Delta Offers Gold Status To Victims Of Pyschotic American Airlines Stewardess

Delta has offered Gold status to anyone who was on the ill-fated American Airlines flight where a stewardess screamed at a first class passenger who had the gall to ask for orange juice, and had him given a written warning by the captain.

Your article was forwarded to me from an industry peer and I thought maybe you would like to offer “Gold” status on Delta to anyone mentioned in your article or that was on the flight that was offended by the treatment they received during the flight.

Please let them know to contact me.


Chuck Imhof

I wonder if the correlation between “Gold” and orange juice is intentional.

This email is made even more interesting because Chuck jumped from American Airlines to Delta as head of regional sales, and American Airlines sued him and tried to prevent him from taking the job at Delta for allegedly emailing confidential strategy and pricing documents to his personal email account before resigning.

Revenge is best served in a plastic cup filled with ice cubes, eh, American?

We’re still waiting for American to get back to us about this incident.

PREVIOUSLY: Asking For Orange Juice On American Airlines May Violate Federal Law


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  1. temporaryscars says:

    So what happened to Helen? Was she fired?

    • treimel says:

      Unionized with a good bit of seniority, so …. no, not a chance.

      • Inglix_the_Mad says:

        I’ve got the notion she’s going to end up on commuter flights far away from “first class” passengers.

        • bastion72 says:

          Fuck up move up. That’s how it work in the military, maybe she’s head flight attendant.

        • ARP says:

          I doubt it. One of the things that really annoys me about unions is the time=seniority, not always performance= seniority. So, Helen likely gets the plumb routes (usually international, because they can rack up their required hours much faster). Commuter routes are more often for lower level flight attendants or those who have decided to accept certain trade-off’s (e.g. they get to go home every night).

          You’re right though, that they may put her in economy. I’m not sure if the seniority system gets that specific (chosing cabins).

        • Shoelace says:

          I think that would make sense – short flights and relatively little interaction with individual customers. Hopefully AA has made it clear to her that the incident and her corresponding notoriety are not good for business and that this had better not happen again.

      • El-Brucio says:

        I don’t know about American, but I worked for a company that had a large, country-wide union.

        Contrary to what you may think, people were fired all the time. Management just becomes more adept at documenting the required transgression(s).

        Unions can have undesirable effects on a company, but employee invulnerability to firing is seldom one of the ones that a company is ever willing to have put into a negotiated agreement.

      • Wombatish says:

        Like I said on the other article, insubordination is grounds for dismissal in any union.

        Lying to the pilot is insubordination.

        It’s also no where near impossible to fire someone in a union, but I’ve given up on correcting that particular “joke”.

        • huadpe says:

          There are a few public employee unions where it’s difficult, most private companies unions make it possible, but still involve alot of paperwork. Also probably some confidentiality.

        • sleze69 says:

          She wasn’t insubordinate to her superiors (to whom she is subordinate). She was rude to customers, something to which union members can do without fear.

    • DCvision says:

      agreed… what happened to Helen?

      • Skipweasel says:

        Made to fly RyanAir for the rest of her days.

      • Aesteval says:

        I’d be very surprised if anyone formally hears anything about that. Seriously, employee reprimands (assuming anything happened at all) are rarely suitable for public dissemination.

    • LuzioFantazmic says:

      The Flight Attendant Helen works for American. Delta was making the upgrade offer to the victims of Helen to entice them to change airlines.

      Far as I know, AA has yet to speak out in regards to the rude and unprofessional stewardess.

    • morlo says:

      I hope not. She sounds like wholesome entertainment for a long boring flight.

  2. Bhockzer says:

    And the Customer Service Wars have begun…

    • Batwaffel says:

      We can only hope…

    • Nogard13 says:

      Well, if AA isn’t going to do anything about their upset passengers, I see no reason why Delta can’t swoop in and offer them Gold status plus the promise that they won’t be treated that way by Delta employees. The unhappy customers are likely to jump ship and give Delta their business.

      • theblackdog says:

        True, unless the customers travel for their employers, and their employers only use AA for some reason, or Delta doesn’t serve that airport.

  3. rpm773 says:

    Is it worth anything that I was appalled by reading about the incident? Maybe a free ginger ale?

  4. MaxSmart32 says:

    “…head of regional sues…”

    Hehe…I like that slip.

  5. ElizabethD says:

    I think I would opt for “Former Customer” status instead.

    • MostlyHarmless says:

      Thats exactly what they are going for here. The incident happened on AA. The ‘Gold’ offer is made by Delta. They are going for precisely that: “Former AA Customer”.

  6. NeverLetMeDown says:

    Status matching is a pretty common tactic among carriers. If you have status on, say, United, and call up American and say “I fly NYC-LA a lot, and I’m Gold on American. I’d like to switch to flying United, but I don’t want to give up the status,” they’ll often match your status on a one-time basis, once you fax them proof (i.e. copy of your freq flyer statement, or something like that).

