Kudos- FA defuses disturbance before police intervene

Discussion in 'American Airlines | AAdvantage' started by flymeAAway, Dec 29, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. flymeAAway

    flymeAAway Active Member

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    I was on AA #693 DFW-SAT Saturday on a segment run when we had a seating mishap occur during boarding. Two people having the same seat on row 8. The FA attempted to resolve the matter and then the GA came aboard and asked the seated passenger for his boarding pass and he refused to provide the documentation. When the GA asked him to then leave the plane he also refused. A police officer later comes aboard the plane and asks the man to stand up and he once again refuses. As the officer calls for more assistance, passengers start to abandon their seats around the passenger fearing an inevitable confrontation. Meanwhile, the pilots evacuated and lock the cockpit door as the police gather on the passageway. The situation is getting very tense.

    Then the #2 FA approaches the passenger once again and knells beside him in the aisle trying to establish a relationship with the man. With great patience and compassion she established a report with the gentlemen and minutes later he produced his boarding pass and the flight continued without further incident. I’d like to give special kudos for the flight attendant, which I did over GoGo, for giving the man an extra chance and intervening when she did. She could have easily walked away from that stressful situation and let the authority’s handle it. Instead she went the extra mile.

    It turns out the traveler was an adult special needs passenger. After the flight landed the pilot walked him off the plane and called his guardian who was there to pick him up. They meet in the security doorway exit as the TSA held the exit door open for them to discuss what happened. As they were talking, the flight attendant who helped was leaving the airport and the pilot introduced her to the man’s family. They were in tears grateful that the FA had intervened on their son’s behalf and a potential crisis was avoided.

    Sorry I did post this on another board that I've have been at for 5 years. It was to good not to share here at my new home. I was just approved here yesterday so this is my first post.
     
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  2. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

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    Welcome to MP. GREAT first post!

    Sent from my iPhone using milepoint
     
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  3. KennyTheBull

    KennyTheBull Active Member

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    Awesome post! Great job giving kudos where they were deserved! I noticed that the airline iphone apps have a place in there to give kudos as well!
     
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  4. Sweet Willie
    Original Member

    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    I'd be very curious to know if the family made any attempt to notify the airline (PRE-FLIGHT) that their son is challenged. Shame on the family if they did not as they helped create the situation. I'd also make the observation that if their son is that challenged that he didn't/couldn't understand the need for showing his boarding pass (a pretty simple request), he should have had a family member or chaperone flying with him.
     
  5. flymeAAway

    flymeAAway Active Member

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    Thanks Mike- you actually pointed me here last week at DFW. You were in 6B and I in 6E. I see what you mean this place has a great feel.
     
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  6. flyforawg

    flyforawg Silver Member

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    This is the perfect example of the need for cooler heads and calm diplomacy on our ever more crowded flights. If the first police responder had taken the time to do what the FA did, the situation would not have needed to escalate. If the GA had taken a different approach to the initial rejection of a reasonable request instead of going for the nuclear option of insisting on deplaning of the pax, the police officer would not have been needed. It is right to expect pax to follow rules, but kindness and courtesy should also be expected when asking them to comply and might have prevented unnecessary escalation. Great job AA FA!
     
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  7. Sweet Willie
    Original Member

    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    So airline employees have to now wait around or attempt diplomacy when a pax rejects them making a reasonable request? B.S. Request was VERY reasonable/routine, comply. (even if request was not done with kid glove manners).
     
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  8. flyforawg

    flyforawg Silver Member

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    I only respectfully disagree with the part of your statement that implies an attempt at diplomacy isn't necessary. I think in a customer service business, it is always necessary. Good manners don't cost the GA anything and clearly the pax was reachable even after escalation due to great customer service by the FA, so my gut tells me the GA botched the request which was reasonable, but probably delivered poorly and led to a tense scene for everyone.

    I very much agree that the request is "VERY reasonable."

    Let's analyze how much time was wasted by not handling the situation with kids gloves versus how much would have been wasted if they had. In a perfect world, we would all just do what we're supposed to do, but that is not the case and how we deal with it as individuals on both ends of the customer service equation can cause drastically different results.

    If I manage this GA, he (defaulting for indeterminate gender) gets a talking to and a development plan. Managing the FA, he gets kudos and a great addition to his performance review.
     
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  9. Sweet Willie
    Original Member

    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    makes you a good mgr. In my experience, most are not that good at managing even though they think they are.:)

    I agree with everything you've said, quite strongly actually, not only a consumer but also being in sales & therefore customer facing. However you've put all blame on the airline staff & zero blame on the pax themselves (or the family that should have made it clear to the airline their son is challenged so that he could be flagged somehow). The lack of any blame on the pax or family, I can't agree with. (respectfully).
     
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  10. flyforawg

    flyforawg Silver Member

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    I don't think we're all that far apart. I think the family should have taken some steps or provided some guidance, but I don't have enough information from the post to know if they did that or not so I did notw want to assume. Not that we have to agree on everything. The world is more interesting even if I don't always get my way!
     
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  11. foxberg

    foxberg Gold Member

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    I was actually about to post the same. If the situation turned out for the worse there would be no one else to blame but the poor man's family.
     
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  12. flymeAAway

    flymeAAway Active Member

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    UPDATE: Actually the family did have his special needs documented in the passengers PNR. When we arrived in SAT I heard the pilot ask the station manager if there were any notifications in the passengers record. He confirmed their was. Apparently the GA trying to close the flight never saw the information for the passenger already holding his boarding pass. The flight crew had not received the manifest so they would not know of his condition.

    I have to tell you I had a teachable moment from this experience. Many years ago my wife was traveling alone with our crying infant daughter rolling down the tarmac when her seat mate, a special needs passenger, told her if she could not shut up that baby, that he would. The plane pulled into the penalty box and they moved the disruptive passenger. I was absolutely livid when I heard about this. Since then we have developed a good friendship with a family with a special needs teenager. Sitting there I just kept thinking this is someone else's loved one.

    My takeaway from this is to ask myself if I was facing similar situation... "am I going to be the gate agent or am I going to be the flight attendant?" Would I be willing to take the extra time to solve the issue from a different approach or will I just give up and let someone handle it.
     
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