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COMPLAINT: First Class Ticket to Hell! 5 year old child traumatized -father abused & humiliated
 
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  #1  
Old Aug 24, 2010, 3:10 AM
Maurizio Winkler Maurizio Winkler is offline
 
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Unprovoked attack for over an hour by Continental Staff ganging up to try and have a father and his 5 year old son thrown off a plane for absolutely no reason. Results: A 5 year old child was traumatized and his father unlawfully abused, verbally assaulted, harassed and publicly humiliated by Continental Staff in front on a plane full of passengers and his son. Four passengers are prepared to give statements and there is a video tape of part of the incident recorded by one of the passenger. Details below:


1. Captain’s Involvement: I was wrongfully offended, unjustly embarrassed and intentionally humiliated publicly by the Captain over the airplane loud-speaker; he announced…"We are ready to take off though unfortunately we are being delayed because of a situation and problem with a First Class Passenger.” At no time did the Captain make a personal inquiry about the situation and was totally out of line in making such a public announcement. His actions were immature, unproductive (unhelpful to the situation) and totally unprofessional. The Captain’s remarks and actions caused the entire plane (economy class passengers) to look forward and form an incorrect negative opinion and conclusion of me. The Captains announcement insinuated that I was causing a problem and had behaved inappropriately or in a dangerous fashion and was the reason for the delay. The sole purpose for the Captain to make such an announcement must have been to intentionally embarrass, humiliate and offend me publicly. In addition to the initial embarrassment due to the Captain’s announcement, when I was removed from the plane against my will everyone on the plane was bitterly starring at me in disgust and anger. The Captain's action was an unprovoked personal attack against me; it was harassment and public humiliation thus unlawful. Captain’s physical description: Had salt and pepper mustache.

2. Female Hostess Involvement: When I first boarded the plane I went up to the female hostess while she was in the galley and explained to her the situation and asked for assistance. I specifically asked her if the flight had finished boarding. The female hostess was preparing drink and was unhelpful, unprofessional, rude, aggressive, abusive and hostile from the very first moment. As I saw she had no intention to help me, I then decided to speak with the passenger sitting beside my assigned seat to see if he was willing to move. During this conversation I was rudely interrupted by the hostess. She interfered with a civil conversation I was having with a passenger and ordered me to "stop speaking to the passenger...”I told you we haven't stopped boarding yet!" I calmly explained to her that I had all the right in the world to speak to the passenger and that I would not cease my conversation and that she was out-of-line in ordering me to do so. At that point when she realized she would not be able to stop me from continuing my conversation with the passenger, she once again rudely interrupted me...The hostess went on to falsely accuse me of being loud and aggressive and with hostility and aggression she took a step towards me and said..."Back off" trying to insinuate that I was going to assault her. I was stationary and didn't move a step throughout this entire process with my 5 year old son beside me. All this took place in-front of several passengers. Four particular passengers witnessed the whole thing and where outraged with her and the staffs behavior and the absurdity of overall situation. They are all prepared to give sworn testimony and confirm the events that transpired for over an hour, causing the plane to take off an hour late (after it's scheduled departure time).

3. Male Host (bald guy) Involvement: The host was in the galley during the above conversation, when the hostess got frustrated that I would not cease my conversation with the passenger she went to the galley and both the host and hostess came up to me. Host assaulted me...as he came up to me in a combative and offensive manner and using aggressive hand gestures said…"if there's a problem here, you're out of here, off this plane!"...such behavior scared my 5 year old son. Before making such comments host did not inquire about the situation or try to resolve it. He was more interested in supporting his female work colleague rather then to find out what the situation was and attempt to find a solution. Absolutely no effort was made by the host or anyone else to accommodate the situation. His behavior was totally unprofessional, abusive, harassing and his assault, unlawful. He then proceeded to call an "agent" to seek to have me and my son removed from the plane and went to speak to the Captain and then angrily stormed towards the exit of the plane.