  7. treimel says:

    Given that the prime victim of the incident already holds Platinum status, I can’t say I’m overly impressed.

    • treimel says:

      Holds Platinum with American, that is.

      • humphrmi says:

        Still, this is a good deal for him. If he were inclined to stop flying American due to this incident, normally his status would be a factor in that decision – “Man, I hate this airline, after what they did to me, but I get to sit in the Admirals Club and board before anyone else. And if I change airlines now, it’s going to take me at least a year to build up enough miles to become elite class on the new airline.” Now, the decision is easier – switch to Delta, instant elite, life is good.

        • treimel says:

          but he’s still losing some–he’s at the top of AA; Delta is offering him two down from their top.

          • gamehendge2000 says:

            Platinum on American is a small step above steerage. You need Exec Platinum before realizing any real benefit

  8. Ouze says:

    Chuck Imhof has every reason to want to stick a knife in AA (and give it a good twist) – After working for AA for 2 decades, they’re suing him for “stealing company secrets”.

  9. Tim says:

    Hmm .. it’ll be difficult for American to confirm that a passenger was on a Delta flight, don’t you think? I mean, I guess they could demand to see your ticket or something. But still.

    Nonetheless, if I were one of these passengers, this wouldn’t mean much to me. Having a certain customer “status” doesn’t save you money on the base fare, it just gives you extra perks. I’d like something like a travel voucher.

  10. VA_White says:

    You and Phil need to get together and take a class on how in 2009, we call them Flight Attendants. And Police Officers and Mail Carriers and Firefighters. Not Stewardesses/Stewards and Policewomen/Policemen and mailmen/mailwomen and firemen/firewomen. Gender-neutral language is the norm nowadays and it’s not that difficult to incorporate. Next thing you know, you’ll be telling us about how you gave your sexy stewardess a swat on the fanny when she walked by.

    • Hoss says:

      They are referring to a specific individual not the class not everyone in the profession. Should we stop saying son/daughter, priest/nun, king/queen, filly/colt?

      • VA_White says:

        There is nothing specifically descriptive about ‘stewardess’ that would be lost by replacing the word with ‘flight attendant.’ We know she’s female because she’s so described with gendered pronouns elsewhere in the article. And her behavior is not attributable to her gender; a male flight attendant could have easily been the asshole flight attendant. My point is that Phil Villarreal and Ben have now both used “stewardess” which, in some contexts, can be considered derogatory, in referring to a female flight attendant. It’s not necessary and it’s not standard editorial practice to do so.

        • Hoss says:

          I understand. Many publications have also stopped using race in crime descriptions. This is apples and oranges, I know. But we sometimes lose something if we no longer can describe what is clearly true.

          • RandomHookup says:

            The issue isn’t really about the sex of the individual. It’s that the terms “steward” and “stewardess” are outdated. They call themselves “flight attendants”, unless they are still flying on Braniff. Stewardess dates from the time when they had to be unmarried and meet very specific weight guidelines.

        • Sneeje says:

          Is your life so bereft of challenge and drama that this is what is left for you to champion? Perhaps you can chide folks for saying Merry Christmas or go on a crusade about the incorrect usage of that or which?

          BTW, you used an unnecessary comma after “Next thing you know” in your original post. And given that this site is read internationally, “fanny” might not the best choice of colloquial words.

    • Demonpiggies says:

      Is that wrong? I thought a pat on the backside was a token of appreciation from me (as a customer) to the stewardess of a job well done. Normally I just grope them as they bend down to serve me my drink but in the rare case of a “homely-looking” stewardess I’ll just give them a pat….

      PC terms have their place and since it’s NOT like the article is demeaning women or men (since we matter also) it’s demeaning to a certain PERSON (granted she is a woman but that has little or nothing to do with how poorly she treats customers)… I’m not attacking PC terms and I understand the how and why and when but I think this comment is a bit misplaced…

      With that said… who is “You” and “Phil”… I can’t find a Phil (OP is David, the AA guy is Chuck and the article is by Ben) so I assume “You” refers to Ben but “Phil”?

    • _hi_ says:

      Also to add to your list: kidnapping and torture is now called “rendition” and stealing money is called “bailouts”.

      I’m now going to the bar to pick up an opposite partner associate chairperson.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      Someone apparently has missed some classes. At least two of the examples you cite are NOT gender neutral,and would get you a yellow card were you to say them in mixed/HR company. We CAN NOT call them officers, because it contains the word “sirs”. Also, Mail carriers uses the word “male”. Thus we call them Postal carriers.

      • dwasifar says:

        You’ve made me physically ill.

        “Officer” does not contain the word “sir,” nor does “mail carrier” contain the word “male.” What’s next? Banning “associate” because it contains the word “ass”? Maybe you won’t be able to say “postal carriers” because posts are stiff and made of wood, and it contains “Al,” a man’s name.

        This kind of ridiculous crap reminds me of prudish Victorians putting little trousers on their piano legs for fear someone would be reminded of a female’s leg and be offended.

