Galley Gossip: A flight attendant responds to the first class orange juice debacle

If you haven’t already heard, there was some sort of debacle involving a flight attendant and a glass of orange juice on an American Airlines flight recently. I read about the story first on the Consumerist web site. Wait, take that back, I tried to read the article but couldn’t quite make it through due to the fact that the story was just way too over the top with emotion and drama. It was! But they usually are whenever there’s a flight attendant or an airline involved. Haven’t you noticed?

Then when I heard our very own Annie Scott had covered the same story here, I dreaded pulling it up. I really didn’t want to read it. Only because airline bashing seems to be a new sport and…well…I knew it couldn’t be good. But I took a deep breath and began reading Annie’s post anyway. Two seconds later I found myself laughing because Annie’s right, your mother would tell you to go get your own dang orange juice! And I’m glad she brought up that old magazine ad featured along with the Consumerist post. That was the first thing that turned me off about the article. I mean what the heck were they thinking using a milf-y photograph of a stewardess curled up in a chair? Really, I need to know.

Anyway, here’s my response to David and what he had to say about what went down on that crazy American Airlines flight from Sacramento to Dallas…

Dear David,

Slow your roll. By my arithmetic, you and your group of 130 people fly 27,300 trips collectively. Each of you having a unique traveling experience based upon where you’re sitting and who your flight attendant is. I would love to have one bad experience for every 27,300 legs I’ve flown. I would say you and your group have had a good run. And now I must welcome you with open arms to the human race. I can’t imagine that you have gone through an entire career without once having a bad day.

Whoever Helen was, it’s obvious she needs a day off. Maybe even a medical type intervention. She’s obviously off her game. Instead of complaining, whispering, and giving her the feeling that a mutiny is about to take place, being the frequent flier that you are, you should have known that this was not normal behavior – from not just a flight attendant, but from anyone in the service industry. You and your group would have done Helen a favor by reporting her irrational behavior to someone in a position of authority at American Airlines instead of continuing on with your flight.

I, too, have noticed a decline in customer service on most every airline, not just American. I also know that flight attendants have longer duty days and shorter rest periods so that airlines can maximize their profits and provide you and your group with cheap three hundred-dollar tickets. This while our compensation remains the same and we’re all just lucky to have a job. Flight attendants work ten hour days without a break, not even a meal, yet any type of complaining to the airline by an employee may guarantee a front row seat at the front of the unemployment line. That’s the way it is these days.

If I were the passenger who had asked for orange juice and the flight attendant gave me what boils down to a federal warning with criminal and civil penalties, I would have insisted that police or gate personnel meet the flight. I would have also asked that my cabin mates confirm her irrational and abusive behavior. While I agree it was absurd that the flight attendant issued a written warning in this situation, don’t kid yourself, David, those terrorists, the ones you mentioned, very well could be sitting right next to you in first class drinking orange juice.


A Flight Attendant

Photos courtesy of Justin Timperio and Paalia