How not to get kicked off a plane

Last month the New York Post ran a story about a passenger who was kicked off a flight for“no good reason.”

The “no good reason” turned out to be … well, they didn’t know. Which I suppose is how they came up with “no good reason.” In a passenger-recorded video, we don’t see what led up to the confrontation, but it probably wasn’t a “good” reason … right?

The New York Times and Yahoo Travel followed up with stories sharing tips on how not to get thrown off an airplane, as if that might to happen to you, the average traveler.

Want a tip for not getting kicked off a flight? There’s only one: Act like a decent human being.

Need another one? Mind your manners. Pretend you’re in a house of worship rather than a pub during a football game. Too difficult? Okay, what about just pretending you’re traveling with your mother?

Or better yet: Don’t even think about it because it’s not going to happen to you, the average traveler. If it does, you’re not the average traveler: Congratulations on being one of the very few passengers who get kicked off planes.

In the New York Times, a spokesman for the Los Angeles police department said: “Regardless of the cause, being ejected before take-off at LAX is not rare.” When I read that my eyes just about popped out of my head. Regardless of the cause?!? What kind of message is that for the news to give to readers?

I’ll tell you what kind of message it is: It’s the kind that gets the average traveler worried about being thrown off a plane — to generate more readers.

Forgive me for being sensitive but these kind of stories make crazy. They affect my job, and they affect how passengers feel about air travel before they even walk on a plane.

With stories like these in the news, it’s not hard to see how some people might come to the conclusion that airlines get a thrill out of kicking passengers off their planes.

You might even think flight attendants are on some sort of power trip. I hate when people accuse flight attendants of that. Seriously, let’s think about this for a moment.

Flight attendants have the power to … what? Ask you to fasten your seat belt or stow your bag? To hand you a drink? What kind of power is that?

When I think of a job with power, I think of the police. Now find me a policeman who feels power over about 150 strangers with no more than a drink cart.

If you think flight attendants are on a power trip, you must have a very comfortable life. You should be grateful I’m the one causing you so much angst — me! The one handing you a Diet Coke, the very same one whose entire job is to keep you safe from Point A to Point B.

In between, I’ll do whatever I can with the tools I’m provided to make your flight comfortable.

As a flight attendant, I don’t even get to make the choice to throw someone off the plane on my own. The captain on the flight has the final call: It’s his plane, and he decides who goes and who stays.

And from my experience working for a major carrier for 20 years, it’s a huge deal to remove a passenger from a flight.



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