That’s Not Good Enough!
Like many airlines, those passengers that are seated in the premium cabin usually have an inflight entertainment system, even if those in coach do not. Now, what’s a flight attendant to do if said IFE unit decides not to work for two seats out of your whole cabin? Pray that theres 2 empty seats. But, let’s be honest — on a flight from Washington DC to California at the end of the week — those chances are slim. And that’s, just my luck.
Once we got in the air, 1 A and C’s IFE units went black. Pitch black. Not even a little message saying “Stand by…,” nothing. I tried to restart the devices, that didn’t work. I shut them down, and turned them back on. Still, black.
The whole time I did this both passengers bonded with each other, as they weren’t traveling together, and watched me try to resuscitate their entertainment. Finally, I had done all I could do and had to break the bad news like a Doctor giving back news to family members in a hospital waiting room.
I’m so sorry ladies, but I’ve done everything I can to try and fix your entertainment system. Unfortunately, I’ve exhausted all of the options available to me on board. I’ve already contacted the Captain and requested that he contact the customer care department to issue you a credit for the technical difficulty. Once again I apologize, but there’s nothing further I can do.
1A nodded. 1c, well, she’s another story.
And how much money will I receive for my pain and suffering.
I wanted to be like you’re what? Your pain and suffering?! What are you suffering from? But, of course, I didn’t do that.
Usually, its about $100 for premium cabin passengers.
Her face turned to something resembling a mad pit bull. With a stern tone in her voice she griped
Well, that’s not good enough. I want $200. And you’re going to make that happen!
For the next 10 minutes I explained to her how I had no control over how much money received. Our airline uses a “matrix” of sorts to ensure fair and equitable resolutions to common problems. Such as, everyone always getting $100 for their entertainment not working. She didn’t want to understand that I can’t request more money.
She pressed on. She kept going at me like I was raw meat. She tried and tried to get me to commit to giving her money, and I wouldn’t do it. Finally, I had to shut it down.
Ma’am, I’m sorry. I truly am. I understand that you were looking forward to watching movies for the next four hours, but I do have other duties and passengers in the cabin that I must attend to. You have to understand that at this point, your situation is out of my control. Customer care is aware that I tried all I could, and it’s still not working. If you’re not satisfied with the result, please feel free to call in upon arrival.
She then spit out the most ridiculous statement.
I want you……to walk over to your little phone over there…and call the Captain. I want to speak with him about your lack of remedying my situation and my unhappiness with the solutions you’ve come up with.
Oh, okay, right away. Are you kidding me? Sure, why not just go into the galley and call Captain yourself. His number is on speed-dial. It’s just one button. Are you serious? I’m not going to let you call the pilots. In fact, I wouldn’t bother them with this situation at all. Nothing was going to make her happy.
In that moment though, I paused. Five, maybe ten seconds. I didn’t know how to answer her.
Ummm.. excuse me. I don’t see you moving and picking up the phone like I told you to do.
Now I was pissed. You told me to do? Since when do I answer to you?
Okay. This conversation is now over. Once again: I’ve done all I can do, you’ll be getting $100 credit, the ground knows you have a problem as do the pilots, call customer care when you land if you’re still unhappy.
That shut her down, because I walked away right afterwards. There wasn’t anything else I could do. I had already done everything I could with the tools the airline gave me.
Upon landing, the passenger in 1A had already received an email from Customer Care with her $100 credit. She thanked me for arranging it credit, and though wasn’t happy with the amount, understood that she had to contact Customer Care about the situation.
I didn’t get an email. Did you not tell them about me? Why didn’t I get one? What’s going on here?
I very calmly once again, told her that I let them know, I showed her the ACARS print out that mentioned “1A/C” and told her to contact customer care and I had nothing more to say.
As she packed her bags she was screaming into her cell phone to the car service that was arranged to pick her up. You see, we arrived 20 minutes early and the service left her a message saying that they were aware we were landing ahead of schedule but couldn’t make it until our original arrival time. She was yelling
This is unacceptable! I use you people all of the time and you’re always here — what am I supposed to do now? wait outside like a poor person!?
Yep. That’s what you do. Stand and wait. But hey, now you have time to call Customer Care.