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. icon
    HomerJ (profile), 8 Jul 2011 @ 8:54pm

    My wife had an issue with a US Air stewardess a few months ago. She didn't want to give up her aisle seat to a service guy coming home (he was dressed in civvilian clothes and was sitting in her seat when she got on the plane). He was sitting in her seat and asked to see her ticket when she came to sit down. Not sure why he felt he had the right to question my wife about her seat assignment. Apparently he had the window seat and was not happy about it. He moved to several other aisle seats and was asked to move several times. The stewardess came over and proceeded to tell my wife she was unpatriotic for not giving him her seat. At this point my wife had already switched with the person in the middle who claimed to be claustrophobic. So she no longer had the aisle seat to give up. The stewardess moved the guy to a different window seat.
    I thought it was rather presumptuous of the stewardess and the serviceman to simply expect someone to change seats without asking first. It was really unprofessional of the stewardess to admonish my wife loudly in front of a plane full of people. If they had asked her politely they may have gotten a differnt result. Seems everyone wanted her seat.
    She got the name of the stewardess and wrote to the CEO of US Air. We got a letter back saying they would investigate but could not divulge any disciplinary action taken over the incident for privacy reasons. Guess they have plenty of customers and did not need us to fly their airline anymore.

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