Airline Madness: Rude airline staff vs. Legroom

Airline Madness is Gadling’s tournament of airline annoyances. You can catch up on all of the previous tournament action here.

gadling airline madness rude staff legroom

Our final second round Airline Madness match-up features two classic airline pet peeves. #6 seed Rude airline staff struck a chord with voters and advanced with a dominating performance. It appears that many of you are fed up with poor customer service and terse answers to reasonable questions. Meanwhile, we learned that tight spaces are not just a tall person problem. Even average-sized passengers complained that airplanes lack legroom, which explains why #3 seed Legroom stormed through the first round. But which of these prolific peeves will annoy its way into the Final Four? Your votes below will decide.#7 Rude airline staff
What happened to “the customer is always right”? While airline employees don’t need to acquiesce to every obnoxious customer request, they should treat passengers with respect and seek to be calming, helpful members of the travel experience. Sadly, though, too many gate agents, flight attendants and airport staff are short-tempered, ill mannered and jaded. When customers need help most, they often encounter attitudes that simply exacerbate the problem.

#2 Legroom
The average seat pitch in economy class is between 29 inches and 30 inches. That doesn’t allow for much legroom, no matter how much thinner they make the seat-backs. You don’t need to be freakishly tall to feel cramped once you fold yourself into your seat. Want more legroom? Well, now the airlines make you pay for exit row seats or “Premium Economy,” which is nothing more than an economy seat with the legroom that was offered to everyone a decade ago. These days, you might have more personal space in a dog crate in the luggage compartment.

One of these classic airline annoyances will be continuing its quest to be named Airline Madness champion. Let us know which one you think is worse.
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Second round voting ends at 11:59PM EDT on Friday, March 23.

More Airline Madness:
Second round match-ups:
#1 Annoying Passengers vs. #9 People who get mad at people who recline their seats
#12 Inattentive parents of crying babies vs. #13 Obese people who take up two seats
#6 Change fees/no free standby vs. #3 Lack of free food/prices for food
First round match-ups
#1 Annoying passengers vs. #16 Disgusting bathrooms
#2 Legroom vs. #15 Inefficient boarding procedures
#3 Lack of free food/prices for food vs. #14 Cold cabin/no blankets
#4 Baggage Fees vs. #13 Obese people who take up two seats
#5 Lack of overhead space vs. Inattentive parents of crying babies
#6 Change fees/no free standby vs. #11 Lack of personal entertainment/charging for entertainment
#7 Rude airline staff vs. #10 Having to turn off electronic devices during takeoff & landing
#8 People who recline their seats vs. #9 People who get mad at people who recline their seats
Hotel Madness: Gadling’s tournament of airline annoyances

Catch up on all the Airline Madness here.

Airline Madness: Gadling’s tournament of airline annoyances

gadling airline madness

It’s that time of year again! All around the country, people are filling out their brackets and arguing over match-ups. That’s right; it’s March Madness Airline Madness! Just like last year’s Hotel Madness, we’ve compiled a list of travel pet peeves. Only this time around the competition is for the title of Worst Airline Annoyance. Our selection committee vetted the pool of candidates and chose the 16 worst offenders. Now it’s time for you to vote. Over the next two days, all of the first round match-ups will be posted here on Gadling for you to weigh in. The winners will advance to the second round, then the Final Four and so on until we crown an Airline Madness champion.It’s going to be an exciting few weeks of debates, arguments and rants about cry babies, overhead space and baggage fees. We know you’ll have some opinions to share and we hope that you’ll speak up in the comments.

Below is a list of our first round match-ups that will be up for voting later today for the first four match-ups of the first round. The second half of the first round will be open for voting tomorrow, so keep checking back for all of the action! [Update: The first round has ended and voting is closed.]


#2 Legroom vs. #15 Inefficient boarding procedures



#3 Lack of free food/prices for food vs. #14 Cold cabin/no blankets


#4 Baggage fees vs. #13 Obese people who take up two seats


#5 Lack of overhead space vs. #12 Inattentive parents of crying babies


#6 Change fees/no free standby vs. #11 Lack of personal entertainment/charging for entertainment


#7 Rude airline staff vs. #10 Having to turn off electronic devices during takeoff & landing


#8 People who recline their seats vs. #9 People who get mad at people who recline their seats

Welcome to Airline Madness! It’s up to you to pick the champion (because everything’s amazing and nobody’s happy)!

Catch up on all the Airline Madness here.

Man threatens to explode bomb at SFO, gets one-way ticket to jail

If you have a problem with your plane ticket, do not, I repeat, DO NOT do what Oregonian Mark Field did this past Tuesday at San Francisco International Airport: He threatened Philippine Airlines‘ staff by waving his cellphone and saying, I’m going to press this and blow up the plane.”

Mention a bomb in an airport and you’re in BIG trouble as Field quickly discovered. It doesn’t matter how hopping-, spitting-, head-about-to-burst-mad you are. It also doesn’t matter that you don’t actually have a bomb.

Evidently, the problem started when Mr. Field tried to check in for an international flight and discovered he was being charged for a round-trip ticket even though he only wanted a one-way ticket. No matter how much he argued with staff, they weren’t budging, and the situation heated up until … Field finally snapped.

Once the word “bomb” spewed from his mouth, in rushed the bomb-sniffing dogs. After it was established that Field didn’t have a bomb after all — just a trigger mouth — he was arrested for making a false bomb threat. Now, Field sits in jail with a hefty $50,000 bail and a one-way ticket to a court date on October 19.

If convicted, Field could remain in jail for up to one year.

As Sargent Sergeant Wesley Matsuura of the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office explained, one-way tickets aren’t normally sold for international flights due to security issues. That’s why the airline staff wasn’t giving in to Mr. Field’s complaints. Too bad for him he didn’t understand this.

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