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An all things aviation blog

What is it about getting on a plane that drives normally sane people crazy? Well I am assuming that people described in the story below are sane. Now I was not there and is the first hand account of S. Sullivan.

The GS [Global Services, United Airlines invite only elite level] DYKWIA [Do You Know Who I Am] nonsense on DCA-ORD is at full force today. Woman and husband both claim they are GS members and are yelling about there being an open seat in F [First Class] and they can’t fit their entire family of 5 in F. There’s not an open seat up front; it’s booked full and we still have 20+ minutes until push. There are also 16 on the upgrade list. Dad is sitting in back so the kids can be up front, using two companion upgrades and his upgrade (he took the non upgraded kid’s seat). To make it worse, Mom is trying to pull the GS nonsense to get people to move around so the kids, all in row 3, are in row 1 with her. The youngest kid is maybe 9. I think they can handle sitting together with Mom three rows away for 90 minutes. And, instead of getting one passenger to trade, Mom is trying to get 3 to trade. After all, why piss off one passenger when you can do it to 1/8 of the first class cabin?

On top of that, one of the kids is a total brat and has already been bossing around a FA [Flight Attendant] like she’s her personal servant. She rang her call button repeatedly to get a Sprite a few minutes ago after it was settled that nobody was agreeing to change seats with this obnoxious group of d-bag kids and their mother.

It Continues in a later post.

Remaining F passengers have boarded. Mom still wants FA to explain two things – why they weren’t given seats together when the upgrades cleared, and why a GS member doesn’t get to upgrade as many people as she wants. As if the FA knows these things.


They got even worse during the flight. Dad kept coming up to the first class cabin to chat and finally the flight attendants had to tell him to stay in Economy. Mom got up at least 10 times from 1A to check on the kids in row 3, which were minding their own business and staying pretty quiet. I’m sure the guy in 1B was not happy that he had to keep letting her out, as row 1 on the PMUA [Pre-Merger United Airlines] 752s [757-200] is very close to the bulkheads and Mom wasn’t a small woman. Little miss flight attendant call button finally stopped that once the flight attendant told her that she didn’t need to ring her button six times repeatedly to get something, and gave her a full, unopened can of Sprite after takeoff along with a glass that was already full. Of course, that meant she also had to make three trips to the lav, including one on final that caused the flight attendant to tell her to go sit down.

But the worst while we were the air? One of the kids had a broken headset at his seat (the one UA provides). It was missing the jack on the end of the cord. Instead of asking a FA for another headset, Mom walked up to my row, in front of the kids, looked at me, and demanded I give her my headset, which I wasn’t using. I politely declined and said, “I may want to watch TV in a few.” She groaned and looked at the guy next to me, who was asleep, and tried to wake him. At that point I said, “Ask a flight attendant. If you’re really a Global Services, then you possibly fly more than my cheap 1K [100,000 mile United Airlines elite level] self, and you should know the flight attendant is who you should ask for a new headset, rather than annoying everyone else on the plane.” She then stood there, rang my call button, and demanded the flight attendant get a new headset. The flight attendant was nice and got her one, and then asked her to sit down, stay seated, and not talk to any other passenger on the plane that wasn’t one of her kids or her husband. I think at that point everyone up front not part of this family was sick of it, and the flight attendants weren’t going to allow her to bully people around any longer.

I have my own story.

In 2007 I was in law school and flying ATL-MIA-ATL on AA for an arbitration competition at the University of Miami. Well I screwed up and I got my ticket canceled, but that’s not the point. I am waiting in screw up line at MIA. The line takes about 30 minutes to get through. I get to the front and all of the sudden a woman, wearing some sort of fur shawl, cuts to the front and slams her passport down in-front of me demanding help from the agent. I was like “back of the line.” She shoves me, (yeah shoves me) and says to me “You wanna fight.” Well, it was about to go down when agent realizing I wasn’t going to back down, decides to help the woman. It was this moment I decided I would never fly AA, EVER. (Since 2007 I have flown AA once LAS-LAX on the $300.00 off a vegas trip deal)

Neither my situation nor Mr. Sullivan’s story is unique. Passengers behave badly all the time. Why, yelling at the poor agent, FA, or staff will not help their cause, well it did in my case. I think there is something about the lack of control that commercial aviation imposes on the passengers that makes this happen. From the time passengers book their ticket to the time they get off the flight they have no control over anything. I think this bad behavior is the passenger trying to exercise some control over their environment. Why does that desire express itself in such a negative way? Were these people just not taught to handle frustration well. I am not sure about that though.

I just don’t know. Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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