Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Stewardess Hall of Shame (Alaska Airlines)

Flight Attendant Stewardess Hall of Shame Alaska Airlines Flight 3496 August 9 Seattle FresnoThe media has been all abuzz about the airline flight attendants' Passenger Hall of Shame--but I think the stewards and stewardesses' have a good point. Passenger behavior on airlines is absurd. It used to be the world's trolls hid behind the anonymity of the net, but now they're acting out in public--a lot of them with weapons!

Of course, airplane's crowded conditions don't help. Back in the days of Pan Am and Braniff (heavy sigh--that dates me!), travel was pleasurable, with real service, and real meals. Nowadays, more people fly, and in many ways it is cheaper than ever, but we're also squeezed in to seats that have about 10 inch between them (and they're considering "stand up seats" for some planes!).

Having said that, though, I'm also surprised by some flight attendants' behavior. Case in point--a recent flight on Alaska Airlines (but let me add that Alaska Airlines is still one of our favorite airlines--which made this incident all the more surprising).

A recent Alaska Airlines magazine said team members were wearing an "I am Alaska" pin to show their spirit. Most don't need the pin. You can see it in their service. But the stewardess in the photo (to the rear) needs to be stuck with that pin a few times.

The Seattle to Fresno Alaska Air Flight 3496, August 9, was delayed because, at the last minute, a pilot called in sick. But the pilot explained and apologized profusely, and passengers waited patiently. While waiting, I asked one of the two stewardesses about the Alaskan logo on the plane's tail. "I don't know," she said, "but I should! I'll ask and get back to you." To my surprise, about 20 minutes later she returned, having queried the airlines, and said, "Now we both know!" This lady was professional and attentive, to everyone, the entire flight.

Good Cop/Bad Cop? The other stewardess was the reverse! Kind of reminded me of Good Cop/Bad Cop (maybe it's a new airline strategy--Good Stewardess/Bad Stewardess to keep passengers in their place?). When she offered drinks, I asked if the orange juice had sugar added, as sugared drinks make me ill. She looked at me, rolled her eyes, and said loudly enough for several rows to hear, "How should I know? I don't make the stuff!"

I was shocked, and said nothing, passing on the drink, but she persisted, loudly, "Do you want to read the box and see what's in it?" So I did read it, and it said clearly on the box that no sugar was added. Before I could say anything, she said, "Do you want it or not?"

I'm sure attendants tire of passengers ridiculous queries, request and demands, but food allergies are serious stuff. If I drink sugar, I only get sick, and throw up everywhere. I'll live--though those around me may wish I had not. But some people die from allergies, so it wasn't a ridiculous question.

Though this young lady didn't seem to care about the passengers, she was very keen to be with the pilots. A few minutes later, a pilot left the cockpit, and while he stood outside, she went into the cockpit with the other pilot, where she stayed 10 or 15 minutes. Maybe helping to fly the plane?

Flight Attendant Hall of Shame  In fairness, maybe she was having a rough day. I can't imagine the stress they must go through, dealing with unruly passengers day in and day out. But if there is to be a Passenger Hall of Shame (and there should be!), why not a Stewardess Hall of Shame to remind us all to be a little more patient and tolerant when we're crammed into those flying sardine cans (much like Xiamen buses used to be!).

And in summary--Alaska Airlines is still one of our favorite airlines! (ties with Korean Air).

Enjoy Amoy!

Dr. Bill

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