An Open Letter to US Airways

Dear Flight Attendant on flight 2026 from Phoenix to Philadelphia last Friday, February 27th, at 11:50 PM:

If you have to open a sentence with, “I’m not a bitch, but…” guess what? You’re a bitch. Also, you’re a flight attendant and you’re working and you probably shouldn’t be using that kind of language. This isn’t Virgin Airlines (That’s something I assume happens over there: they’re all tattooed and gorgeous and foul-mouthed and everyone loves it. I’m probably wrong. But a girl can dream).

Yes, I definitely think my preconceived notions are spot-on.

Context goes a long way, lady. You don’t know my story; I don’t know yours. I do know, however, that we are both human beings and should probably not be unnecessarily awful to each other. Or awful at all, period.

Let’s examine what happened, shall we? The flight was supposed to depart at 11:50 PM. It was delayed an hour. I had spent the past few weeks, and that Friday, trying to help someone I believe desperately needs help. I was taking the red eye because I was missing a weekend of my yoga training to help this person. I was fucking exhausted because, you know, doing that whole courtroom thing is terrifying in any circumstances, and then multiply that times a million when you have an anxiety disorder.

(Let me clarify: it was stressful to the point that, immediately afterwards, I had to eat a cookie dough blizzard with extra cookie dough. Basically I was eating a giant ball of cookie dough in a light coating of soft-serve)

Just looking at one gives me the shits. But they’re totally worth it.

So when the plane was delayed an hour and the lady at the gate kept saying that it was a full flight and we needed to put our bags in the overhead compartment as soon as we found space because there probably wouldn’t be any space, I jumped on it. My bag holds my yoga mat. It is not a big bag.

I got on the plane, bleary-eyed and full of chocolate, and noticed that all the First Class passengers were seated and that, hey, look, there was overhead bin space above one of them. I asked the men in that row very kindly if I could place my bag up there. They said, “Yes, of course. Go ahead.” So I did, and then I ambled back to 21E to spend four hours trying to sleep in a center seat. So I didn’t sleep, is what I’m saying.

When we deplaned, I got to the First Class Cabin and couldn’t find my bag. I stepped into the row and asked, “Where’s my bag?”

And you, you outstanding professional, said, “What if I told you I checked it to Portland, Oregon?”

Cue panic attack. “Excuse me?”
“What if I told you I had it checked to Portland? I’m not a bitch, but…” and then she proceeded to YELL AT ME IN FRONT OF THE PLANE about how I broke all the rules and she wasn’t a bitch, she was just tired, and that I clearly knew better and that she had to GATE VALET* (the horror!) not one, but THREE bags because of my indecency. She handed me my bag, I walked past her, and I burst into tears.

Pictured: said flight attendant. “Please insert the metal buckle into the clasp. Tighten by pulling on the strap. I’m going to kill all of you now.”

*Gate valet means that technically the bags were checked but some dude brings them right up next to the plane so that when you get off the plane, HEY, your bag is there and you didn’t have to do any heavy lifting at all.

So, like, three bags? My bag doesn’t take up space of ONE. I jammed it between TWO other bags. You don’t know my story. I don’t know yours. But treat me like I’m a person instead of your personal punching bag.

 

Sincerely,

Whitney

PS–I’m not a bitch, but you stink.

24 Comments

Please tell me you sent this to US Airways too. I imagine they could find her easily. And they should want to, because that kind of behavior will make everyone nearby uncomfortable.

You are allowed to make comments of such sharpness to her, Whitney. You are the paying customer, and she is the employee. She is not allowed to curse, yell, dress your down in front of other passengers, make you feel small, or, worst of all, trigger your anxiety and may you cry. Please report this to airline management with as much identifying information as possible, so perhaps she can get her due from above. And I don’t mean the friendly skies.

“I don’t mean to be offensive, but…” – Translation – Prepare to be offended.

“That’s just (Person’s Name) being (Person’s Name)” – Translation – That person is an asshole.

“You know how (Person’s name is) is…” – Translation – That person is an asshole.

Wow!!! It is so unbelievable to me how rude airline attendants can be, and that they get away with it. I feel sometimes like they think they’re so powerful. Get a reality check.

Right? It’s ridiculous these days. Airlines in the US are starting to charge for everything, like the cheapo airlines in Europe. Oh, I buy a ticket. Then I have to buy a seat? Then you want me to pay for my baggage (even if it’s carry-on?)? Then I have to pay for food? I EVEN HAVE TO PAY FOR WATER?!?!

It is awful.

“What a bitch” seems like an obvious response, but it’s actually what I said after I finished reading this so let’s stick with that – WHAT A BITCH. Also, I just found your blog and I love it!

What a B*#ch! I really hate those snarky and “better than thou” flight attendants. They are more like commandants. I recently wrote a blog on “The bygone era of airline travel…and now!” Your experience resonates with me.

I hope you report this to US Airways.

God, I hate confrontations too. But I hate being a pushover more. I constantly beat myself up about it if I let someone speak rudely to me or treat me badly. It’s like, isn’t the horrible experience with another person bad enough that I have to be so hard on myself too? But what it has done is taught me to stand up for myself (if only to avoid the self-scold later! lol). It’s taken years but I’m getting there slowly but surely. 🙂

Next time, (not that I’m hoping this happens to you again!) just take a deep breath and stay in the situation for 10 seconds longer, (even if your throat is choking up and you want to run away, trust me, I know the feeling) I promise you you’ll be able to say at least part of what you’ll really want to say to that person 2 days later. Please, please do it. It’s liberating! And we owe that to ourselves. 🙂

Apologies for the self-help crap though 😀

hahah I had to read this blog twice. Not because I am slow or your writing was sub-par, but instead because I am still not seeing why this “lovely flight attendant” had such a problem. Was there no space in any other over the head compartment or under any of the seats to put these three supposedly large bags that “had to be checked”? Is she reprimanded or will her pay be deducted for having 3 bags gate valeted? This attendant definitely makes all those other hard working pleasant flight attendants look bad.
P.S. That picture of attendants from Virgin Airways looks straight out of a movie or men’s pleasure magazine.

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[…] Let’s add some more background information: I purchased my tickets about two weeks before, so I was stuck with the shitty flights back. My schedule looked like: 5:15 Minneapolis to Chicago. 7 Chicago to Cleveland, 9 Cleveland to JFK, Taxi from JFK to Jitney stop, Jitney to Southampton, Southampton to home. It was going to be a bitch of a day, with each flight around an hour but all that planing and deplaning and ugh, we know how I feel about planes lately. […]

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