people out who make too many demands of the servers. He has his way of doing things, and if you ask for substitutions, slow down his servers, or challenge how the food is made…BLAM. You’re out the door.

      It’s made the restaurant more popular, actually (you go in hoping to see action), and the food is wicked good…

  12. emax4 says:

    I’m totally on your side here, but I think it may backfire. By paying more, customers think that they’re entitled to more, when in fact they’re entitled to very little from the get-go.

    • emax4 says:

      Sorry, but this was meant for TuxthePenguin’s comment that “you willing to pay far more than you are now?”

  13. Preyfar says:

    Pre-9/11, I used to love flying. Sure, there were delays and whatnot, but I loved flying anywhere I had to go. I was pretty easy and convenient. Nowadays the stress starts from the moment you set foot in the airport, wondering how bad the security lines will be, whether they’ll treat you like a criminal, confiscate your toothpaste, if your luggage will get there with you, how bad will those seats be, etc.

    The last flight I took (out of Dulles) involved A) 1:15 minute security lines B) the flight was delayed an hour and I was forced to sit next to C) the man with BO from hell and D) a man who apparently had the flu. Worse, after all that, E) only half of my luggage getting to its destination.

    What did I get for it? Five *severely* frustrating things netted me with nothing in return. Oh sure, I got to my destination… after about one of six most miserable hours of my life.

    It still doesn’t beat the time I took Turkish Air from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan to Istanbul, Turkey… in a plane with no air conditioning, 90+ degree heat, more BO than you can shake a stick at, the world’s most uncomfortable seats and a kid who was stepping on people across the isles and just walking everywhere (he really wanted my iPod, too).

    Honestly, I don’t fly anymore. I’ve just about had it with flying. I’d rather drive and make up my own terms. I just don’t find flying worth it anymore. Will I still do it? Yeah, out of necessity, and every so often I still have a good and relaxing flight, but airlines have become a hell from which there is little escape.

    Let’s not even begin that my ticket costs $250, yet I can generally expect to pay another $60-100 or so at the gate for my luggage. Fees, fees, fees.

    Flying used to be fun. Now I end up on the other side jaded, poorer and in dire need of a shower.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      With all honesty, all of that could and did happen pre-9/11. The only difference now is that you’re treated like a criminal in the terminal, instead it used to be nicer.

      • RvLeshrac says:

        Minor clarification: You’re treated like a criminal, and the flight is no more safe than it was 20 years ago.

    • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

      Find me a way to get to Europe or Asia in a car, and I’ll stop flying too.

      Otherwise, I still think it’s awesome, despite the annoyances.

    • dreamking says:

      I once took a flight on aeroflot from Moscow to Ashgabat. As I breathe, there were live chickens in the passenger cabin. It was awesome. But the in-flight meal was STILL better than one I could have gotten in the states.

  14. chocolate1234 says:

    I think anybody who’s spent time working in customer service can sympathize with this guy. I have been constantly amazed over the years by how rude and abusive so many people are.

  15. CarWontGo says:

    “By now, you’ve heard at least three times that all electronic devices have to be turned off. So why isn’t yours?”

    Because so much of flying these days is pure security theater, that it has completely undermined the credibility of *anything* anyone in a position of authority asks of flyers. I’m not allowed to bring more than 3 oz of liquid through security — unless it’s in a contact lens saline solution bottle, in which case my 16 oz bottle is fine. I can’t use electronic devices, yet planes can broadcast wireless internet access without dropping out of the sky. I was made to take the booties off my 4 month old infant when carrying her through a screening station. The entire thing is laughable.

    So when a flight attendant asks me to turn off my blackberry or laptop, the first thing I think is “this is just another empty request that I have to comply with in order to play my designated role in this charade.” I am willing to turn it off because the plane won’t take off unless I do, but you can bet that if I’m in the middle of sending an important email and the crew is still busy with their prep work, I’m not going to act like there’s anything urgent riding on my timing. That’s why it might take 2 or 3 announcements before you see me shut it down.

    Most flight attendants seem to recognize the difference between using an electronic device while the plane is still being prepared for taxiing vs. continuing to use one when all the pre-flight prep has wound down and the plane really ready to push off.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      My big question has always been they never seem to check what’s in the bottles unless it’s bigger than regulation. What’s to stop you from bringing a quart size bag full of 3oz bottles of gasoline?

