This is an open letter to the cranky passengers of US Airways Flight 2683 (operated by Mesa Air) scheduled for departure at 710A on 03JAN – and all air travelers who may one day find themselves delayed for departure. Which basically means, “listen up if you’re an air traveler.”
Shame on you!
Shame on you for making a bad situation worse. Shame on you for snarky comments and shame on you for making a difficult job more difficult. Shame on you!
As passengers we expect a safe flight and landing. We hope for a seamless boarding and departure. And we deserve good customer service throughout, no matter what happens. But we’ve lost sight of the fact that the unexpected happens and we should behave.
The jetway can lose power and fail to retract from the plane. The flight can be delayed an hour, or more. It can and does happen.
I know what you’re thinking and stop it right now. Yes, it lost power before we were loaded into the tiny plane, our luggage stowed below, thus begging the question, “why did they commence boarding in the first place?” But there is one thing I know for certain – if they hadn’t you would have complained about that choice as well. Come to think of it – had they not followed their standard operating procedure we would be stuck inside the airport when the plane was finally detached. Do you think that would have gotten us nowhere even faster?
What I’m getting at is that you would have complained no matter what they did, simply because the day wasn’t going as planned. Well listen up, because I’ve got some really good advice for you.
Shit happens! Get over it.
To the passenger seated in 4A – thank you for your good humor and occasional jokes about the entire situation. I hope your wife and children had a smooth ride the next week when they joined you. If they encounter delays I hope they too were able to laugh and wait patiently. By the way, I didn’t mean it when I said I would fight you for the first seat on the next plane connecting to our shared destination. Beg you, maybe, but not fight.
To the passenger seated in 4F – Thank you for your equally good humor. Especially when your seat mate, the woman you were not traveling with, was demanding to be allowed off the plane if we didn’t leave soon. I hope you, 4F, made it to your final destination in time to fix the hospital equipment that needed your valuable skills.
To the passenger seated in 4A – Breathe. There are reasons you can’t just decide to leave once you’ve boarded and your luggage is under the plane. If you haven’t been paying attention to the news then let me tell you that the airlines have safe-guards to prevent you de-planing and those safeguards are for my security. And yours.
To the passenger seated in 5F – do you really think you’re entitled to free cocktails simply because a problem arose and the crew worked together to fix it? You should probably learn to breathe too.
To the Engineer who tried to “replace fuses and push buttons until something connects,” I thank you. And I thank the pilot who kept us informed of such ‘updates’ even when they conveyed little hope for an immediate departure.
To the Chief Engineer who showed up and tried plan B and plan C. Thank you too, even though it took plan D or E of F to get us going.
To the countless Ground Support persons who hooked up the truck and made a valiant effort to tow the jetway away from the plane, even though the ice provided no traction for your tires, thank you for trying. And thanks for the chuckles.
To the Baggage Handlers who loaded and unloaded and reloaded as passengers were shuffled from our plane to others with alternate connections in an attempt to get them to their final destination as quickly as possible – thank you. I can’t image that puzzle was very easy to solve.
To the Flight Agent who assigned many of us to new connecting flights as we missed our layovers – thank you. Actually, a big thank you since you plopped me into a first class ticket on my next leg. You handled 70 passengers and all our questions with grace, patience and real concern – thank you for doing such a great job.
Please allow me to apologize for every disgruntled passenger who made your job harder that day.
Finally, to the Flight Attendant who had only nine passengers to entertain with your slow southern drawl and your not funny stories and your own snarky comments about the level of intelligence of particular members of the Cleveland crew – I invoke my own southern heritage and offer you three words instead of two, and I mean each one of them.