Don’t you just hate it when bullies get their way? I flew from Denver to Boston on United today and one of the passengers was quite a character.
He was an older man, about 70, with a tacky plaid sport coat, yellow t-shirt, and khaki cargo pants on, with a full white beard, and those ugly 80’s eyeglasses. He had no status, boarded with zone four (after trying to jump the gun and board with first class), and was livid that he was in a middle seat in the back of the plane.
As he entered the A320, he asked a FA if there was room for his oversized rollerboard carry-on in the overhead bins in the back. The FA said yes and the man huffed and puffed about being too old to sit in economy class.
He gets to the back and apparently there is no more overhead space left and another FA sends him back up, instructing him to gate check his bag. The man goes crazy, uttering oaths at first, then quickly calming himself and blaming the FA up front for telling him to bring the back in the first place.
He complains about being too old to walk his bag back to the front of the plane, but eventually complies when the FA asks him if he wants to fly today (I usually hate such threats, but this guy deserved it).
He gives the gate agent a piece of his mind as she tags his bag, then demands a seat in Economy Plus, an open middle seat in bulkhead row six. His request is denied and the purser explains to him that Economy Plus is reserved for frequent flyers or those who paid $49 for it.
The man gets angrier, saying he should get the seat for free to "compensate" him for having to check his bag. When the purser again says no, he demands to speak to the Captain, loudly stating that he would not be bullied by a two-bit airline. Yes, he claim he was being bullied.
The purser consults with the Captain and they decide to give the loser the seat in Economy Plus. Now the man, with a scowl on his face, wedges himself in 6E (he was also a bit overweight), much to the delight of the passengers next to him I’m sure…
Good thing it was not me in 6D or 6F because I would have protested and requested a Service Director. You could look at it narrowly and say it would have been none of my business and I am not entitled to an open middle seat, but it sets a bad precedent when a bully is able to rob UA of $49 worth of revenue while ticking off the elites who occupied the seats next to him.
The man was quiet during the flight, so maybe it wasn’t such a bad decision afterall–the crew may have reasoned that it simply was not worth messing with a piece of garbage like him. I can’t say that I would have resolved the situation any differently. Expelling him from the flight would only have inflamed matters. Who knows, the quack might have filed an elder discrimination lawsuit.
So that was my adventure this morning from Denver to Boston. Sadly, the bully got his way.