        • coren says:

          I think that was sarcasm in response to the comment calling for more PC above.

          • Major Annoyance says:

            My biggest laugh on this site is when someone misses the sarcasm in a post and gets all irate over it.

            • dwasifar says:


              Hoist by my own petard. Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. I am clearly having some sort of brain malfunction today.

              In other words, oops. *facepalm*

              On the other hand, in my own defense, it’s not hard to imagine someone serious about that kind of thing.

              But still, oops.

    • SabreDC says:

      Actually, I call her “the lady on the plane”.


    • Chuck Norris' wig says:

      I like to give the sexy stews a nice pinch on the ass but I’m old fashioned.

    • David in Brasil says:

      How’s that workin’ out for ya in languages other than English, Lady? Good luck on getting a gender-neutral Spanish or Portuguese.

  11. AdvocatesDevil says:

    Hey, wasn’t there a post about Domino’s changing their recipe on here? Where did it go?

    • SunnyLea says:

      Yup. I can still see it in my RSS (that happens when blogs pull a story).

    • Mike Tyson's movie career says:

      Tempting fate to say that, with some decent googling, one can find almost anything posted by a popular website, mirrored and repackaged in full as another site’s content. On the first page of results, even.

    • Greely says:

      The cheese blend changed to remove the sawdust and incorporate provolone. The sauce now has a hint of a garlic taste to it as well.

      I’m kidding about the sawdust, of course. It’s still there.

  12. EldestPort says:

    Correlation does not imply causation. ;)

  13. Joe_Bloe says:

    I did some digging, and another blog purports to have spoken to the passenger who was the subject of this imbroglio.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      Awesomesauce! Thanks for the link; I remember several people (including myself) wanted to hear from the person this happened to.

  14. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    That is hilarious. I love it. One PR guy at an airline hears about horrible service at a competitor and offers perks for switching. Good job, ol’ boy.

  15. Hogan1 says:

    The original story was based purely on the ramblings of a man who admittedly had headphones on and DIDN’T hear what started the incident. What was ACTUALLY said between the man and the flight attendant will likely never been known. That said; It’s nice that Delta is trying to wage a PR battle of sorts as it’s remotely possible it may benefit some passengers.

    • treimel says:

      What about the entire crowd of folks who were debriefed at the gate, who supported the version of events he related as hearsay? That part was first-hand.

    • The OJ Man says:

      Let me set the record straight. I am the “OJ Man so many have been chatting about on the internet. Although the responses have been overwhelmingly favorable, I’m still amazed that some have still question what was said. Although I wasn’t carrying a tape recorder, this much is fact:

      Every single passenger in my row as well as every single passenger in the row behind me (thus, the only passengers who could see or hear anything) all marched off the plane with me unison when it landed. Not only did everyone support my side of the story to the AA representative at the arrival gate, but everyone stayed for at least 30 minutes, and some stayed for over an hour. Even more amazing is that I had never met any of these people in my life.

      Imagine if something like this had happened to you. Even if you were totally in the right, it would still be amazing if every single passenger seated next to you volunteered to be a witness for you.

      By the way, I later learned that some of these passengers stayed a long time to talk to this arrival gate representative because they had their own issues with this flight attendant.

  16. PsiCop says:

    It’s nice to see competitors taking advantage of another company’s screw-ups. Would that this kind of “competitive compensation” were more common, not only in air travel, but in other industries as well.

    P.S. Pedantic note about the headline: It’s spelled “psychotic.” (Sorry, couldn’t resist, the proofreader in me just leapt out and typed that.)

  17. Cantras says:

    Ahhh…. I took a PR class in college, because it took me just past the drop-the-course cutoff to realise that I would sooner sell my soul to the devil than a corporation in quite the manner that our professor was trumpeting…

    BUT in all the really shady soul-crushing PR stories that the professor loved, there was *one* I liked. I can’t remember which companies it was, I *think* it was ford and toyota? But it was something like, Ford had rented out all of freaking Central Park or somesuch, not letting anyone in except employees for some big employee appreciation thinger… and Toyota swooped in with reps on the outside of the fence saying “We’re sorry Ford is bogarting Central Park. Have some tickets to the Met/etc on Toyota!”

    That gave me evil giggles of the sort of evil I appreciate.

  18. almightytora says:

    Another typo in the title: “Pyschotic”? Try “Psychotic”.

  19. Kerov says:

    The truly villain in this story isn’t Helen, or AA. It’s the crazy set of secret lists and overbroad laws that empowered Helen to threaten this guy with Federal felony charges, and serve him with a Federal legal document, and place this guy in fear that the Federal government could make his future travels a living hell by putting him on some double-secret, unappealable “watch list” for the rest of his life.

    This is not America.

  20. evilpete says:

    Do the people also get a written apology by the captain ?

  21. thisistobehelpful says:

    Yes but did they fire the psycho?