I've been reading with avid interest this on-going story with the JetBlue flight attendant. First of all, I should preface by saying that I applied with JetBlue for this exact position and I made it through three rounds before being rejected at the fourth round (there is a fifth and final round, where you are temporarily hired but must continue to pass tests during training to get the permanent position).
Initially I saw this news piece and had to laugh out loud and think to myself, "so let me get this straight, I'm not good enough for JetBlue but this guy is? Suddenly, I'm not impressed with the JetBlue recruiting system." After getting over my bitterness that this guy could get hired and not me, I really delved into the subject - initially I was more inclined towards the customer, since I've had my fair share of surly, rude or just plain oblivious flight attendants, who treat us economy customers like jail house escapee's. Yet, the more I explore the more I side with the flight attendant. Customers really are very rude on flights nowadays, David Sedaris wrote in a New Yorker Magazine article, that we become our worse selves when flying and I have to agree. The customer in question seems to have been in such a rush that she couldn't wait for the plane to come to a full stop or had to be the first up to get to her carry-on. Some say she had breathing medical stuff in the overhead bin, why didn't she put this stuff in front of her? It would have been readily available without getting anybody involved. Why was the customer in such a bad mood that she went to screaming and cursing the flight attendant? Why didn't she behave like an adult, take her complaint to a higher authority?
I'm not justifying the JetBlue flight attendant's behavior (though you gotta be honest it was funny, grabbing a beer and jumping down the emergency slide!), but I can see where it comes from. (I have been wondering how the flight attendant made the get-a-way, he just walked into the terminal, got into the employee bus to go to the employee parking lot, calm as could be? Did he have private number plates
on his car and sped away? No one noticed? Strange indeed!). Certainly I agree domestic air travel today leaves most of us frustrated, with its rat/maze like attitudes and methods towards customers, predisposing us to quick tempers.
Perhaps (and I've been saying this for some years now), we need to have a paradigm shift in thinking, air travel should be seen with the same attitude as one travels the bus or subway, just another form of mass transit and everyone, including the airlines, need to let go of the image of air travel as some glamorous entity. As this example shows, those days are gone!