Too Rude to Fly?

Last week, I was lucky enough to travel to Paris for a short vacation. I’ve traveled to Paris before, and I’m familiar with what to expect on the 10+ hour flight. With three DVDs, two books, and snacks in tow, I thought I knew what I was getting myself into. Unfortunately, I failed to prepare for one thing… poor customer service at 30,000 feet.

In my experience, the flight attendants on this particular carrier are never particularly high on what we call “service orientation” here at Hogan, but the treatment was so poor that I’m considering a personal boycott against the company. What made it so bad weren’t necessarily the grumbles when I asked her about her day or the condescending tone when she asked if I was able to sit in the exit row, but rather the judgment and questioning of my age when I ordered an adult beverage. That’s right… alcohol. Granted, I will give her this – I look considerably young for my age. I was recently carded for a rated-R movie, but that’s neither here nor there. The usual jest that ensues after people realize I’m really older than 18 was absent. Several passive-aggressive jabs were extended my way, even after producing my passport demonstrating my age. The flight continued along with same theme, and I fully expected Candid Camera to show up upon landing.

I want to give the flight attendant the benefit of the doubt. A delayed flight likely prompted my rude flight attendant’s stress. Her Bold (HDS) and Colorful (HDS) antics likely contribute to her charismatic charm on a day-to-day basis. However, this charm is intensified into derailing or moving-against behavior under stress. Perhaps she is simply more prone to stress and pressure. She surely wasn’t perceptive of the increasing frustration among the passengers with her quality of service.

Perhaps she simply isn’t cut out for the flight attendant role, as one of Hogan’s Industry Case Studies suggests. Findings indicate that more successful Flight Attendants are calm under pressure, perceptive and tactful, rule-abiding, and concerned with building job-related knowledge. If I were a betting woman, my flight attendant missed on several of these behaviors. In my opinion, Hogan scales aside, she was simply too rude to fly.