4. Supervisor’s Involvement (one called Carlos): No one inquired about what truly happened. No one questioned any of the passengers even after several requests by me to do so. No one cared to hear the truth. No one made an effort to be fair to me and/or any other passenger and to understand what actually happened. For over an hour everyone (Continental Staff) seemed too pre-occupied in trying to find some excuse how to throw my son and I off the plane for absolutely no reason. They all ganged up on me and my son. They united and abused their professional powers of their position in a team effort to continue to engage in abusive and malicious behavior towards me and to continue to unlawfully harass me in front of my son and passengers for over an hour.

Supervisor (Carlos) continued to threaten to have my son and I removed from the plane and have me arrested if I didn't accompany him and his team of people off the plane. Part of the incident was filmed by a passenger/witness. Carlos also forcefully ordered a passenger to stop filming the conversation and physically tried to remove the camera. This is all on film.

Once off the plane, I informed Carlos about my intention to file a complaint. I asked what rights and recourse I had and the protocol for filing a complaint. He said the only thing I could do is go on-line and fill out a form (customer service form). I asked Carlos for everyone's name so I could proceed to do that and he refused to give them to me; saying that I would personally have to ask each employee and it was at their discretion to give me their names. I decided not to speak to the hostel employees and will have my attorney subpoena the flight records to get everyone’s details.

During this incident, I was asked on 2 occasions to step off the plane and abandon my 5 year old son...both times I refused to do so. Explaining that I had no intention to leave my son on the plane alone and/or have him continue to witness such hostile behavior towards me and that I did absolutely nothing wrong to warrant me having to disembark the plane or be treated in such an abusive and hostile fashion. I expressed that such request and behavior by Continental Staff was harassment and inappropriate. I explained that I was happy to discuss the situation with anyone on the plane (where I was) or for privacy in the front galley, so I could keep an eye on my son and he wouldn't have to witness the abuse. I further explained there was nothing to hide and that the passengers should witness to the efforts, conduct and conversation that was to take place by everyone involved.

6. The way all Continental Staff handled the situation made me feel like a common criminal...I was deeply offended, emotionally abused and nearly physically battered in front of my 5 year old son and passengers. I was treated and seen as a criminal by everyone for absolutely NO Cause or Reason! The incident caused me public embarrassment, humiliation and emotional distress. It traumatized my 5 year old son and caused him emotional distress as he was afraid of the staffs continued aggressive behavior towards me and realized there was something wrong. My son was very concerned and scared and asked me several times what was going on, what was wrong? He asked me if we where going to be separated and why they didn't want us to sit together? At one point my son asked me if they where going to arrest me? My son had to see me abandon him while being escorted and unwillingly removed from the plane and had to stay alone on the plane in fear and dismay.

As 4 witnesses and a video tape will confirm, at no time did I ever act inappropriately with anyone on the plane (passengers or Continental Staff). I was always calm and polite, kept my composure, my voice was never raised, I made no threats or did anything to provoke anyone. I diligently tried to explain the situation and understand what was going on myself. There was absolutely no reason for any of this unprofessional, abusive, harassing, threatening and unlawful behavior towards me and my 5 year old son by Continental Staff.

7. Due to this incident, I find myself reluctant to deal and communicate with airline staff and have serious concern about traveling on a plane again...The thought of this cause’s me serious stress and anxiety.

I don't know yet what short and/or long term affect this incident will have on my 5 year old son...I will let a professional child therapist make that assessment.

What action can I take to help avoid this from happening to another innocent passenger? Please advise, thank you.
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  #2  
Old Aug 24, 2010, 3:28 AM
The_Judge The_Judge is offline
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<biting my lip as hard as I can> Send a letter to the DOT along with you video and statements from your witnesses. <just about exploding now>

I hope things work out the way you want them to.
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  #3  
Old Aug 24, 2010, 6:33 AM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
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There is a definite ski nazi problem which seems to have developed over the last 9 years or so since 911. It appears many of them feel that if you make any kind of unwelcome request or don't speak to them with the full degree of respect for their power, you will be severly punished. Frankly, I would go to the media with the video and start there. Post it on YouTube and go to the networks. If their conduct is as bad as you say, it will be there for all to see.
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Old Aug 24, 2010, 12:24 PM
INTLGIRLY INTLGIRLY is offline
 
