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In-flight Issue
Rule against putting personal items in seat pocket

 
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  #1  
Old Feb 21, 2010, 5:45 PM
lemoynetraveler lemoynetraveler is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
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I was a passenger on US Airways flight 1140 from Belize City to Charlotte, N.C. on Saturday, February 20, 2010, seat 20C. My daughter was seated with a friend (and law firm partner) and his daughter behind me in seats 21A, B and C. As I have done for the past 20 years flying various airlines, as I removed a book from my carry on case which I put in the overhead, then removed the in-flight magazine and catalogue, and other items in the back of the seat in front of me and placed them in the overhead under my carry-on bag. I do this to free up an additional ½ inch of leg room. I am 6 ft. 1 in. tall and find this a way to create more leg room for me.
A small dark haired female flight attendant who must have been standing in the rear of the plane charged up the aisle, pulled the flight magazine etc. from the over head and shoved it in the pocket in front of me saying: “This does not belong in the overhead compartment. You should read the safety information.” I was a bit stunned by this but other people were now being seated around me. A man whose assigned seat was across the aisle from mine asked if I would trade seats so he could sit with his family in 20A and B. I accommodated him and sat in the other side of the aisle.
At that point I had my book and a blow up pillow and a pouch with silencing head phones. I saw all the reading material in the pocket and concluded I could not put them in the overhead but could place that material on the floor in front of me. No sooner had I done this when the short dark-haired attendant again charged forward, grabbed the magazine on the floor and shoved it in the pocket saying: “Your stuff doesn’t belong in there.”
Again, I was startled, having never heard that the airline’s reading and shopping material had to remain in the pouch (having removed it unchallenged for at least 20 years), and all my personal items had to remain loose on my lap. A few minutes passed (and the whole thing seemed over) when a blond-haired female attendant from the front of the plane came back to me and, calmly, said that they had recently received a memo asking them to prevent passengers from placing items in the pockets for safety reasons. We then began discussing how airline rules and food situation were making air travel ever more uncomfortable, in a conversational manner when a male attendant (could only identify “Jeffrey” on his name tag) pushed the woman attendant aside and got within a foot of my face saying: “I just want to know if you are willing to abide by the rules or not!” The inference was that he was ready to through me off the plane! The woman attendant immediately pushed him toward the front of the plane saying “that is not necessary, there is no problem” and both went to the front of the plan.
At that point I turned around and everyone was staring at me. My daughter said, “what did you do?” My friend and law partner also looked stunned. When I told everyone around me what I did, and that we are apparently not supposed to put personal items into the pocket, they could not believe what took place. One man described a scene from the move Anger Management where Adam Sandler was tasered by the attendants for a mix up in what he was trying to say. This was similarly bizarre in how this male attendant escalated the whole matter, and the dark-haired attendant never explained what the rule was exactly.
On the way out of the plane in Charlotte I told the male attendant that I was embarrassed and felt that he acted unprofessionally. He chased me up the air bridge telling me how he had the power to have me ejected from the plane when an attendant told him that a passenger was “not following the rules”.
This is a rule I have never heard of and never before seen enforced, if it in fact exists. Two out of the three flight attendants on this flight exhibited poor inter-personal skills, causing me embarrassment and distress. I will share this story about US Airways with other professionals and government personnel at every opportunity.
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  #2  
Old Feb 22, 2010, 10:22 PM
cortney cortney is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2009
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i recently saw something simular on a lufthansa flight. the passenger in the aisle seat next to me put some of his stuff (small laptop, and ipod and magazine) in his seat back pocket. the flight attendant told him he couldnt store his stuff there due to saftey. the guy looked at me (since i was in my company uniform) and told him just to comply its not worth the fight.

Still i haven't heard of the material having to stay in the pocket. i take it out all the time while take off and landing just to have something to read. the reason why the stuff couldn't be on the floor is indeed for saftey could cause you or someone to slip and fall if you have to evacuate. the male flight attendant had no right to get up into your face like that however.
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Old Feb 23, 2010, 12:54 AM
lemoynetraveler lemoynetraveler is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
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The odd thing was that when the attendant first took the magazine etc from the overhead and shoved it in pocket I had not yet put anything in there. It seemed more like the in-flight catalog had to remain there at all times for impulse purchases.
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