Survey Suggests American Airlines Has Rudest Employees Among Domestic Carriers

flight attendantAccording to a recent Airfarewatchdog study, a preponderance of surveyed travelers think that of domestic air carriers, American Airlines has the “rudest employees.” United was a close runner-up, followed by Delta.

Ranking last (which in this case, means winner) is a four-way tie, between Alaska, JetBlue, Frontier and Virgin America. Hmm. Seems budget airlines know how to bring it.

Here’s the full list polled in alphabetical order:

AirTran 4%
Alaska 2%
Allegiant 3%
American 25%
Delta 18%
Frontier 2%
JetBlue 2%
Spirit 10%
Southwest 6%
United 21%
US Airways 12%
Virgin America 2%

Our friends at Airfarewatchdog run these unofficial consumer surveys every now and then and this is a great snapshot of the general consumer psyche. Bear in mind though, this data is unsubstantiated and unverified, so take it with a grain of salt. In our experience, most of the airline employees regardless of the airline are pretty darn chipper.

[Photo credit: Flickr user Fabird Blue]

Gun carrying jetBlue pilot in hot water after embarrassing backpack incident

jetblue gun backpackIn what can only be described as a monumental screwup, a pilot for jetBlue managed to lose sight of his federally issued gun, and spent the next 40 minutes trying to locate it.

The pilot in question, Michael Connery Jr. was boarding his plane when he set his backpack down to chat with a fellow crew member. In the boarding process, a passenger on a different flight picked up her own bags, and accidentally grabbed Connery’s backpack as well.

Packed inside that backpack was a 40 caliber handgun – issued as part of the Federal Flight Deck Officer program, operated by the TSA.

Once the passenger realized the bag was not hers, she set it down on an empty seat on her plane. Another passenger pointed the unaccompanied backpack out to a crew member, who alerted the authorities. Meanwhile, Connery had already delayed his own flight while he tried to locate the backpack – taking 40 minutes to contact the airline to the incident.

Once he got his bag back, TSA officials confiscated his gun while they conducted their investigation.

While the armed flight officer program may be a good idea on paper, simple mistakes like this show how easy it is to completely defeat all security measures at the airport. Had the plane with the backpack departed on time, a gun could have been on its way to Florida in the hands of a random stranger.

Galley Gossip: Flight attendant fights with a passenger, escapes down the emergency slide and then drives home

When dealing with unruly passengers, flight attendants are taught a few different techniques to diffuse a situation, one of which is to separate yourself from the passenger and let another coworker step in and try to handle it. A new face is new energy. This alone can calm passengers down. While most flight attendants will simply escape to the galley, one flight attendant actually opened an emergency door, popped the slide, grabbed two beers, and slid down the chute. Once on the tarmac he ran into the terminal and eventually made his way to his car. He drove home to his residence in Queens where I imagine he left his crew bags beside the front door, loosened his tie, and popped open one of the beers and chugged it down. (Burp!) All this after a JetBlue passenger refused to apologize after accidentally striking him with luggage.

I have to admit that if a passenger had hit me with luggage I would have liked an apology, too. Though I don’t think I would have demanded one. That said, if that same passenger had told me to F-Off! I, too, might have been tempted to pick up the PA and direct the same obscenity to the dude with the potty mouth over the intercom system for all to hear. But never in my wildest dreams would I have ever thought to pop a slide and make a run for it. Probably because I’d have no idea which way to go! Flight attendants don’t spend a lot of time walking around on the tarmac.

According to The Wall Street Journal, “Authorities picked the flight attendant up at his home Monday afternoon and brought him to the Port Authority Police station at JFK airport for questioning. The official said that Slater (the flight attendant) was calm when arrested and remained calm throughout his interrogation and the booking process. He was charged with reckless endangerment and criminal mischief. He was awaiting arraignment Monday night.”

This is the kind of thing a flight attendant can only do once in their career. That’s because they would no longer have a job to go back to. Certainly this JetBlue flight attendant knew that before making his dramatic escape. Which got me thinking, is there a better way to go?

When I mentioned this to Shannon, an ex flight attendant friend, she said she wishes she had thought of it first. “Seriously, why didn’t I do that on my last flight! Blow the slide, throw out my bags, a few bottles of wine from first class, leave my badge behind and walk across the tarmac waving goodbye on my way to the parking shuttle. Oh well.”

After a long pause, Shannon added, “It would be extra classy and fun to pop open some champagne and drink it straight from the bottle as you wave to the plane.”

That’s a flight attendant fantasy if I ever heard one. My friend Jane agreed. She’s not a flight attendant but she now wishes her job had an emergency chute at work.

As much as we’d all might like to go out in a blaze of glory, the reality is this flight attendant cost the airline a lot of money. Not just because it costs $25,000 to repack a slide, but because now the airplane has to be taken out of service and who knows how many flights will now have to be canceled. After drinking those two beers, I wonder if the flight attendant will realize he will now go down in aviation history as the guy who abandoned ship because he got hit in the head with a handbag? Now it’s buh-bye job, buh-bye 401K, hello criminal record. Where the heck does one go from there?

Photo courtesy of WexDub

JetBlue pilot removed from Boston plane after gun threat incident

A JetBlue co-pilot has been removed from his Boston crew lounge when he sent an email to his ex-girlfriend mentioning his plans to harm himself.

The pilot is a member of the TSA Federal Flight Deck Officer program, which allows pilots to carry guns on their plane – the program was developed after the attacks on 9/11. Upon being confronted by authorities, the pilot handed over the gun and was taken to a local hospital for mental evaluation.

Local authorities were quick to point out that the man never threatened passengers and was only considered a threat to himself.

Become a Facebook fan of JetBlue and win free travel

Remember those amazing All-You-Can-Jet passes offered by JetBlue last year? Well here’s your chance to win one.

All you have to do to enter is become a fan of JetBlue on Facebook. That will get you one entry into their grand prize drawing. If you want to increase your odds of winning, you can also do one bonus entry every day and sign up for the team prize drawing. One pair of round-trip tickets will be awarded each week along with one team prize – a 5 day, 4 night vacation package for 4 people – and the grand prize, the mother of all All-You-Can-Jet passes, which will be good for an entire year of unlimited travel on JetBlue.

The contest ends January 31 and you must be 18 years of age or older and a resident of the US to enter.