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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Delta Can Bite Me.

Is there a requirement for all long-haul flight attendants on Delta to be complete bitches? If not, then their HR people just really seem to value bitchiness as a key component of a good Delta employee.

Granted, I flew with a one year old and a four year old, but by the 8th and final flight (yes, we had a lot of connections to and from our various destinations), I was becoming a dab hand at entertaining the little ones and they were growing a lot more accustomed to being cooped up in those vile things and so were coping REALLY well. I say this with as much modesty as I can muster, but these two little munchkins were damned amazing by that last long flight. Any time one of them started to cry about anything, I ran through all my options with impressive speed until I successfully calmed them down. Passengers around us commented on how well behaved they were and how patient and resourceful I was in making sure they were happy. At one point, they started a game of "pass the seat belt back and forth" and were giggling charmingly while I sat on the floor in front of them...

So imagine my surprise when a petite flight attendant flew out from behind the 1st class curtain, abruptly pausing a conversation she'd been having with a first class passenger pretty much since we had departed four hours earlier, and grabbed the seat belt from my four year old daughter's hand and proceeded to point her finger inches away from my daughter's face and hissed:
"You will NOT do that. There are crew members trying to get some sleep over there and you can NOT make such noise."

Her tone and body language was as though my kids had been making noise for hours and she'd tried to get them to be quiet time and again, when in fact they'd been astonishingly quiet and she'd never indicated that she'd had any prior complaint about them.

My four year old turned and curled up in a ball, face down, upset at being yelled at by a stranger. I sat in shock for a moment. Had she not seen me sat on the floor at the bulkhead? Was the laughter of children so offensive? And why the fuck don't those crew members use ear plugs? They fly often enough and it was a day flight, so they couldn't have expected everyone to be asleep, did they? I picked up my one year old and left my older daughter with my mum while I poked past the 1st class curtains.

Irate TeacherLady (trying not to lose her cool and get thrown off the plane as a rabid terrorist): If you wanted my daughter to be quiet, you should have asked me nicely and not snatch.....

Bitchy Delta Flight Attendant: Is there anything I can get you? Some water, juice, a snack?

I rolled my eyes in disgust and said "no", when I really should have said "excuse me, let me finish what I was saying" as she was obviously embarrassed that her male companion was hearing part of my complaint and she hadn't wanted him to hear the rest. I should have humiliated her, but I was exhausted after hours of trying to keep my kids happy that I didn't bother to fight it. It's a good thing I didn't, because it seems Delta really is fucked up.

It was the only flight service that didn't provide me with an infant seat belt or infant life jacket. This particular flight didn't check to make sure all passengers had belts on when they should have, they didn't help with my bags, despite seeing I was obviously overburdened with the kids, my bags, their bags, and poor mum struggling to help me and KLM had leapt to offer such help. They didn't press passengers to clear the space at their feet (I'll openly admit I was an offender here, as I had my stash of snacks, toys, books, etc at my feet, ready to whip them out as needed, but while the KLM crew had reminded me to keep it as clear as possible, the Delta crew didn't seem to give a shit.) One similarity between all Delta flights is the apparently huge inconvenience it is to ask them for a damn drink. I went to the back to ask for water for my daughter's bottle and these two flight attendants saw me, continued their conversation until finished, THEN turned to ask me what I wanted. When they did get the water, it was like I had asked them to turn the plane around and get me only the water from melting glaciers in the Arctic because anything less wouldn't do.

I'm going to send a letter of complaint, which I'm sure they'll dismiss as swiftly as that woman did, but at least I'll have had my say.

Damn, Delta, you REALLY suck.


calencoriel said...

There is nothing worse in the world than having someone else correct your child in front of you...particularly as if you weren't even there.

I'm sorry to hear that happened to you...and I'm really sorry to hear that the Delta flight attendants were so shitty to you. My sister in law is a flight attendant with Delta and very often flies international. I hope it wasn't her...but she has talked about some of her colleages in disparaging remarks, so we'll just pretend it was one of those morons and not her.

Julie said...

I'm convinced that most airlines are shitty. Sort of like cell phone providers and cable providers. Most of my experiences with Delta flight attendants and crew have been positive, but the European crews (Air France, KLM, Lufthansa) are always twice as awesome. I'm sorry that happened to you, ugh.

Now, I'm not a parent, but would it have been better if she had corrected your child (not saying your child did anything wrong, per se, but playing devil's advocate) but did it in a different way?

calencoriel said...

No. You do not correct other people's children. EVER. If the child is doing something you find annoying, you confront the parent.

The only time a stranger or hell, even a friend/family member for that matter, can correct your child is in a life threatening event.

"NO!!! Don't eat the powdered sugar doughnuts! That's actually arsenic!!" is acceptable...but that's about it.

TeacherLady said...

If my kid had been doing something dangerous, it would have been fine for her to correct her, but in this instance there was nothing to "correct". They were laughing and not making enough noise to REALLY warrant a complaint. I like quiet, so it's not like my tolerance is especially high for noise or anything. Julie, it's true that you end up selecting the least shitty choice out of a bunch of shitty choices.

Calencoriel, unless your sister-in-law flies from Paris to our city, it ain't her. If it is her, ask her to write my daughter a nice little apology note :)

TeacherLady said...

PS: Julie, good to hear from you! I love stopping by your blog once in a while to get the scoop on edible delights!

TeacherLady said...

Seems Jet Blue also favors angry flight attendants...

Story here.

Julie said...

TeacherLady, I spend so much time on planes now, I hear "shitty flight attendant" from three miles and my ears perk. ;)