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Safety placard shoved in my face

Posted Tue November 15, 2016 9:57 am, by Andrea L. written to Southwest Airlines

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I flew on a late night flight from BWI to MHT last night (Monday, 11/14/2016, Flight 455 at 9:55 PM). I was very tired and I had my headphones on. I sat down in the row of seats behind the row next to the emergency exits. I was fatigued and didn't realize that the row I was sitting in was also an exit row. As I sat there, a flight attendant (who later told me her name is Kelly) walked up to the row in front of me and started speaking. Not realizing she was speaking to our row as well, I turned my attention back to my phone. This must have angered her, because she shoved a information placard right into my face. I couldn't hear what she was saying, but she looked very angry. When I pulled my headphones off my ears, I realized that she was demanding that I read the placard and provide her with a verbal "yes" to confirm that I was willing to perform the duties required of passengers who sit in the exit rows. I hesitated a moment and then answered her. She continued to glare at me and I told her "everything is going to be alright." This comment incensed her and she responded by threatening to relocate me to another seat. Not wanting to escalate things, I simply remained silent.

I have never been treated so badly by a flight attendant in all my decades of flying, both internationally and domestically. To have someone shove a piece of paper in my face and demand that I read it is simply unacceptable behavior. All she had to do was tap my shoulder to get my attention and indicate that she was indeed talking to me as opposed to someone else, but instead she automatically assumed that I chose to ignore her and was being rude, and she retaliated based on her misguided belief. But even if she had assessed the situation correctly (which she did not) there are many other ways she could have handled the matter with civility and grace.

It doesn't bother me so much that your company is represented by rude people. I expect that from the service industry in general, especially airlines. What bothers me is that your company is represented by rude people like her, and yet your company markets itself as a customer service-driven company. Your customer service is not on par with companies like Chick-Fil-A and Trader Joe's, so don't misguide people into thinking that it is. It only raises our expectations and disappoints us more when you fail to meet them.

Ironically on the same flight. I read in the in-flight magazine stories of exceptional service, describing truly kind and caring employees. I have never witnessed this myself - employees going above and beyond their primary duties. On the contrary, the service I experienced last night was exceptionally poor and lacking in compassion, restraint, and emotional and self awareness.

I would appreciate an apology from the airline, and more preferably, an apology directly from Kelly herself. If SWA actually stands by its word to uphold its reputation, than I would also expect to receive a voucher to encourage me to continue doing business with SWA. However, I don't expect this to happen.


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by Bill R. Posted Tue November 15, 2016 @ 2:12 PM

I've not flown in two years but I assume flight attendants still ask
each person in the Emergency Exit Row if they are capable and willing
to help out in an emergency, at some point, prior to takeoff. That
being said this message, whether that was what was happening in this
case or not, needs to be heard and there needs to be an audible reply.
All other instructions that need to be paid attention to are voiced by
the attendant in the aisle and illustrated on the Safety Card for the
safety and well being of all parties.


Yes, they have to be entirely sure that the people in those rows understand and agree by PepperElf Wed November 16, 2016 @ 10:06 PM

Agreed by In Other Words Thu November 17, 2016 @ 2:41 PM

The flight attendant also has to be sure that the passenger is going to take the safety duties seriously by PepperElf Thu November 17, 2016 @ 5:50 PM

Sure by In Other Words Thu November 17, 2016 @ 6:02 PM

You're going to be alright by PepperElf Fri November 18, 2016 @ 5:48 AM

So are you by In Other Words Fri November 18, 2016 @ 11:28 AM

Glossing over what? by PepperElf Fri November 18, 2016 @ 4:55 PM

Glossing over the rude and harsh treatment the passenger received by In Other Words Fri November 18, 2016 @ 6:22 PM

Are we reading the same letter? by PepperElf Fri November 18, 2016 @ 6:38 PM

Yeah I don't think we're reading the same letter by In Other Words Fri November 18, 2016 @ 11:34 PM

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