      Security Theatre is right.

      • pantheonoutcast says:
      • finbar says:

        I actually did this to get booze onto a flight. I bought a bunch of plastic mini bottles of Vodka and threw it into my carry-on. The security guy looked at it, didn’t say anything and, let me on my way.

        It was long trans-Atlantic flight, bringing the bottles was considerably cheaper than purchasing drinks at 5 Euros a pop.

        • Big Mama Pain says:

          Why would security care that you were bringing alcohol through? It’s not illegal to bring it as long as they are nips, and that’s just because of the rules about liquids, not because it’s booze.

          • NeverLetMeDown says:

            Actually, it is.

            14 C.F.R. § 121.575
            No person may drink any alcoholic beverage aboard an aircraft unless the certificate holder operating the aircraft has served that beverage to him.

            So, you can bring the miniatures on board, you just can’t drink them without asking the airline to serve them to you, which it won’t.

    • AlfredaCosta says:

      It doesn’t matter if it’s an “empty request” or not. That isn’t your decision to make–I’m seeing a lot of comments on this post that go exactly to what must make this job a living hell. People decide, on their own, which rules they’ll follow, and when.

      If people don’t want to be treated like children, don’t act like them and follow the instructions the first time they state them. Don’t make the flight attendants count to three.

      Also, in regards to paying more (comments above), it will be a lot more than $100 extra per ticket. Think economy costing business class fares. The economics of the airline industry are part of what is driving all of this to be a wretched way to travel.

      • Random_Tangent says:

        Aren’t children the ones who follow instructions without thinking, and adults the ones who are supposed to use their brains and think about stuff?

  16. CaptCynic says:

    People are jerks, being a jerk in response doesn’t help.

    I understand this guy was stressed and did not deserve to be hit with luggage or cursed at, but he acted like a 3 year old. Grow up. He’s not a hero, he’s an ass. Sure, the other guy was an ass first, but that doesn’t make it ok, especially when he’s responsible for the saftey of 200 passengers.

    I find it ironic that flight attendants hate flying as much as passengers hate it. There’s got to be a better way that doesn’t put everyone on edge.

    • emax4 says:

      So if the passenger was an ass first, why isn’t he or she getting reprimanded/jail time? You’re blaming the victim when you should be blaming the perpetrator.

      • The Lone Gunman says:

        That’s something I was wondering: if, as some accounts have it, the attendant was struck by the passenger’s luggage–WHY was no assault charge filed?

      • kjs87 says:

        I think it’s because the passenger accidentally hit the guy with luggage; the passenger did not steal booze and then set off a one-time use $25,000 slide that could have killed the ground crew. I don’t think this guy should have gone to jail, but what he did was considerably more dangerous/illegal than what the passenger did.

    • photoguy622 says:

      Thank you, and while I wouldn’t call him an ass, he was childish.

  17. midniteslayr says:

    “Perhaps if airlines spent more time looking at how to make flying something to enjoy instead of something to endure, everyone would have a better time in the air.”

    And … This is why I prefer to fly Southwest. If you ever go on one of their flights, you know that they want you have fun when flying. They have always been relaxing and quite enjoyable.

    I don’t like their passenger of size policy, but, once they re-evaluate that, I think many of the airlines could use Southwest as a great example.

  18. sopmodm14 says:

    i would hate a fellow passenger like that, they make the FA’s work that much harder, and it affects everyone

    that passenger didn’t respect the rules of Jetblue, and probably won’t for any other airline once he’s banned from JB. a repeat of his actions can be interpreted as a safety risk.

    if the FA got hit with the luggage, i’d press charges for assault or something

  19. COBBCITY says:

    Slater’s reaction was a bit dramatic. HOWEVER, I think the media needs to move to the bigger story:

    1. Passengers are trying to haul everything they can on as a carry-on due to checked baggage fees.

    2. This passenger ignored instructions to remain in her seat and was rude SEVERAL times during the flight. Who was she? Why has she not been identified?

    3. She caused him to have to go back and talk to her because she ignored him when asked to sit down. Her luggage then fell on him.

    The passenger was rude and horrible and that spurred the rest of what happened. Why has she not been taken to task for her behavior?

