Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Passenger of the Day: The Aisle is an Ocean

One of the questions a flight attendant hears often is, “We didn't get seated together, can you help us move people so we can sit together?” The short answer is, no, we can't. Mother Airline doesn't allow flight attendants to re-seat passengers. I'm not sure if it may be a union thing; we also aren't allowed to lift passenger bags into over head bins and are not covered by workers compensation if injured doing so. So the quick answer we normally give is that they are welcome to ask passengers to move and usually they are accommodating. (And as far as putting the bag in the overhead bin...if you can't lift it we can't lift it. I'd be glad to check it for free!)

Every time I'm asked to help couples sit together, I'm reminded of a time my parents came to visit. This was back when one could meet the arriving party at the gate. I noticed Mom filing out of the jet way before Dad. When I felt sorry for them not sitting together, Mom said, “I love not sitting next to him. He yammers on and on the whole flight and I don't get a moment's peace. It's nice that he can bother someone else for 3 hours!”

Lady Bossie boarded the 767 with dual aisles and immediately went into her hissy fit. “My husband and I were originally seated together, but now we have been re-seated and we're across the aisle from each other. Can you move the passenger in his seat so he can sit next to me?

Really? Across the aisle might be a good thing for your husband, who might like the break!

The inside voice said, “Um, nope. You can ask the man in the window seat just like all the other passengers with this issue. You're a big girl. You can do it!”

The man refused to move when asked; most likely because of the pushy manner in which she did so. The woman was fuming at the possibility of having to spend the next 6 hours on a flight with an aisle separating her from the poor man. And he seemed as if he couldn't care any less. He was quiet, calm, and more into his portable electronic device than the commotion she was causing during the entire boarding process. Bossie, came marching back up to the boarding door to protest.

Originally, they were seated together. But upon finding out that their seats were inoperative, they were moved to seats that worked, and placed in 5B and 5D (in first class, there is no C). It turned out that their seats had been repaired before boarding, but in the mean time, they were given to other passengers. She was referred to the purser, who referred her to the customer service agent. She was told, if the passenger refused to move, they couldn't do anything about it.

She next went to the captain, who looked as if he was ready to handle it his way: we can find you seats on another flight! She learned quickly that one should never bother the pilots when they are busy with their take-off check lists with something as minor as seat placement.

In the end, her loud protests were heard by other passengers, who in the interest of a peaceful flight and an on-time departure, moved, so that she could sit next to her precious husband. In their new seats at 3J and K, they proceeded to spend the next 6 hours of flight...glued to their TV screens watching 2 different movies with noise-reduction head sets on their ears. All that fuss to sit next to hubby just so she could ignore him the whole flight!

1 comment:

  1. My hubby and I always request aisle across from each other....oh wait...1st Class??? Fuck her.