Consumerist.com article here
Asking For Orange Juice On American Airlines May Violate Federal Law
By Ben Popken on December 10, 2009 2:00 PM 50594 views
Something went very wrong on American Airlines flight 614 from Sacramento to Dallas this Sunday, December 6th. An American Airlines stewardess having an extremely bad day flipped the frak out on a first class passenger for asking for a glass of OJ and gave him a written warning from the captain for, "threatening, intimidating, or interfering with a crewmember." Here's an eyewitness account:
David Koss wrote us, "About 45 minutes into the flight I was awakened by a flight attendant named Helen, screaming at the man sitting in front of my wife. It was so loud, I could hear it over my headphones and the music playing. She was going off about how she didn't care if he was Platinum or Executive Platinum. I found this to be very odd. When she was done screaming, she came over to where my wife was sitting to ask what she wanted to eat. Then she said, "Sorry about that, he was just bitching." First of all, such language shouldn't be used by a flight attendant. Second of all, what business is it of hers to discuss the situation with other passengers?
Since I take the word of the other 5 friends I work with (including my wife) as truth, I will describe the events that led to the outburst. Helen was already having a very bad day. She acted upset to be working this job, which in this economy she should be grateful for, and was irritated at everyone. All my friends could tell that she was pissed. She was pissed that she was there, that people were blocking aisles while she was serving meals, and that they were getting up to use the restroom. She violently slid my friend's breakfast onto his tray, nearly spilling everything and then headed to the man in front of my wife. He had trouble getting his tray out, and she stood there rolling her eyes at him. When he finally got it out, she dropped the breakfast hard onto the tray. He asked if he could have some orange juice. This is when it hit the fan. "This must be your first time in first class," she said. He asked what she meant by that. He told her he was actually on the flight that made him Executive Platinum for the 10th year in a row. She said, "You obviously don't know how this works." He told her in a calm voice that she was being very condescending. That's when she blew up on him and woke me up. He started looking the other way and asked her to stop yelling at him. The entire first class section was
watching her go nuts.
She went to the front of the plane and disappeared for a while after making the previously mentioned comment to my wife. The man was shocked. He started looking around and asked the rest of us if we just saw what happened. We started talking to him about it, and didn't know why she was acting this way. At one point Helen went into the cockpit to talk to the captain. We all took turns talking to each other, and everyone saw the same thing. Our friend Barth was sitting on the opposite side of the isle, diagonally to the man who asked for orange juice. About an hour after the incident they began having a lengthy discussion. We all thought there may be police waiting at the gate when we arrived and wanted to let him know we had his back. The flight attendant came out from hiding, walked straight up to Barth, kneeled down and said, "Do you have something you need to say to me?" Barth said, "The two of us are having a private conversation." She got up and walked back to the front. We knew something was terribly wrong with this woman. Now she was confronting other passengers now as well. He stated that it would be best not to continue this conversation until we were on the ground. The other two flight attendants were as nice as could be. Nicer than usual actually. We were all too wound up to go back to sleep. My wife and I had about three hours of sleep the night before and had a long day ahead, but sleep was out of the question. We were actually nervous to be in the presence of such an unstable individual.
Helen came up to the OJ man, and asked him to come to the front with him. He started to get up, but I yelled at him, along with my other friends not to go up there. If he had a private conversation with her, there would be no witnesses, and she could tell authorities that he said anything she wanted. He stayed put in his seat. She came back to his seat with a written warning she said was from the captain. It stated that he may be in violation of Federal Law for "Threatening, intimidating, or interfering with a crewmember (section 91.11)." She said, "I didn't want to have to do this in front of every one, but here you go." According to the document, he could be put in prison for asking for his orange juice.
The tension in the cabin was mounting. We knew at this point someone would be waiting for us when we arrived. We were ready to give a statement. She called the older man that was in front of OJ man into the front of the plane for a private statement. That man would not have heard a word she said from behind his seat. It was way too noisy. He looked to be in his 70's as well. She came back and asked if anyone else wanted to be a witness. We all said no. We didn't want to say a word to her. She told us that she had witnesses as well. At the end of the flight, she asked us if we wanted anything else. There was no way I was going to eat anything that this woman was serving.
Helen had made our flight miserable. Upon arriving, we were greeted by a representative of the airline. She had been called ahead by the captain to meet us on the jet bridge. She had no idea so many people would be there to report what happened. We went to the gate and all gave a statement about what happened. She had someone else that had more relevance to the situation come down and talk to the man. This man stated that the Feds would probably have to investigate due to this warning being issued. The slips aren't to be given out unless it's a very big deal. We all wished him well and exchanged information. He had another flight to catch, and we were all glad to be on the ground safe.
Our group has about 130 people that fly 30 weeks a year. At an average of $300 per flight, that's over 1 million dollars a year spent. And I've been on the road with these people for nearly 10 years. So this is what we get for over $10 million in sales. If Helen doesn't like people, she should find a job like flipping burgers. That way, she won't have to talk to the customers. This woman's behavior is completely unacceptable and is a perfect example of what I've been seeing in AA flight attendants for years now. They don't want to be there, make up their own rules that don't reflect the company, and have huge disdain for the people paying their salary... the customers.
The real terrorists can be found flying first class, drinking orange juice.
Reached for comment, American Airlines said they will look into the matter.
Further links: American Airlines Says Asking for Orange Juice may Violate Federal Law [KOSSOME]
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