What is it about “juice” that lends itself to scandal?
The word brings to mind a low-speed chase in a white Ford Bronco, record-breaking baseball players with bulging biceps, and now, a high-stakes conniption fit in an American Airlines first-class cabin.
Keep reading to find out how a flight attendant’s reaction to a passenger’s request for orange juice escalated into a tense stand-off that is now the subject of an airline investigation.
The incident occurred December 6 on American Airlines flight 614 from Sacramento to Dallas. David Koss, a nearby passenger and witness, wrote the Consumerist to give his account.
According to Koss, a flight attendant named Helen was in a visibly foul mood while she was serving breakfast in the first class cabin, allegedly plunking the meals down carelessly on tray tables and rolling her eyes at passengers.
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When she arrived at the passenger in question, she became frustrated while he struggled to lower his tray table. When he asked if he could have some orange juice, Helen allegedly responded, “This must be your first time in first class.”
This was the last straw. According to Koss, Helen “blew up” and began yelling at the passenger.
Helen’s unhinged behavior apparently left the cabin on edge. Throughout the next hour, Koss says Helen went back and forth from the front of the plane to the cabin, returning to badger other passengers about talking behind her back.
At one point, she asked the passenger in question to join her in the front for a private conversation, but he refused because he did not want to talk to her without witnesses present.
She then disappeared and came back with a written note she claimed was from the captain saying that he was violating federal law for threatening, intimidating, or interfering with a crewmember (section 91.11).
When they landed, an airline representative was waiting for them to get their accounts of the incident on record. American Airlines officials say they are still investigating the matter.
Gadling contributor Heather Poole, a flight attendant for a major US carrier, writes an interesting response to Koss’s story. In her letter, Heather says that she has also noticed a decline in customer service on most airlines, but notes the struggling carriers often require flight attendants to work long days without breaks or meals to keep their fares competitive.
What has been your experience with flight attendants? Have you experienced any horror stories? Was there a time when you were pleasantly surprised by a friendly crew? Leave us some comments below.
By Dan Bence for PeterGreenberg.com.