Because They Can

October 5, 2008

in Attendant & Pilot Stories

It had been ten months since a major auto accident left me unable to walk without the use of crutches. In December ’06, my husband and I took a vacation to the northern California coast – a short respite from all the therapy and a much needed change of scenery. The trip was lovely and helped center us again. On our way back to Miami we had a change of planes in Atlanta. We boarded the Delta flight and settled into our seats. Because I was on crutches we were ushered onto the plane before the general boarding call. As it happened, Delta had double booked my seat and the second woman wanted it, as it was closer to the front and had extra leg room. Apologetically I declined to switch seats with her as I explained about my leg and showed her my crutches. It was at that point a flight attendant attempted to convince me to switch seats with her, as her seat was in the back and closer to the bathroom. I respectfully declined. I should mention here that my husband and I were unable to get seats next to each other so he was sitting somewhere mid plane. I should also mention that the flight attendant, Mr. H, and the second woman were of the same race, and I in this particular threesome was the minority.

Three quarters into the flight and as they were picking up the cans and cups from the passengers, I needed to use the loo. The flight attendant with the drink cart was in the back blocking the aisle to the rear bathroom so I headed for the front. Mr H, who hadn’t so much as looked at me the entire flight since I wouldn’t give up my seat, rose from his own seat and stood between the bathroom and me, arms folded. “You can’t use this one, you’ll have to use the one in the rear.”

I asked him if there was a rule about not using the one in the front and mentioned that I was on crutches and couldn’t he just let me pass? When he said no the second time I called him a flaming asshole control freak and turned to ask one of the other flight attendants – when he made the call to have Homeland security waiting for me when we landed in Miami. Apparently, my “Behavior” was “Suspicious and erratic.”

I used to love to fly. I remember “back in the day” when the crew of an airline were friendly, helpful, and acted as if they enjoyed what they do.

It was eleven thirty pm and we had been flying all day. As my husband and I were being questioned by the authorities and everyone else had disembarked, the flight crew was bringing up the rear. When Mr. H strolled by, grinning, I asked him why he made such a big deal out of this whole thing and his response was, “Because I can.”

And there you have it. Your flight is hell “Because they can.” And they wonder why business isn’t so good anymore?

{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

carey culbert October 26, 2008 at 7:14 am

i'm a travel agent and i hope you let the airline know about Mr H, reading that story made me furious! i'm so sorry that happened to you.


JL October 27, 2008 at 6:49 am

Lady, what the FA did was wrong but what you said was wrong as well. You're obviously racist and homophobic.

Was the lavatory at the front of the plane in 1st class? Then, yes, the FA can require you to use the one in the back.

You both needed to get over yourselves.


Luna August 11, 2015 at 12:50 am

How is she homophobic?


RedHead0186 August 13, 2015 at 11:26 am

Presumably because she called him a "flaming asshole."


Anonymous October 27, 2008 at 1:05 pm

what she said couldnt be further from the truth!thats exactly what he is!hsa nothing to do with being homophobic at all ,he is an idiot!like most of them nowdays,they need to learn attitude control,cabin crews suck ,they arent worth the fuel it takes to haul them around,hey,now theres a cost cutting idea!


ruru October 29, 2008 at 12:18 pm

this is ridiculous this should not happen to anyone. I hope you reported this to the appropriate authorities and I hope you will keep on contacting the airline and anyone who listens to this. although they do have the right to stop non first class from using first class cabin restrooms, this not hardly enforced in all cases and when one has special needs then it is less likely even to enforce this rule. however clearly this guy had some self esteem problems that he wanted to take out on one he view in an inferior position. I would also report this to homeland security because I sure as hell don't expect them to be involved with brawls over restrooms when they are supposed to be there taking my money to protect the airways. I would not let this go if I were you.


Anon October 30, 2008 at 7:34 am

Yes, of course the airline will listen to the crazy lady who describes people by their race and calls them flaming assholes. Yup, that's exactly the way to get your point across.

There are 2 sides to every story and then the truth. This woman is nuts. There may be a grain of truth in what she wrote but her attitude would get her nowhere. Anyway, this was 2 years ago so it's done now.

Here's a hint. When you don't like the way someone is treating you, you don't treat them worse.


Anonymous October 30, 2008 at 5:49 pm

Yes, there IS a rule against you using the bathroom up front. Did you give him a chance to tell you that or did you pull out the “flaming asshole” remark before he could?


WAH October 31, 2008 at 7:14 pm

When you saw him in the airport you should have wrapped the crutch around his head.


Anonymous December 10, 2008 at 7:14 pm

Exactly as someone else said, there's 2 sides to every story.

And, if you called me that name, I would be the one in jail as I would bitch slap your ass


Anonymous December 11, 2008 at 1:58 pm

you would also be sued!which you should be.


