Tag Archives: Flight delays

Overheard on a flight

Do you ever listen to other people’s conversations on flights?  Well sometimes you can’t really help it.  My experience is that if someone is having a conversation in the seat behind me it almost seems like they are talking right into my ear.  I am not sure if it is the pressurised cabin that creates this but this is maybe the reason so many people use noise cancelling headphones.

So yes – I do listen to other people’s conversations on flights – and I am not the only one it seems.  Lots of situations – some good – some bad – result from this.

Let’s look at a good one –  a young teacher from Chicago was on a flight in the US and started chatting to the next passenger.  She told him she taught at a school in a low income area and how the school community helped the kids by providing free breakfast, lunch and after school programs.  Her conversation was overheard and other passengers were moved to donate money – read the full story here  Read the full story here

That’s nice.  A happy ending.  Here’s a not so happy ending…. Have you ever been on a flight and felt fed up with the service.  Maybe you are delayed – stuck on the tarmac – frustrated.  You lean over and voice your dissatisfaction to your travel partner.  The flight attendant overhears you and you are kicked off the flight.  Sounds incredible?  But it’s true.  That’s exactly what happened to Whitney Miller and her father after hours of delay they were complaining to each other.  What they didn’t know is that the person behind them was a flight attendant with the airline.  She obviously was fed up about this and had them thrown off because she felt they were a “threat”.  Here’s the report AND some video

And what do you think would happen if someone sitting behind you tweeted out all the details of your private conversation to the whole world … well not exactly the whole world but 63.000 followers …Yep.  That is exactly what happened when a young good looking couple sat in front of Rosey Blair on a flight.  Now I have to confess that although Rosey has 63.000 followers I have never heard of her …. however.  I digress.  So the young couple started chatting and exchanging information.  They are both personal trainers and obviously were getting along famously …. too famously in fact because Rosey was tweeting live time about their conversation, how they looked at each other and even the fact that they both went to the washroom at the same time.  Really????  Over 630.000 retweets.  Goodness me.

The poor girl got totally harassed and insulted and had to delete all her social media accounts.

So there you go ladies – next time you get seated next to a handsome hunk on your flight  check who is sitting behind you and if you think they are tweeting about your private conversation maybe you just want to spill your coffee all over their phone!

spilling coffee

Now tweet that!

How to complain

When you travel stuff happens.  We know that.  Flights are late, transfers don’t arrive and sometimes hotels don’t meet up to your expectations.  Having been in this business for more years than I care to confess online I have seen a wide range of travel problems and also a wide range of how different people (and companies) deal with this.

Getting there – the flight – Wow.  Is there anybody out there who has never been impacted by a delay, a cancellation, a “we’ve run out of meals” situation, a mix up in seat selection?  If there is please let me know because that would amaze me.  I remember boarding a flight once in New York with my family (2 adults and 2 kids) with our seat selection clearly stated on the boarding pass only to find once on board that the row we were assigned to did not exist.  We stood to one side while a harried looking flight attendant got everybody else on board while she tried to figure out where to seat us – and yes – we wanted to sit together.  She had the brilliant idea of upgrading us to business class (thank you very much) until she realized we had 2 kids (5 and 12) and suddenly it appeared that we were not eligible for an upgrade.

I think we deserved business class!

I didn’t complain at the time – or afterwards.  Should I have?  I might have got a voucher for future travel from the airline but in the moment all I really wanted was four seats together for me and my family.  So it’s all about priorities.  I was living in the moment and when we eventually got four seats together I was OK.

Another time checking into a flight at an airport I pointed out that I had originally reserved a particular seat and now it had been changed for no reason that I could see.  “Oh” – says the check in agent “You will have to speak to your travel agent about that – they are always doing that.”

“Um … I am my travel agent.  I made the booking.”  She had no answer.

Everyone has a different way of dealing with travel problems so I want to use an example of a very reasonable couple who experienced problems with their vacation and how they dealt with it.

Let’s call them Dave and Heather.

The flight – a special seat selection service had been booked and prepaid with printed documentation and tickets stating the seats.  At check in they were told that these seats were not on the “manifest”.  Dave and Heather pointed out that they had paid extra for this service.  They were asked to produce their Visa receipt????   They realized they were not getting anywhere so offered to pay again for the seat service but were told they could not.  Go figure.

At the hotel they had problems.  Now it is strange but sometimes it is like a weird kind of karma.  Once something starts going wrong those ripples turn into waves and those waves turn into a tsunami.   It went from bad to worse.  The staff were well meaning but ineffective and Heather decided not to waste her precious holiday time with negative feelings and complaints.  It was therefore a bit of an eye opener when a few days later, while standing at the reception desk, she witnessed an absolute melt down with someone checking in and after raising the roof the staff quickly upgraded this person to a presidential suite.


Hmmm – Heather thought to herself.  Maybe being polite and optimistic is not the way to get things done.

Isn’t that sad?  Doesn’t that say something about today’s society.  The Squeaky Wheel – the Threats – the loud voice.

So what should you do when things go wrong when you travel?  Here are a few pointers

  • Take down names. Most airline staff have a name badge.  Make a note of the time.  Airlines and hotels can check shifts and names.
  • Contact the onsite rep – if you have booked through a tour operator there will be a local rep who will either be based at the hotel or will have a desk or contact number so you can reach them and make them aware of your concerns. The local rep keeps in touch with head office in Canada or the USA and is the one most able to quickly deal with any problems.
  • Keep your travel agent up to date – a quick email just advising that you have had problems (and maybe a brief description) and that you are in contact with the local rep. Your travel agent will then be able to monitor things on our side with the tour operator in Canada or the USA.
  • Write it down – a full chronological report of all and everything that went wrong is a great help. If you have your cell phone take a few pictures too.


But keep your complaints real….. not like these courtesy of Thomas Cook UK.

“The beach had too many fat people …it was gross.”

“The street signs were not in English.  I don’t understand how anybody can get around.”

“The local women were too beautiful.  It made me feel bad about myself.”

“No one told us there would be fish in the sea.  The children were startled.”