  20. vastrightwing says:

    Flying is a commodity, there is only light shades of grey between carriers. The price you pay for first class is not proportionate to the better service, so most people opt not to pay. Even if you do pay, you still have to endure the ticket purchase experience and go through security like everyone else, so your experience is only slightly better. Personally, I’d rather take the risk and dispense with all boarding security. just allow everyone to enter the terminal and board the plane like we used to 20 years ago. Allow anyone to buy a ticket like for a bus and don’t worry about who’s name is on the ticket. I know we won’t go back to this, but it was great!

    • erratapage says:

      You are so right about the service upgrade for first price not being worth the price increase. And yet, it’s a rare flight that I’m on that has first class seats open. I think there are just enough people who will pay more that they can fill the seats. I would definitely pay more for a first class seat, but I would not pay $189 more each way (which is the cost on my airline of choice, Sun Country). I have paid $89 more, and I definitely think it was worth that at the end of a long business trip.

      My guess is that the airlines really do have the pricing model down. It will take a bold new entrant into the airline business to shake up the model.

  21. tinyhands says:

    Slater & Laurie should try being attendants on Vietnam Airlines, China Eastern, or any other small carrier in the far east. Western standards of etiquette simply do not apply, so pushing, shoving, cutting in line, and other behaviors are perfectly acceptible. It’s not that they’re wrong or rude, it’s just their culture. And yet, attendants provide first-class service with a smile every time.

  22. jrobie says:

    It’s not fair, but when you see flight attendants, they are the smiling face of the company that’s currently ruining your day.

    One should, I suppose, endeavor to see them as individual people, but it’s often hard to see past the set of brass wings bearing the name of the company that’s just charged you a $20 “convenience fee” for not poking you with a stick.

  23. SlappyFrog says:

    “Perhaps if airlines spent more time looking at how to make flying something to enjoy instead of something to endure”

    Flying USED to be a pleasure, it isn’t that the airlines are somehow not allowing us to experience the joys of air travel, they are actively working to make the experience as uncomfortable and wretched as possible under the umbrella of “cutting costs.”

    • Powerlurker says:

      Flying also used to be a luxury that only the wealthy could afford. I’ll take today’s cheap economy fares any day over the old system.

  24. skapig says:

    It’s not just a matter of charging more for a nice seat and experience on the plane. Most of the pain and stress comes from the effort leading up to boarding. Pain-in-the-ass security theater, crazy fees, overbooking, weather, bad customer service, delays, and so on. Many of the issues could be managed.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      Yeah, really. When I booked my ticket for this Friday, I had to pay a $10 “September 11 fee.” WTF is that!?!

  25. Jimmy37 says:

    Deep down, people are pigs, they are lazy, selfish, and greedy. I am sick and tired of seeing people stuff all their crap in the overhead bins so they can be comfy. Nothing under the seat in front, mind you. And the attendants just watch them do it, and apparently, can’t do anything about it.

    I have always been courteous and understanding to the attendants and took what ever they said at their word. Sure, I might have pushed on the “put the stuff away requests”, but, in the end, the stuff got put away with no hard feelings. And when flights got canceled or delayed, I certainly never blamed the attendants. I merely expected them to help me in that situation as best they could.

    • lettucefactory says:

      This is exactly why I would support a “one small personal item only” carry-on rule, if airlines got rid of checked bag fees and could be relied upon not to lose my bag half the time. People will never stop abusing the overhead bin space as long as they are allowed to drag small suitcases on board.

  26. teke367 says:

    I was a waiter for a long time, and got plenty of screams in my direction for things that couldn’t possibly be my fault. Who I was mad at, depended on why I was being yelled out. If I was being yelled out because we didn’t carry Orange Soda, I was mad at the customer. If I was being yelled out because somebody’s fried shrimp was taking 30 minutes, I was mad at the restaurant, because while perhaps the amount of screaming the customer did wasn’t proportionate to the inconvienence, I definitely understand that small irritations can turn into big ones when the company causing it seems to have no interest in fixing it.

    Flying sucks, even before 2001, when I was on a flight, if there were no troubles at all, I still usually ended up in a bad mood. Traffic around the airport sucks, even a “short” wait was too long, and no matter how well everything else went, the seats were too cramped.