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I dunno am I missing something ("the sitution")
QUOTE: 2. Female Hostess Involvement: When I first boarded the plane I went up to the female hostess while she was in the galley and explained to her the situation and asked for assistance

Maybe it's me but I seem to be missing the BEGINNING of what caused all of this - although I am NOT saying that any treatment you received was right.
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  #5  
Old Aug 24, 2010, 2:52 PM
Maurizio Winkler Maurizio Winkler is offline
 
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Originally Posted by The_Judge View Post
<biting my lip as hard as I can> Send a letter to the DOT along with you video and statements from your witnesses. <just about exploding now>

I hope things work out the way you want them to.
Thank you for the advice.
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  #6  
Old Aug 24, 2010, 2:55 PM
Maurizio Winkler Maurizio Winkler is offline
 
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Originally Posted by jimworcs View Post
There is a definite ski nazi problem which seems to have developed over the last 9 years or so since 911. It appears many of them feel that if you make any kind of unwelcome request or don't speak to them with the full degree of respect for their power, you will be severly punished. Frankly, I would go to the media with the video and start there. Post it on YouTube and go to the networks. If their conduct is as bad as you say, it will be there for all to see.
Good idea, thank you.
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  #7  
Old Aug 24, 2010, 3:05 PM
Maurizio Winkler Maurizio Winkler is offline
 
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Originally Posted by INTLGIRLY View Post
I dunno am I missing something ("the sitution")
QUOTE: 2. Female Hostess Involvement: When I first boarded the plane I went up to the female hostess while she was in the galley and explained to her the situation and asked for assistance

Maybe it's me but I seem to be missing the BEGINNING of what caused all of this - although I am NOT saying that any treatment you received was right.
My 5 year old son and I where incorrectly issued separate seats even though the reservation was booked at the same time. As a father, I was simply concerned about that error and asked the hostess for assistance...rather then trying to accommodate my concern and request the hostess and Continental Staff decided to conduct themselves as described in my memo. The behavior was totally unprovoked and uncalled for. My memo describes in detail how Continental Staff decided to handle the situation.
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  #8  
Old Aug 24, 2010, 3:26 PM
Gromit801 Gromit801 is offline
 
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I'm curious. What did the counter or boarding agents do when you asked them to change your seats?
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  #9  
Old Aug 24, 2010, 3:42 PM
Maurizio Winkler Maurizio Winkler is offline
 
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Originally Posted by Gromit801 View Post
I'm curious. What did the counter or boarding agents do when you asked them to change your seats?
Good question - Answer: When my son and I approached the counter, the Boarding Agent was obviously in a bad mood and in a very rude tone informed me that the gate was closed for another 10 minutes and that I should come back later...the flight attendants where there waiting to board and the Boarding agent seemed more interested in talking with them then trying to assist me. To avoid a debate, I just took my son for a bite to eat. I thought it would be easier to deal with the situation when we boarded the flight, hoping someone on board would be more helpful then the Boarding agent...I was wrong.
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  #10  
Old Aug 24, 2010, 5:11 PM
Gromit801 Gromit801 is offline
 
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Usually, the gate agent will try to accommodate parents and kids. So that should have been your next stop after you felt you had no solution from the counter. Ask the control or gate agent. Yes, it can go wrong at times.

If the FA's had such an attitude, and it wasn't exacerbated by an angry father getting in their face (so to speak), then shame on them, and file a complaint.

If on the other hand, you were exhibiting an equally bad attitude, and interfering with their duties, then you might have a problem with your complaint.
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  #11  
Old Aug 24, 2010, 5:37 PM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
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There is an element of hyperbole in this complaint, but the fundamentals are pretty basic. Here we have a father who wanted to be seated next to his 5 year old son. We have debated before on this forum the outrageous way in which parents are put through the stress of not being guaranteed to seat next to their children, and the obvious risk to the child in the event of an emergency, such as a decompression or worst, being sat next to someone in a position to abuse them.