Rachel April 2, 2009 at 10:12 am

My husband worked for DHS ICE and it is true that some attendants try to abuse their position. On a flight he was on, one flight attendant was behaving verbally abusive to a couple, however because he witnessed the event, it was the attendant that was removed and luckily not the passengers.


jaymoney April 2, 2009 at 10:27 am

Mr. H has a sad existence. Those are the limits of his life. Be happy that you only shared a few hours with him, because has to spend the rest of his life with himself.

ps Sounds like Mr. H had a "DEEP tan"


Ralph April 2, 2009 at 11:03 am

I like popcorn.


tina April 2, 2009 at 11:30 am

I have never been on a flight that has prohibited people in the back to go to the bathroom in the front or vice versa. A handicap person should be helped in every way possible by flight attendants! With an attitude like that, he should have had to have carried her to the bathroom!


ben April 2, 2009 at 1:27 pm

Please contact Delta Airlines, request a Customer Service Supervisor and explain what happened, using real names of the FA's and keep it civil. Mr H violated an FAA regulation dealing with handicapped individuals on commercial airlines, which came out of the Disabled Americans Act. If there are witnesses to the incident, Mr. H will lose his job and the union (Association of Flight Attendants, CWA) will agree without hesitation.


jag April 2, 2009 at 2:16 pm

You had to use the 'loo'. That was the problem. If you said the F!@kin toilet, people would have understood your pompous ass.


Anonymous April 2, 2009 at 3:27 pm

Even using the idea of it happening because you are a minority puts you on the level of a Nazi, Klan member, etc….its called a racist. Get over yourself. Not everyone of us blame things happening because we're the minority.


Anonymous April 2, 2009 at 3:29 pm

As others have said, your description of the event does not make you sound like a saint. Calling somebody a flaming ass makes you sound like a jerk, despite the unfair things that happened to you.

I am totally with you that this guy, Mr H, was totally out of line. However, try to not escalate the confrontation when you can only lose — get a photo of the guy on your cellphone and write a nice letter of what happened to corporate HQ.


J April 2, 2009 at 7:46 pm

Ok, so seeing as this person had a clear medical issue, the fa's should have been accommodating. Regardless of the fact that the poster appears to be racist, clearly something of the truth is missing from this story because the flight crew are not going to treat someone like this for no reason


Jeff April 2, 2009 at 9:41 pm

There's racism, and stereotypes, and if your going to try and tell me that a lot of young males (regardless of skin color) in todays society dont act like a "gangsta" that grew up in the mean streets of ______ (even though they most likely grew up in a middle class suburb). All that aside, yes there's a rule against the front bathroom, HOWEVER, there are stipulations that say if someone has a special need, say, a broken leg, they are allowed to use even the first class bathroom if its closer. Personally, I dont get why they care if its first class or not…either way its still the same shit and piss.


kevin April 3, 2009 at 2:40 am

wow, doug… such clear thoughts coming so soon from your major head trauma. Anyways, I call BS on this story. The part about Homeland Security is made up. It's not how they operate. They would have questioned the FA and several passengers if they had indeed wasted their time in such a way. Was probably just Aiport rent-a-cops. This disillusion poster hinted that she was victim of the old "lets gang up on a minority and convince her to switch seats" scam. I think what really happened is she called a straight guy a homo and he called in a verbally abusive passenger. She got what she deserved. Trying to make us feel sympathetic for your disability… shame on you.


Anonymous April 3, 2009 at 11:40 am

"When he said no the second time I called him a flaming asshole control freak "

Reading this made me decide that the rest of your story is bunk. Judging by this ridiculously out of line response, I am pretty sure there is a lot more to this story, and I would like to hear Mr H's side. Im sure Mr H had every reason to call your aggressive ass out to homeland security, and Im sure you were not so "respectful" when you said you wouldn't change seats.


Anonymous April 4, 2009 at 4:11 pm

To me it sounds like FA was being racist not the other way around and did she call him a homo it sounds to me like the ones that read she said flaming asshole was looking at her calling him that so who is being homophobic?


Vic April 5, 2009 at 6:49 am

I can't believe those flight attendants! I know if somebody called me a "flaming asshole," I would immediately reverse my postion and do everything I could to accomodate you.


n April 5, 2009 at 10:41 am



nicole April 6, 2009 at 11:00 am

I'm sorry, but them being "miniorities" was relevant how? That detail could and should have been omitted and maybe I would have some sympathy until I get to the part where you cussed at a flight attendant. Common knowledge that they can have your ass arrested upon arriving,so, I would have sucked it up, rolled my eyes, and limped my ass to the rear of the plane to use the "loo."


Anonymous April 6, 2009 at 1:41 pm

so what if she cussed at him?he is a flight attendant,whats the big deal?she didnt threaten him with harm,they arent anything,no better than anyone else.just a service person in desperate need of an attitude adjustment.