    Whats worse is that it seems that most airlines have the feeling that since its already an uphill battle to have a flyer leave in a good mood, they might as well make sure they leave in a bad one.

  27. SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:

    I once brought a flight attendant to tears by writing a very complementary letter for her supervisor (I handed it to her to pass along) just after another d-bag got done berating her for breaking the plane.

    • peebozi says:

      did you get in her pants? seems like the obvious ed you were seeking and I just have to know now!

  28. NumberSix says:

    People keep using “dramatic” in front of “job walk off” when they need to be using “EPIC”.

    People are going to be talking about this for years.

  29. peebozi says:

    I hope the flight attendant on my flight last week weighs in here!

    she thanked me, very loudly, for saying please and thank you when she offered drinks. “OH, AND THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SAYING THANK YOU!”

    My wife and I listened to every passenger behind us say “please” and “thank you”. As Pat Robertson likes to say “True Story”…but this one is true!

    I really hate being associated with the rest of you rude travelers!!!

    • dreamking says:

      That’s actually a bad behavior to reward, all passive-aggressive and whatnot.

      I’m always polite and no trouble to the attendants. I even pay them polite attention through the safety instructions. It’s never gotten me any better treatment. That’s fine, because I’m being polite for my own reasons, not for a quid pro quo, but I hope people don’t mistakenly think this is all about passengers being rude. They feel like a tool. You feel like a tool. It’s a useless endeavor.

  30. NeverLetMeDown says:

    “There will always be bad customers like the overhead bin guy who thought he was better than everyone else on Slater’s flight”

    Actually, it was a woman, not a guy.

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/steven-slater-jetblue-flight-attendant-bail-emergency-slide/story?id=11367793

  31. Dieflatermous says:

    Porter is an amazing airline, and one of the only ones that’s been expanding through the recession. No extra fees, free food and drinks in the lounge/during flight, and the flight attendants/customer service reps/pilots are some of the best-paid in the business so they’re actually very helpful and friendly.

    They’re also cheaper than any other airline by far, as they usually have sales — advertised right on their site, no third-party nonsense.

    Sadly they’re a really small airline and only useful if you’re traveling between I think 10 cities they fly right now. I wish they did more, they know what they’re doing. I got my free flight for flying with them 5 times last month, I can’t give them enough praise.

  32. Blious says:

    Neither party should be applauded or given any sort of fame

    Flight attendants have been downright RUDE to me the last few months and I don’t care about the stress they are under as many are under the same amount and deal with clients just fine

    On the flip side, I want to throw people out of planes all the time due to them treating flight attendants poorly and others on the plane

  33. botulismo says:

    Oh, I see. What about all the stress caused by irritable flight attendants who think they are the last best hope for humanity? I was on an American airlines flight last year from Toronto to Chicago, and the attendant threatened to strand me because she happened to somehow see an inappropriate word on a shirt underneath a jacket I was wearing. Not only was that my only clean shirt left from the trip, yet I had made every effort possible to conceal it so as not to offend others. I had not said a single word to her when she started yelling at me for every passenger to hear that she “couldn’t believe I had been allowed on the flight wearing that shirt” (covered up, that only she could see because of her position above me), but that she was going to “call the gate as soon as we arrived and deny me access to my connecting flight.” A simple request to turn my shirt inside out or change would have sufficed and I would have been happy to comply. Of course, I did that anyway, and another attendant just told me to ignore her, but the damage was done already. I spent the next 2 hours wondering in fear if I would be stuck in Chicago, or worse, if I spoke up to the flight attendant who treated me rudely, arrested, mainly because of horror stories I’ve read online.

    Also, if you want to know just how offensive my shirt was, you can see it here http://amorphia-apparel.com/design/pter/ – not an ad, just to satisfy curiosity. I could fully understand if she had just approached me and said “You know, you may not know it, but if you look closely I can see your shirt through the jacket. Could you please turn it inside out?” Yet she didn’t.

    That’s just a small example, but the worst I’d ever encountered. I had another attendant berate me for being in her way when I was cornered in the bathroom at the end of the plane. I’ve heard others talk about sordid details of their personal lives as if little kids weren’t also present. I feel no sympathy for people who treat their paying customers like either a burden, like inanimate objects, and/or little children.