He started Gromit by asking at the desk and was met with sky nazi type hostility. He complied and went away and then trie dto engage the FA's to see if they could resolve the issue and faced the same problem.

This is a basic need. He wanted to sit next to his 5 year old. There can be no more reasonable request.... and the conduct of these FA's is disgraceful. Even if he was assertive or rude in making his request, the request itself was reasonable and SHOULD HAVE BEEN ACTED ON.

Please tell us if you post the video on youtube, so we can try and boost it's viewings.
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  #12  
Old Aug 24, 2010, 6:21 PM
Maurizio Winkler Maurizio Winkler is offline
 
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Originally Posted by Gromit801 View Post
Usually, the gate agent will try to accommodate parents and kids. So that should have been your next stop after you felt you had no solution from the counter. Ask the control or gate agent. Yes, it can go wrong at times.

If the FA's had such an attitude, and it wasn't exacerbated by an angry father getting in their face (so to speak), then shame on them, and file a complaint.

If on the other hand, you were exhibiting an equally bad attitude, and interfering with their duties, then you might have a problem with your complaint.
The person at the counter was the gate agent. As mentioned, there are 4 passengers prepared to give statements about the unreasonable conduct by Continental staff. Furthermore, there is a video which shows part of the incident, thus my conduct and demeanor while be harassed. I can understand your scepticism, I would also be sceptical as such behavior by Continental staff if unprovoked seem difficult to believe...but unfortunately it's true.
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  #13  
Old Aug 24, 2010, 6:35 PM
Maurizio Winkler Maurizio Winkler is offline
 
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Originally Posted by jimworcs View Post
There is an element of hyperbole in this complaint, but the fundamentals are pretty basic. Here we have a father who wanted to be seated next to his 5 year old son. We have debated before on this forum the outrageous way in which parents are put through the stress of not being guaranteed to seat next to their children, and the obvious risk to the child in the event of an emergency, such as a decompression or worst, being sat next to someone in a position to abuse them.

He started Gromit by asking at the desk and was met with sky nazi type hostility. He complied and went away and then trie dto engage the FA's to see if they could resolve the issue and faced the same problem.

This is a basic need. He wanted to sit next to his 5 year old. There can be no more reasonable request.... and the conduct of these FA's is disgraceful. Even if he was assertive or rude in making his request, the request itself was reasonable and SHOULD HAVE BEEN ACTED ON.

Please tell us if you post the video on youtube, so we can try and boost it's viewings.
Thank you for your concern and support. One of the passengers has the video as she is the one who was tapping it until she was forced physically to stop tapping by Continental staff, another unlawful act by Continental staff. Though I haven't see the video, fortunately I believe it's uneventful as there was no physical assult by anyone, with the exception of the Continental agent trying to remove the camera from the other passanger. Having said that I don't know how interesting it will be for viewers. What the video shows is my calm demeanor and Continental agents threatening to have my son and I removed from the plane and me arrested if I didn't disembark the plane to further discuss the matter. I didn't want to bother the other passenger unless absolutely necessary but at this point I will seek to get a copy of the video tape. Thank you.
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  #14  
Old Aug 24, 2010, 10:15 PM
Gromit801 Gromit801 is offline
 
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Like I said, if it's their fault, file the claim. Don't let the "Airline Sympathizer" badge sway your thinking about me. I just don't happen to agree with customer complaints 100% of the time, and was thus awarded the Red Badge of Courage by the site admins, lol.

