Jessica Cabot was born blind, but she’d been on two flights by herself before boarding a United Airlines flight last month, so she figured she knew what to expect. On all three flights, she was told by the flight attendants to remain seated until everyone else was off the plane, and then someone would help her off. That worked the first two times at any rate.
The flight attendants at American Airlines say that contract negotiations have hit a wall, so they’ve asked for permission call an end to the talks. If granted, this would move the union one step closer to what could be the largest airline strike in the U.S. since 2005.
American Airlines is beginning to experiment with turning flights into shopping opportunities, reports the New York Times. We’re not just talking about in-flight purchases of Sky Mall schwag, either: the paper reports that limousine services, tickets to theme parks and Broadway shows, and train tickets are some of the offerings being considered or currently being tested.
A happy flight attendant makes for a happy flight, and 24-year-old flight attendant Brandi Lynne has a list of 10 things you can do to make your next flight a little more enjoyable…
A manager at Chemical Bank in Midland, Michigan, grew suspicious when he saw Marion Case, an 80-year-old customer, withdraw $25k from her account last December. Case told him she was going to mail it to someone who would then pass it along to her son. The manager, Carl Ahearn, “remained suspicious. He followed her as she walked to the nearby post office, where Case bought an Express Mail envelope addressed to a man in New Jersey. Ahearn shared his concerns with postal officials, who opened an investigation and arrested a man Monday for fraud.”
Ned wears a neck brace when he flies, not because he’s injured or disabled, but because he prefers it to one of those floofy neck pillows. This didn’t sit well with a Delta flight attendant who was intent on keeping disabled-looking folks out of the emergency exit aisle. The attendant wouldn’t leave Ned alone, even after Ned demonstrated his range of mobility and explained that the brace was from a minor car accident thirty-three years ago. Ned managed to hold onto his seat after a chat with the senior flight attendant, but the original flight attendant later came back, “got in [Ned’s] face ñ literally, just inches away” and complained that Ned had “bucked his authority.”
Of all the weird encounters to have on an airplane, we never would have expected to have a flight attendant point out just how bad a full can of soda is for you. That’s what happened to Laura, though.
United couldn’t have been more understanding and helpful after reader Chris’ wife had a seizure as they flew from Sullivan’s Island, SC to Winnipeg. The flight attendants onboard offered to divert the flight to Chicago, but the couple decided instead to power through. United’s staff met them at the gate along with paramedics, and offered to rebook them on the flight of their choice. If they wanted to stay the night, United said they’d be happy to pay for a hotel room. Chris’ takeaway perfectly captures the spirit behind our Above and Beyond posts: “Even if United is a horrible company,” he writes, “there are still nice people there, and sometimes even big companies surprise you.” Chris writes:
Natalie is pretty angry. Lately whenever her mother, who is blind, has to travel, she seems to run into trouble. As Natalie puts it, as far as airline regulations go a guide dog is equivalent to a wheelchair, and the appropriate accommodations should be made without hassle. It’s too bad on her last flight, Natalie’s mother had to sit in the bulkhead next to a Delta employee with a fear of dogs.
Here’s a bittersweet elegy on airline travel. [New York Times]
The first thing we thought when we read this article was, at least something is still free on an airplane! Unfortunately, in this case the passenger claims it was unrequested and wouldn’t stop, and the flight attendant, who no longer works for JetBlue, has been arrested “on charges of ‘obscene and indecent exposure’ and ‘for making sexual advances.'” He has yet to enter a plea.
“Who would have thought, after 30 years, that we’d be a flying 7-Eleven,” Becky Gilbert, a three-decade veteran of the industry told me during a break in our training session in Fort Worth.
In our post earlier today about the 65-year-old doctor who tried to use the bathroom on a recent Southwest flight and was subsequently arrested, we noted that the airline sent him an apology letter and a $100 voucher. That seemed kind of inappropriate for the situation, right? It turns out the letter was never meant for Dr. Madduri and was sent to him by mistake. According to our reader RedwoodFlyer (Sockatume also picked up on it), the letter was actually about him and was sent to all the other passengers on the flight; he was never meant to see it.
A 65-year-old urologist, born in India but living in the United States for 38 years now, was flying from his home in Missouri to a medical convention in Las Vegas on June 26th, 2008. Did you notice that “born in India” detail? Apparently his attempts to go to the bathroom angered and frightened a flight attendant, who wouldn’t tell Dr. Sivaprasad Madduri why he couldn’t use the lavatory (the pilot was using it) and who wouldn’t listen to Dr. Madduri’s explanation that he was taking a medicine that acts as a diuretic. When the plane landed he was arrested, spent the night in jail, and was told the next day to plead guilty and pay $2500 if he wanted a quick resolution.
On July 20th, Julianna’s (delayed) Delta flight landed in Atlanta at 7:30pm, with a connecting flight scheduled for 8:05pm. Julianna, who has muscular dystrophy, missed the connecting flight because nobody came with a wheelchair until 8:05—the same time the connecting flight took off. To make matters worse, the plane crew told Julianna she might make the flight anyway if she stopped waiting for help and got off the plane right now, so she crawled down the stairs on her own. When the wheelchair came she was “wheeled into a back room and advised” that her plane had taken off. But that was just the first half of her ordeal, and the next eight hours only got worse.
A 44-year-old Brooklyn woman was returning from vacation in Haiti when she began to have trouble breathing. According to her cousin who was on the flight with her, she was refused help twice by the flight attendant, then she was brought two oxygen tanks with masks—but both were empty. Her cousin requested an emergency landing, but before they could touch down in Miami she was dead, so the plane continued to JFK. The airline isn’t commenting on why the emergency tanks were empty in the first place. “After the flight attendant refused to administer oxygen to Ms. Desir, she became distressed, pleading, ‘Don’t let me die,’ Mr. Oliver recalled.”