Posts Tagged ‘belligerent’

I am normally a complete and total advocate of the customer, even when he or she is angry.  But I get challenged on that occasionally, by this type of customer.  But the service provider is not without fault here, as well – as is the case with the majority of angry customer cases.

This clown, apparently drunk and full of himself, became enraged because the JetBlue flight attendant on his coast-to-coast flight, following the company’s credit card-only policy, would not accept cash for the rental of some headphones to take advantage of the airline’s cool individual TV / radio in every seat.  Yeah, that’ll piss a guy off, for sure.  So, when you can’t get what you want, you order a drink, right?  Well, because he was already pretty toasted and belligerent, the flight attendants refused to serve him alcohol.  As you can imagine, this did not go over with our loud, tipsy friend.  He fussed so much that passengers around him requested he be moved.  So our grumpy intoxicated friend was moved to another seat, where, unfortunately, he was accidentally hit by an item that fell from the overhead bin when an attendant was retrieving something for another passenger.  Naturally, this was more than our disgruntled drunk could handle, and he just went off, repeatedly yelling out the magic words: “I will take this plane down!”

Really?  Bad move there, sport.  You may have heard that the airline industry is a tad leery of people even talking about disrupting flights.  Still a bit touchy over that whole 9/11 thing, and rightly so. It’s one thing to be a drunken ass, but when you start spoutin’ threats about endangering the lives of others, sorry mate, it’s time to go.

So the flight made an unscheduled stop in Salt Lake City, where this guy was removed from the plane, where TSA and law enforcement officials took him into custody on a federal charge of interfering with a flight crew.  Hopefully, he will be given a penalty that will make him think twice about travelling without his own headphones again, and maybe a little introspection about his drinking problem.

OK, obviously, we know what this customer did wrong.  He brought his problems on himself and deserves his punishment.  But JetBlue, whom I love, is not without blame here.

Now, one reader of the article detailing this situation suggested that the flight attendant could have disarmed the entire situation by simply giving the inebriated imbecile a headset.  Not a bad idea, except for the other passengers who had already given their credit cards in payment for the headphone rental.  Would it be fair to them to be billed for something that the airline would simply give to a whiny drunk?  Um, no.

But it does raise the question of why JetBlue  feels compelled to charge for headphones when they tout their personal TV for every seat.  I mean, if you’re going to give a perk, give the whole enchilada.  I mean, it’s like a restaurant offering a free dessert, but if want a dish or utensil to eat it with, that’ll cost ya.  Can you say “bogus?”

But, aside from the kinda bait & switch-y thing, when exactly did cash become unwanted?  Credit cards charge the businesses that accept them a service fee on every transaction.  I’m wondering why JetBlue prefers cut the credit card companies in on their “take” on the headphone scam… if you’re gonna shake your customers down, why not keep all the loot?

So JetBlue’s nickel and diming of their customers, and their misguided ideas about forcing customers to pay only a certain way notwithstanding, their policies do not warrant threatening to force a crash of a commercial airline.  I mean, beyond this petty little fee and payment method thing, JetBlue is a pretty awesome airline.  Their flights are typically less expensive than most of their competitors, their jets are spacious and comfortable, and if you bring your own headphones, you get free TV on every flight!  Their service personnel and crew, in my experience, are well-trained and friendly.  I would bet that they tried to deal with the belligerent boozer as professionally as possible, but when he decided to pretend he was a terrorist, all bets were off.

Most customers deserve courtesy, even if they are nasty about a perceived slight.  But there is a line which, once crossed, the customer forfeits their right to courtesy, and simply deserves getting bounced.  Hey, as nicely as possible.  But bounced, nonetheless.