Surly Ticket Agent

June 7, 2010

in Airport Stories

The flight itself was actually fine – it was getting on it that was really annoying. About 3 or 4 years ago my husband and I had a weekend trip to Vegas planned with a direct flight on American Airlines from DFW to Vegas around 10:30am on a Friday. On Thursday afternoon, the day before the flight, I check online to verify the flight times and print our boarding pass. That’s when I saw that it showed our flight the next day had been cancelled. I was surprised b/c I am signed up online as a frequent flier on AA and normally receive notices of anything about my flight changes in advance. I think maybe it’s a computer glitch so I call AA and am informed that the flight is indeed cancelled and they were sorry they hadn’t sent me a notice yet.

I inquire as to the reason for the cancellation and am told it is for “weather.” I immediately call BS on that (in a polite way) with the phone attendant as (i) why would they cancel a flight for weather that hasn’t even occurred yet and (ii) the weather is Dallas was fine and the next day was predicted to be partly cloudy with nothing unusual. The phone attendant told me that was “all she could say” as to the reason for the cancelled flight. I took that to mean that she knew it was a lie but couldn’t do or say anything more about it b/c that is what she had been told to do by her superiors. I said as much to her in a sympathetic way and she was actually quite nice on the phone and seemed a bit embarrassed about having to lie. At any rate, I move on to trying to get my flight rescheduled. Naturally, she tells me the best she can do is a flight getting in after 11pm on Friday. I’m pretty unhappy about that as we were originally scheduled to land in Vegas close to 11:30am so that means we lose an entire day. I haggle with her some more and she finally says that she can get us on a flight arriving at 3pm. Satisfied but annoyed, I accepted it. She said nothing about the class of seats or the type of plane and I didn’t inquire.

When the revised reservation shows up on my online account later in the evening, I see that we she actually gave us 2 first class seats! I was pleasantly surprised and felt that made up for the lying and the cancelled flight. We arrive at the airport on Friday and go to the self service check-in kiosk (I tried to print boarding passes online but it said I had to check in at the airport b/c of the revised schedule). The self service kiosk instructed us to see a ticketing agent. I had printed the revised itinerary from online so I took it to the first class line since we supposedly had first class tickets.

Here is where it got interesting. I walked up to the agent, smiled, said hello and gave the him my name and I.D and handed him my itinerary print-out. He does the usual typing away into the computer and then stops, looks at me with an incredibly disdainful look and in a very, very rude, loud and accusatory tone of voice asked me “How did you even get these tickets?” I was taken aback at how rude he was. He acted like I had forged the itinerary or that I had stolen his personal seat or something – it was so blatantly rude that it was weird. At that point, I had had enough of American Airlines as I had been extremely polite to AA employees despite the inconvenience and obvious lies. I leaned forward, looked at his name tag and replied “Well, BOB, your airline gave me these tickets b/c it cancelled my original flight and lied about it. Do you have a problem with that or do we need to call a manager over now to discuss it further?” His mouth dropped open a bit as I think he was surprised that I didn’t cow before him, but he decided to shut his trap and issue us the tickets. After he printed them he practically slammed them down on the counter and he started to storm off without so much as another word. I picked them up and called after him “Thank you for your kind service, BOB,” and walked away to enjoy my flight in first class. What is wrong with airline employees??

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

LAHMaine June 8, 2010 at 1:21 am

Bravo!!! What a great way to handle the situation. Turning on the charm irritates them even more.


Jody June 8, 2010 at 4:11 am

Bravo indeed.

The next step should be a letter or e-mail to American Airlines customer service detailing Bob's name, the dates and times of the incident, and a complete description of the circumstances. May or may not do any good, but maybe it'll give AA a wakeup call.


Julie June 8, 2010 at 1:20 pm

Do you think that airplane just "magically" appear at your airport? They do have to come from somewhere to get to DFW to take you to LAS. That "somewhere" could have weather and maybe AA didn't have another aircraft to swap it out with. The info that the phone rep has is very VERY limited:



DFW 640P B B15

SGF 1 6 755P


OC TL *1810


This was taken directly from a reservation system and is says that it was cancelled for "MECH" reasons, which means it had mechanial issues. That's all info the phone rep has. I don't think she was lying to you, there just wasn't any more info for her to give you.


NayNay June 11, 2010 at 1:28 am

Julie, you are exactly the kind of dumb-ass who would believe that a flight would be canceled due to weather that hasn't even happened yet.


Julie June 12, 2010 at 11:20 am

Excuse me, NayNay?!?! I am not a "dumb-ass", I am a former airline emplyee and currently working as a Corporate Travel Consultant that has had to handle many, MANY situations like this. In fact just this past winter both DFW and ATL canceled several DAYS worth of flight because snow/ice storms that they were expecting over the course of days. Another example would be the volcano in Iceland just last month.

I will spell it out in hopefully an easier way for you to understand. Say the aircraft is in DEN and suppose to fly to DFW then to LAS. DEN gets a ton of snow and is closed down and all the planes are stuck there. Because there is no other plane to send to DFW for the DFW/LAS flt the DFW/LAS flight is canceled due to the weather in DEN.


