US Airways Employee Handles Complaining Passenger The 'TSA Way'

from the which,-oddly-enough,-is-also-the-'law-enforcement-way' dept

The problem with bad behavior is that it rubs off on others and this is one of those "Everything I Needed to Know About Human Behavior I Learned in Kindergarten/the Stanford Prison Experiment" moments.

Hypothetical: If you're a US Airways employee and you don't like the fact that your rudeness has prompted a passenger to snap a picture of your nametag for reference, how would you handle it? Well, chances are you'd handle it the way you routinely see problems like this handled in an airport:

Sandy DeWitt said the employee, whose name was Tonialla G., was being rude to several passengers in the boarding area of the flight to Miami. So DeWitt snapped a photo of her nametag with her iPhone because she planned to complain about her in a letter to US Airways. But the photo didn’t come out because it was too dark.

However, once DeWitt was settled in her seat, preparing for take-off, Tonialla G. entered the plane and confronted her. "She told me to delete the photo," DeWitt said in an interview with Photography is Not a Crime Saturday morning.

Of course that's the way you handle it. The TSA handles complaints and "unruly" photographers this way as do several members of law enforcement. Obviously you, as a private citizen (and "hypothetical" US Airways employee), should be able to handle your current "situation" in the same fashion.

But that's not all. Once you've verified that the photo has been deleted, it's time to take the "situation" to a whole new level:

[T]onialla G. wouldn’t let the issue go. She then walked into the cockpit to inform the pilot that DeWitt was a "security risk." Next thing DeWitt knew, she was being escorted off the plane by two flight attendants. Her husband followed.

Off the plane, she spoke to a Michael Lofton, a US Airways manager at Philadelphia International Airport, who told her she would not be allowed back on the plane because she was a security risk. But even though she was supposedly a security risk, Lofton directed her to American Airlines where they supposedly had a flight back to Miami leaving soon.

Beautiful. It's great to see TSA-esque tactics being wielded by employees, who don't like being held responsible for their actions. It's also great to see that US Airways didn't even bother to check out her story before forcing her to switch flights. And it's mind-blowingly idiotic to see a person that one airline has deemed a "security risk" is allowed to board another airline without any hassle. 

This may be US Airlines' black eye (and they've got several), but it appears to be a yet another case of abusive behavior hiding behind the one-size-fits-all label of "security."

Tip of the hat to Reason Hit n' Run.

Filed Under: complaints, photographs
Companies: united airways


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  1. identicon
    Brian, 7 Jul 2011 @ 7:10am

    Sue her a$$!

    I would take out a personal lawsuit for defamation of character. You can't tell people that someone is a security risk when they are not and get away with it. Especially if that causes her to lose something. Sue her a$$ personally. Shoot, I might throw in a few other charges, like bribery (I'm sure that is not the correct legal word for it), especially if the TSA agent said that if she didn't delete the photo, that she would make her life hell or something like that.

    Although the TSA is a needed service in these tumultuous times, I'm sure it is easy for someone with a big head and a bad day to abuse the authority given. But these people need to be held personally accountable for their indiscretions. It is too easy these days for one to not be held accountable for what they do, especially if they work for a government agency or a large company.

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