American Airlines is in the throes of an OJ scandal — but it’s not about OJ Simpson. No. It’s about everyone’s favorite breakfast delight: Orange juice.
On December 6th, a man in first class asked a flight attendant for a glass of orange juice and got a temper tantrum. David Koss, a fellow passenger, witnessed the debacle and wrote a lengthy and well-reasoned letter to The Consumerist, who published it alongside an old magazine ad with an AA stewardess curled in a chair next to the words: “Think of her as your mother.”
Your mother would probably tell you to get your own dang orange juice, right?
Well, the flight attendant, Helen (according to Koss), took it further than that. She allegedly began with “This must be your first time in first class” (totally inappropriate), and he responded that he was actually a ten year Executive Platinum flier. Then she blew up on him — and actually woke David Koss, who tells the first part of the story second-hand — and stormed up to the front of the plane. Soon after, she got testy with the passengers talking about the explosion. “We were actually nervous to be in the presence of such an unstable individual,” comments Koss.
Then, taking it still further, Helen came back to the OJ man …
“with a written warning she said was from the captain. It stated that he may be in violation of Federal Law for ‘Threatening, intimidating, or interfering with a crewmember (section 91.11).’ She said, ‘I didn’t want to have to do this in front of every one, but here you go.’ According to the document, he could be put in prison for asking for his orange juice.”
After descending, Koss and his fellow passengers were met at the gate by an airline representative who informed them that “the Feds would probably have to investigate due to this warning being issued;” apparently those slips are a “big deal.”
Normally we’d say that this was obviously the result of a single individual coming undone (Koss notes that she was clearly “already having a very bad day”) and not really a reflection on the airline (every office has a screw loose now and again), but Koss concludes his letter with:
“This woman’s behavior is completely unacceptable and is a perfect example of what I’ve been seeing in AA flight attendants for years now. They don’t want to be there, make up their own rules that don’t reflect the company, and have huge disdain for the people paying their salary … the customers.”
What do you think? Do you find the flight attendants on American Airlines different from other airlines? Do you feel disdained? Discuss.
UPDATE: Learn what Heather Poole, Gadling’s resident flight attendant, thinks about this!
UPDATE 2: The man who ordered the OJ responds.