The Flight Attendant Who Said Too Much!

I was made aware of an interesting article about a Southwest Airlines flight attendant who clearly said too much. She told a passenger she was dressed inappropriately and would have to leave the plane before it took off. The flight attendant obviously wasn’t thinking about what she was saying, or she was just stupid.

Southwest’s and the flight attendant’s actions were not typical of Southwest. If you do have a problem like this, how do you stop it from becoming a big issue?

If you aren’t sure, ask.
Before kicking the woman off of the plane, the flight attendant should have asked another flight attendant for his or her opinion. The flight attendant could have also Southwest’s corporate offices and asked for a suggestion. My general suggestion to companies is to encourage their employees to ask if they aren’t sure.

Use discretion if you are going to say something.
If you are going to say something, you need to use discretion. You can’t call the customer out in front of everyone. That isn’t the way to ensure a smooth experience. If you have to say something to a customer that isn’t positive, then you really want to use discretion.

Be ridiculously polite.
Once you have used discretion and have asked the customer to come to the side, go to another room, etc., you need to be very polite. The flight attendant saying Southwest is a “family airline” and that the passenger is not dressed appropriately is not ridiculously polite.

If possible, offer an alternative.
As pointed out in the article, a flight attendant could have offered the customer a jacket, a blanket, or asked her to change the outfit a little. If you are going to do something as serious as kicking a customer off the plane (basically firing the customer), you need to offer an alternative.

If you do screw up, admit it.
Southwest screwed up. However, they didn’t admit it. If they apologized to the customer, sent her a nice letter and a nice travel voucher, the entire issue would have gone away. However, they didn’t admit they were wrong and as such, it’s on the news and the airline is probably going to get sued.

Thanks to Maria for initially posting about this.

3 Responses to “The Flight Attendant Who Said Too Much!”

  1. Peter Bromberg said:

    Sep 13, 07 at 8:32 am

    Boy, SouthWest has really screwed this up. They are repeat offenders to boot! (
    http://money.cnn.com/2005/10/06/news/fortune500/southwest_shirt/)

    I used to love them but I think I’ll fly SouthWest only as a last resort in the future.

    One small correction: The flight attendant was a man. Interesting you assumed otherwise… (said the male librarian) 🙂

  2. darren said:

    Sep 13, 07 at 3:28 pm

    Amen!

    I can’t stand service that’s rude and un-called for. So much so, I wrote up a recent experience I had with a sales manager at a local clothing store (Vancouver, Canada). Simple fact: this lady should NOT be in any way related to anything having to do with service…bar none!

    If you’re interested, here’s what I had to say.

  3. Flyingbarbie said:

    Sep 18, 07 at 9:59 am

    Unfortunately, we are in a sociaty without common sense. How many times does a FA have to tell you to turn your electronic devises off, place your carry on under the seat in front of you and place your seat back and tray tables in their upright and lock position and fasten your seatbelts. Why do we have to go ONE-BY-ONE and put up with your faces because we are saying it to you again after we already said it through out the boarding procedure. No, I don’t need to see you beast while you breast feed your child, it might be very necessary and tender but I don’t have to see your breast. Otherwise, I’ll show you mine. Put your shoes on or wash your feet. Clip your toenails at home. Garbage goes in the bag when the fa picks up 100 times, not on the floor. Are these things so out there to ask????? and the list goes one.