xxx April 19, 2013 at 11:10 pm

you must be a dumbass if you worked for an airline


Howie Feltersnatch June 12, 2010 at 1:10 pm

Yes , Julie I am sure that you are an absolute authority on airline policies since you were at one time a stewardess oops I meant airline employee. The fact is, and I am sure many will attest to this fact, that the airlines stock in trade is lying to the customer about damn near everything. Since you are now a"consultant" you should know that a cancellation is most always initiated because the flight is not completely booked and better yet oversold. As far as mechanical cancellations go it is extremely rare due to mandatory inspection and maintenance schedules overseen by the FAA. Weather delays and or cancellations in the winter months do happen but again are thankfully rare. Your citing of the Icelandic volcano as a reason for delay or cancellation shows your lack of understanding and may I say knowledge of that situation as the major European airlines and government flight entities are still pointing fingers at each other over the admitted overreaction to that event which cost billions in lost revenue. The lying starts at the time you attempt to make a reservation and if you doubt me simply make a reservation on any major airline up to the point that payment is necessary (get a quote on a fare) then tell them you will get back to them. Immediately call back the same airline and I guarantee you will get a different quote on the same ticket, same flight, again if you doubt this simply give it a try and you will understand how disingenuous these companies really are. I have had to fly for my business most of my adult life and there was a time the airlines were glad to see you and appreciated your business and ticket agents, flight crew and ground support were all very professional and cordial, however this has not been the case since the airlines were deregulated and went on their money grubbing free for all some thirty years ago. Again I am sure that you were aware of this since you were at one time an airline employee. Hopefully I have spelled this out in an easier to understand way for you so have a great day and ba bye you condescending cow.


20lorraine June 13, 2010 at 7:28 pm


Like Julie (was), I too am an airline employee. I love to take on passengers like you. Your post is so far from truth it's pathetic. You use every cliche in the book (airlines cancel flights because there are not enough passengers, mechanicals are an exaggeration, etc.). If only you knew what you were talking about.

Weather happens, mechanicals happen, air traffic delays happen. All of these things (sometimes combined) do reek havoc for passengers. If I were that AA agent I would have downgraded that passenger right back into coach and would have been perfectly justified based on the price of the ticket. I do it all the time when reservations personnel take it upon themselves to do an upgrade mistakenly.

Honestly I love to take on passengers like you – blubbering know-it-alls; windbags – the more grief you give us the less desirable seat you will end up in – that lovely middle seat in the last row. Threatening to talk to a supervisor will get you nowhere. Any good supervisor worth their salt would never authorize a F-class seat for your cheap-azz $89 ticket.


Julie June 15, 2010 at 8:15 am

Thanks! I couldn't have said it better!


MB June 15, 2010 at 11:37 am

I could say it better. 20lorraine is a moron. You don't seem far behind. I like how she's so pathetic that she thinks giving someone a crappy seat is amusing – it's clearly a power trip for her, which says a lot about her low intelligence level and insecurities. The sad part is that she should be there to assist passengers (i.e. customers), rather than trying to "take them on" after they've been incovenienced, whether for legitimate reasons or not. I'm sure her airline would be thrilled with her service-oriented attitude. Also, it's not "reek havoc." Does havoc smell bad? Idiot.


xxx April 19, 2013 at 11:11 pm

just so you know, people get jobs with airlines when they are too stupid for mcdonalds


MB June 15, 2010 at 5:56 am


Find a new job b/c you clearly hate yours and don't belong in a position that requires you to deal with the public. Perhaps a career doing data entry in a warehouse is more your speed. Your attitude is pathetic and is one of the main reasons the airline industry has such pathetic customer service ratings. BTW, it doesn't sound like the reservations agent made a "mistake" as the customer (yes, passengers are customers) went back and forth with the reservations agent on the flight options. Who are you to downgrade someone that has paid for their ticket and been totally inconvenienced by the airline that supposedly wants his/her business? You would only do so out of spite b/c you're a petty person and it's probably the only way you feel that you have any power or importance in your small meaningless life.

Also, the passenger clearly indicated that he/she walked up to the gate agent w/o an attitude – they were just trying to pick up their boarding passes. It was the gate agent (presumably someone as miserable and stupid as yourself) that was rude first. It was inexcusable and uncalled for. Despite your protests, airline employees can and do lie. For instance, if you downgraded someone simply b/c you could and they wanted to know why, what would you say? Would you fess up that it was b/c "you felt like it" or b/c "you didn't like the look on their face"? B.S. You would make up some stupid excuse about overbooking and you know it.

Seriously, please start checking the want ads now for a new job. I'm sure the airline you work for won't miss you and neither will its customers.


20lorraine June 15, 2010 at 5:13 pm

Yeah MB,

I'll go look for another job (eyes rolling)……Why would I ?……I make $23/hour and yes, I do have the power to deny someone a F-class upgrade due to someone else's stupid mistake.

You ask what would I say if I had to tell someone I was downgrading them ?…..I would say "Your $89 fare does not merit us giving you a F class seat worth $890 dollars. This was clearly not correct on the part of Reservations. Since we have seats in coach, we will seat you there".

Actually I'm an expert at doing this with a smile. Sort of like having the ability to tell someone to Go to Hell so that he or she will look forward to making the trip. By the way, I'll leave you with a SMILE.


MB June 16, 2010 at 6:11 am

$23 an hour. Wow, you must be so proud of that accomplishment (eyes rolling). Your trailer home must be super nice. To be honest, after hearing that your comments make more sense now. I can see that you hold a grudge b/c the best you can do is your hourly wage job. You have no incentive to do a decent job. I can't imagine what it feels like knowing that you've reached your peak and it's being a gate agent. Sad.

In case you didn't notice, the original poster did not ask for or demand a first class seat. It was given to him/her so an expectation had been set by the airline. You also continue to fail to acknowledge that the gate agent was rude first and for no reason (and that perhaps there weren't any coach seats available). The cost of the ticket, whether they originally paid $89 or $800, is irrelevant. Again, I'm sure that booting a paying customer just b/c you can makes you feel better about yourself given your lowly circumstances. Congratulations on being a jerk and keep smiling all the way home to your trailer park. Cheers!


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