The counter agent and gate agent are two different positions, though sometimes the person at the front counter (where you check in) then becomes the boarding or control agent when it is time to board the aircraft. Same person, different duties.
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  #15  
Old Aug 26, 2010, 6:13 PM
Leatherboy2006 Leatherboy2006 is offline
 
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If you have any contact with the person videoing it, I would get her to send it to you (download it and email it to you) and you to post it on U-Tube (can video's be post it here on this site?).
Since it shows you being calm that would be your best defense in a claim, pictures/video's usually don't lie (unless doctored...thank you UFO fakers)
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  #16  
Old Aug 26, 2010, 11:08 PM
Maurizio Winkler Maurizio Winkler is offline
 
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Originally Posted by Leatherboy2006 View Post
If you have any contact with the person videoing it, I would get her to send it to you (download it and email it to you) and you to post it on U-Tube (can video's be post it here on this site?).
Since it shows you being calm that would be your best defense in a claim, pictures/video's usually don't lie (unless doctored...thank you UFO fakers)
I've already contacted the passenger with the video tape. She has already downloaded it and I'm meeting with her this weekend to get a copy of it. Will post on U tube next week. Thx for the advice.
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  #17  
Old Aug 26, 2010, 11:20 PM
INTLGIRLY INTLGIRLY is offline
 
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great! Post the you tube link when you have it
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  #18  
Old Aug 26, 2010, 11:45 PM
Maurizio Winkler Maurizio Winkler is offline
 
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Originally Posted by INTLGIRLY View Post
great! Post the you tube link when you have it
Will do, thx.
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  #19  
Old Nov 11, 2010, 6:18 PM
NYU1972 NYU1972 is offline
 
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I've read and heard a lot of complaints regarding airlines but this one leaves me with quite a few questions as to its authenticity. Maurizio, you stated that the first flight attendant (a female) you dealt with was immediately "aggressive, abusive, and hostile." Those words would seem to describe some kind of physical attack or at least a very confrontational verbal assault. The second flight attendant (a male) then "assaulted" you and came at you in a "combative" manner and used "aggressive" hand gestures. This definitely seems to describe a physical altercation. After that, a supervisor got involved and "united" with the others to "engage in abusive and malicious behavior" towards you and "unlawfully harass" you for "over an hour." What you have described sounds like an attack that would have required hospitalization afterwards.

We have all dealt with rude or unprofessional airline staff or we wouldn't be on this site. However, how is anyone to possibly believe that all of these airline employees, whose sole job it is to provide good customer service to paying customers, would all independently decide to single you out and then conduct a totally unprovoked violent attack against you in the fashion that you have described? From my experience, most people who are flight attendants tend to be service oriented people and the men who take this job aren't exactly what I'd call the aggressive or physical type. I have to ask, were you really scared that the female stewardess was going to hurt you? "Maurizio" that is a man's name right?

Are your descriptions of what happened really accurate? Just a shot in the dark here but have you ever been diagnosed with NPD? Narcissists are characterized as having a sense of entitlement or an unreasonable expectation of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance from others. They also have a grandiose sense of self importance without any commensurate achievements to justify it. Is it possible that you may have caused this whole situation because you just couldn't handle being told to wait or because your demands were not immediately met? I don't often see people with children "removed" from airplanes against their will at the whim of an angry mob of airline employees. It just wouldn't be good business. Is it possible that you were the one actually acting in an aggressive manner and that is the reason why the female stewardess had to tell you to "back off"? Is it possible that your actions caused a disruption onboard the plane and that's why you were asked to disembark?

I'm not an airline sympathizer but I also don't blindly buy into exaggerated stories. Please shed some light? If all this was in fact true, did you file a police report? Have you followed up with your claims? Did you meet with this other passenger and download this vide to You Tube? Has your son received any treatment for the trauma you said he experienced? Have you sought treatment for the stress and anxiety you said you were suffering from? Have you been able to fly again or do you still have serious concerns about doing so?

If I am wrong please accept my apologies.
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  #20  
Old Jun 1, 2011, 1:37 AM
boiselee boiselee is offline
 
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Wow! I just read the account of your experience after posting my own nightmare with United. Like you, I was confused about the disproportionately hostile approach, and humiliated over the public flogging. I will never forget the anger on the faces of the passengers who were all informed that they were late because of me. Yes, the worst part was that my six-year-old son had to not only witness what occurred, but was at the mercy of volatile strangers. Here is what happened to me:

