So I read this story on The Points Guy today that instantly made my blood pressure spike. Not quite to the level of some Buzzfeed SJW hit piece, but annoy nonetheless.
Apparently, over the weekend, an anonymous passenger, which seems a bit bullshitty on it’s own, was assaulted by an American gate agent in Philadelphia. The story goes something like this. And, due to the likely intentional vagueness of the original narrative, artistic liberties are taken, but the story arc is accurate.
Passenger: Hey there! I’m here to check in. I’m Oliver Anonymous and this is my companion Bertha Anonymous.
Agent: Oh, so sorry, your companion’s ID says Bertha Anonymous but her reservation lists Bertha Pernonymous. I can change it, but it will cost $200
Passenger: How can this be! I just time traveled from the year 1985 and booked my ticket through a travel agent. They must have made the mistake. Is there any way this fee can be avoided?
Passenger: Well if you’re going to be so unreasonable, I’d like to talk to a manager, if you don’t mind.
Manager: Hey there, I’m an American Airlines manager, I’m just as miserable as my employees. I understand that you’d like to make a name change for free. Sorry, despite costing us nothing, we can’t do that.
Passenger: Not happy with this little situation I’ve been put in, but just make the damn change and I’ll be on my way, $200 poorer.
At this point, this get a little heated up in the city of Brotherly Love. According to Oliver Anonymous, he politely tried to express his displeasure with the initial agent. In doing so, attempted to snap a pic of the agent’s name tag. Presumably to make some Instagram post that will likely be seen by nobody.
From here, the agent lunges at the passenger, grabs his phone, tosses it and punches his hand. According to TPG, the companion filmed the immediate aftermath and provided them the footage to help corroborate the story.
So, here’s the first sign of things making no sense. What good does it do to film the immediate aftermath? You can’t film something after it happened. Already thinking this story is a lie, or at least a gross exaggeration.
Anyway, from here, the passenger heads to the gate. This also makes no sense. So, according to Mr. Anonymous, he cruised through security after being punched and having his phone thrown across the room. I would think that as this point, most people would see a payday, courtesy of American, and call the cops. Anywho, I digress.
Arriving at the gate, they were told their tickets were cancelled. Then the manager and gate agent performed a quick little Sherlock Holmes detective work and found the original, likely very disgruntled, check-in agent had done the dirty deed.
For all their troubles, the couple were offered a $100 travel voucher in exchange for a liability waiver. This offer was refused and the couple were booked on a later flight, as they had now missed their original.
Now, here’s my take based on years of real-world interactions with self-righteous, hot-headed assholes. I’m guessing both the passenger and check-in agent were letting their emotions get out of hand. You’ve got an AA employee, likely union who can’t lose their job short of well, punching a customer. This person probably couldn’t care less about the passenger’s problems. On the other, you’ve got a flyer, presumably of the “customer is always right, even when they’re wrong” variety “demanding” the airline fix their travel agent’s mistake free of charge. When they refuse, he throws a fit and plays victim. Probably a product of all the millennial-run media that tries to convince everyone that’s what they are.
As far as being “punched”, I seriously doubt it. What I think is likely, is that the passenger whipped out his phone to snap the nametag pic, shoved it in the agents face while thinking “my 47 followers are totally going to dox this person”. From here, I bet the agent slapped the phone away from his face causing the passenger to drop it. Finally, you’ve got the companion filming the “aftermath”, all while narrating the now historical event with his or her version of it. Still bullshit.
So, final thoughts here, I’m torn. Having dealt with plenty of salty passengers and cranky airline employees, it’s hard to take a side. If the events happened exactly as Oliver Anonymous described, which I don’t for a second believe, then the agent is ripe for termination, and potentially a night or two in jail.
But, we’re all in luck. TPG will report back when they learn more. At least they claim they will. I know I’ll be on the edge of my seat waiting for the final results of this high-end journalistic investigation.
H/T: The Points Guy