Steph April 7, 2009 at 5:19 am

The fact that the writer felt it necessary to mention that the attendant and the other passenger were of the same race made me wonder just how of the irritation was due to the attendant's and passenger's behavior, and how much due to the writer's pent-up resentment against minorities (they all stick together, right?). Yelling profanities IS a stupid and childish thing to do. The attendant is no better than anyone else, nor are they any worse. Not mentioned is whether the toilet up front was in the First Class cabin. I don't like it, either, but prohibiting Economy Class passengers from going up to First Class to use the toilets is a common practice (not a whim of one flght attendant). If I see a toilet blocked, whether by an attendant and cart, or someone else, I usually am able to use it by simply asking. I can understand the writer losing their temper in the situation, but it's nothing I'd brag about if I were them.


ringo April 10, 2009 at 3:01 pm

coach passengers shouldn't be using the 1st class restroom!!

ugh! i hate it when ppl from coach come into first class to use our restroom- we paid extra to have a peaceful cabin with out people walk thru or waiting in our isle or having us wait to use it.

the FA was right and i wish more would enforce the rule that coach shouldn't be able to use first class amenities!


RN April 12, 2009 at 5:34 am

I like popcorn, too!


Anonymous April 15, 2009 at 12:20 pm

Doug should be shot.


rolf April 22, 2009 at 2:16 pm

I went through FA training. The real control freaks are the managers in the training school. It is even forbidden to drink water from a bottle if not through a straw. It is horrible, and Im glad I was out of there. The pay was good though and we got to fly around. But airlines just have a sadistic attitude towards their attendants.

Some FAs arent really smart. Some of them are irritable and make a big deal out of anything. I dont know why…

Lots are usually ok, at least where I used to work.

It all comes down to the recruitment office. I have to say, the airlines where I was trained chose their applicants well, although there were some exceptions.

The training school was crap, but i guess if you have a good personality you should be able to survive this wihtout becoming like the FAs you described.

You should not let that discourage you from flying. Im pretty sure that guy is an exception, but I know the type you are describing and there are a bunch working in the arlines. But theyre a minority. You can go to the purser and report him in such cases, a report will be written (please do!! you would be doing a favor to yourself, the airlines, other passengers and most importantly to the rest of the crew… Im serious)


rolf April 22, 2009 at 2:29 pm

And by the way… I really dont like asking that… but is Mr. H Chinese Asian? (all my respect for Chinese people… i just want to know if my guess is right… if it is then forgive me… if its not, then call me a racist and Ill admit my fault)


Anonymous May 22, 2009 at 8:21 am

You got what you deserved.


butterinmymouth May 27, 2009 at 11:20 am

To all the posters hung up on the "minority" comment: Read carefully. The writer states plainly, "…and I in this paricular threesome was the minority. She makes no mention as to what race she, flight attendant "Mr. H" or "second woman" is. She is not identifying herself as "a minority" in general; she is pointing out what she, rightly or wrongly, believes are racial politics somehow influencing this situation. Which could be myriad. Some posters' comments makes nasty, racist insinuations, however. Why is it important for those posters to know–or conjecture– whether Mr. H has a "DEEP tan"? Or if the two attendants are Asian? Do not so hastily assume ANYTHING. Nor be so quick to dismiss….


MW July 15, 2009 at 2:25 am

Fuck waaaah. You couldn’t turn around and just go to the back bathroom? Dumbass, I’ve been on crutches for a while now, and if there is something that has to happen, I’ll do it. It’s not that hard.

Fucking idiot.


Voice of Reason July 23, 2009 at 6:08 pm

I like the way being truthful hurts your rep in this story. The poster ADMITS to calling him "a flaming asshole control freak", but BECAUSE of this admission she is treated like she is lying. Yes, the events probably transpired differently, but even I must admit when i get angry i can't recall what i do during that time with perfect accuracy. If anything, admitting the name calling should lend credibility to this story.

Finally, the "racism" BS: this might not BE racist. Look, is a race mentioned for either the poster OR the others? Could something else, such as nonverbal gestures have led to the poster's conclusion? Drawing a conclusion in this way is actually fairly reasonable. for example: "I'm being treated like crap from three different people, but they don't seem to treat each other this way. What is different between us? Are they all the same gender? Friends?" eventually leading to the conclusion "similar skin color". I will admit, I can see how one may draw the conclusion of racism, but I have been the "odd one out" on more than one occasion, and I reached the conclusion that my not receiving what i should have was based on the fact i was the only one in the group of 10 that wasn't in their clique.


Mack October 27, 2009 at 9:37 am

Sorry about your leg.

But you made assumptions about people based only on their race and gender. So you LITERALLY don't have a leg to stand on.


Anonymous2 February 26, 2010 at 5:49 am

FA's need to be held accountable for misusing homeland security. That what clear up many of the complaints on this website.


Anonymous2 February 26, 2010 at 5:50 am

I meant that would clear up many of the complaints. =)


Sophie May 11, 2011 at 8:50 pm

Wow. I would have clothes-lined him with my crutch then proceed to beat the flaming snot out of his arrogant ass. Hey, if you're going to have Homeland Security called on you anyway, you might as well have all the fun you get to have to actually DESERVE it, lol.


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