When my Delta flight from Palm Springs to Boise landed in San Francisco, it was unexpectedy grounded. Passengers were rushed to an existing United flight to continue to their destinations. My 6 year old and I were last to board the crowded United 737 and were directed to the last 2 seats, which were at the tail of the plane. All carry-ons had been stowed and the overheads were overstuffed, so we were told to put our bags under our seats. These spaces were overstuffed as well. I asked a flight attendant for assistance and when she could find no place for our bags, she told me to sit on them and fasten my seatbelt. I complied, but being at the window seat and because I am over six feet tall, I was hunched beneath the bulkhead in a position that would be impossible to maintain for the duration of the flight. I asked her if it would be alright to disembark and board a later flight that had more space. She snapped that she would need to ask the captain, so I asked her to please forget about it and not bother the cockpit. She left, then returned with another flight attendant who asked me what my problem was. I answered that I had wanted to wait for a flight with more space, but had changed my mind and I again asked to drop the matter. I then turned to look out the window because I had tears in my eyes and didn't want anyone to notice. Both flight attendants left, then angrily returned and loudly asked why I was crying. (I wasn't crying, but my eyes were brimming.) They created a scene and theatrically announced that the captain was mad at me and that I was responsible for making the flight late. I saw all the passengers behind them turned to watch as I whispered to please just drop it. Then the flight attendants told me - and the rest of the passengers -that I was banned from the flight and would have to leave immediately. Holding my son's hand and carrying our luggage, I walked the aisle of shame in front of a full flight.
At the United desk in the terminal, I was instructed to go to Delta. It required riding a bus from, literally, one end of San Fransico International to the other end. At Delta, I was informed that it was a United matter. We went back to United. This was repeated for a total of 10 bus rides. When I returned to United after the tenth bus ride, there was nobody in line. Rather than negotiate the maze of ropes winding in front of the counter, I walked straight to the ticket agent with whom I had been speaking each time. This time he had an associate with him. The associate told me to return to the start point and use the rope line. I said that there was nobody in the line, and that I knew where I needed to go. She said that she wouldn't see me until I returned and walked the (empty) line. I did so, and then gave the familiar agent the message I had most recently been told at the Delta counter. The associate interrupted and asked for my name. I handed her my boarding pass and she said, "You DON'T even KNOW your own NAME?" I told her my name and she told me to return to Delta. I caught the bus for the eleventh time in a five hour period, and when I arrived the Delta agent told me that I had been kicked off all United flights. Delta arranged to have me catch the last Alaska flight of the day out of SFI to Boise, via Seattle. My 7:00 am flight from Palm Springs arrived in Boise at 1:00 am the following day. It would have been quicker to drive.
And United permanently lost 2 of the bags I had checked in Palm Springs.
I hope your attorney gets you millions!!
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  #21  
Old Jun 1, 2011, 11:16 PM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
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Flight attendants have far too much power post 911. Sadly they are too stupid to have such responsibility. It is time action was taken to make them accountable if they abuse their power.
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Old Jun 7, 2011, 7:48 AM
boiselee boiselee is offline
 
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I agree that many flight attendants and airline/airport employees in general are out of control. At my family's urging, I contacted a couple local attorneys to look into the possibility of a lawsuit. They both informed me that they would be happy to take it to court, provided I had actual damages such as medical expenses or lost wages as a direct result of the incident.
Now after your comment about taking action, I'm wondering if there is a legal precendent anywhere for abused airline passengers?
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Old Jun 7, 2011, 2:27 PM
The_Judge The_Judge is offline
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That is not your concern, it's what you hire a lawyer for.
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  #24  
Old Jun 7, 2011, 2:30 PM
Gromit801 Gromit801 is offline
 
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All this time elapsed, and no promised YouTube link. Did it perhaps show the OP was more at fault then he cares to admit?
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Old Jun 7, 2011, 10:52 PM
boiselee boiselee is offline
 
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Originally Posted by jimworcs View Post
Flight attendants have far too much power post 911. Sadly they are too stupid to have such responsibility. It is time action was taken to make them accountable if they abuse their power.
My apologies for not being clear. The question about a possible legal precedent in the matter of passengers abused by airline employees was in response to a comment from jimworcs, and the question is for him.
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