An American Airlines flight attendant was caught on camera losing it during Business Class Meal Service when he got into an argument with a passenger over meal choices.
After the passenger inquires about the flight attendants name he is being to told to ‘Shut up and not talk to him again’ and threatened with a police report which was recorded on camera by the passenger.
The incident took place on a flight from Punta Cana to Miami last week and ensued when the flight ran out of pasta for their Business Class customers. The passengers was confused why the crew would ask passengers in the rows before and after him and ended up being the last passenger with no alternative left.
ABC News (access here) has the news story as well as the video.
A midflight dustup over pasta boiled over earlier this month when a flight attendant told a passenger to shut up — an incident that was caught on camera.
The spaghetti spat erupted on an American Airlines flight from Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, to Miami on June 5, when the crew ran out of pasta for business class customers, according to passenger Ra Nath.
Nath tells ABC News he asked a flight attendant why his row, the second row of the section, was served last. According to the passenger, the flight attendant then became aggressive.
“I just wanted to know why my row got asked last. I mean, I was in the second rows of business class, and the rows behind me and in front of me were asked,” the passenger wrote in a blog post. “That is no order that makes sense in my mind.”
Actually that depends. Some airlines nowadays ask the meal choices based on priority such as Frequent Flyer Status or full fares which they read off their passenger list. It’s not unusual to have the crew zig zagging around in the cabin to take meal choices in seemingly confusing orders.
It’s hard to say if that was the case here because it’s unclear what status the passenger had, if the flight was full or if his ticket was a full fare or upgrade/mileage ticket. Nevertheless the passenger was asked eventually and by that time his preferred meal choice (Pasta) was out.
Nath tells ABC News that the flight attendant attempted to explain to him that the meals depend on the direction of the plane and to “do your research.”
At one point, Nath began to record with his camera, asking the flight attendant for his name.
“Shut up and don’t talk to me again, OK?” the flight attendant said, according to the video. “If you talk to me again, I tell the cops, and you get arrested in Miami.”
American Airlines uses a system known as ‘FEBO’ which stands for ‘Front Even, Back Odd’ and means that on even flight numbers they start to ask the front row first while odd flight numbers begin in the back. This however didn’t seem to be the issue here as the customer was seated in the middle which makes it irrelevant plus apparently the flight attendant took meal orders in front AND behind him.
As stated in the article and can be seen in the video the crew member then became semi-aggressive after being asked his name for complaint purposes and told the passenger to shut up, not talk to him again and to do his research. He even threatened him with arrest upon arrival in Miami. Clearly the worst choice of words to deescalate a situation.
Nath was not detained and says another flight attendant spoke with him.
“There was a female flight attendant who was also taking care of business class, and she was so friendly and understanding. She apologized on his behavior, and we talked about the whole experience. She was exactly the type of flight attendant that is ideal for a situation like that,” Nath says.
Clearly another case of a flight attendant on a power trip who should be let go immediately. I think there should be legislation that has consequences for airline staff who threatens customers with law enforcement based on trumped up, bogus incidents. Especially since the authorities usually side with the crew in such incidents and it’s hard to prove the facts afterwards. Thankfully the passenger was smart enough to record the incident, something I always do when I feel a situation could get out of hand.
American Airlines said they would review the incident internally. Let’s hope it has consequences for the crew member.
The meal order situation was unfortunate. It’s well known that airlines don’t stock both meal choices for all passengers and since there are some elements missing it’s hard to say why it happened that way. Maybe there was a logical reason for it, maybe not.
In any way the crew shouldn’t act aggressively when asked by the passenger why they take orders in such erratic ways and skip passengers seated in the mid section of the premium cabin. The second flight attendant apparently handled the situation much better. It wasn’t mentioned if she explained to the passengers why meals were served in that particular order.