Airlines get a bad rap, often deservedly so. According to USA Today, two of the twenty most hated companies in America are airlines with United coming in at number 19 and Spirit, not surprisingly, getting the number 9 slot. I think this comes from many of the customer unfriendly policies that the airlines implement, ranging anywhere from non-refundable tickets, excessive baggage charges, Basic Economy tickets and charging for everything from Wi-Fi to blankets and even sodas while onboard. I’ve read post after post of Facebook friends who have been treated horribly by airlines. But here’s a question – if airlines are willing to treat celebrities, Olympic medal winners and national icons horribly, what makes you think you’re any different? Please know that I’m writing this knowing that these celebrities are complaining about #firstworldproblems.
Stories about how badly airlines have been treating “important” people are nothing new. Just recently, NASA Astronaut Buzz Aldrin had to deal with being told that he was too late to check in for his flight on Delta.
If you identify more when sports heroes have problems with airlines, here’s a recent series of Tweets from Manchester United footballer (soccer to those of us in the US) who was kicked off an British Airways flight.
I love this one because of the textbook reply from British Airways to send a DM (and get the rant out of public view). Even sports heroes get the same treatment as us. I also enjoy when anyone calls a company “a shambles”.
I don’t pretend to know much about current music but a rapper claims that an American Airlines flight attendant scolded him for using a first class luggage bin even though he was a first class passenger. Who am I to doubt someone that has 883K Twitter followers.
These celebrity Twitter rants about airlines aren’t new. I mean, how badly did American Airlines have to be to aggravate Geordi La Forge from Star Trek (or the Reading Rainbow guy or Kunta Kinte).
It’s not just on the airplanes that celebrities get poor treatment. It also happens in the airline lounges.
If will.i.am had free passes from the United MileagePlus Explorer card, this never would have happened.
Who can forget when Alec Baldwin was kicked off of an American Airlines flight because he wouldn’t stop playing Words With Friends.
It as if airlines didn’t learn anything about aggravating celebrities. I wasn’t surprised to read that Anthony Bourdain was upset about a flight delay and the lack of information coming from the airlines. When the reason for the delay became public, he wasn’t shy about sharing the reason for the delay.
Lastly, here’s a Tweet from Kevin Smith back when he was kicked off a Southwest plane because the flight crew decided he was too large for a single seat.
So I ask you this – if airlines aren’t afraid to treat celebrities with hundreds of thousands of followers on social media like nobodies, what makes you think they’re going to care about you? For the airlines, it’s all about the bottom line or their metrics and if that means they are willing to leave some people at the airport because they got there two minutes late, then so be it. I guess it can be that airline travel is the great equalizer of our society. No matter how much money you have, how important you are or how much you paid for the ticket, airlines will treat everyone with the same level of indifference, and you have to respect that level of consistency.
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