Bits ‘n Pieces for February 20, 2013

News and Notes from Around the Interweb:

  • Hyatt Gold Passport’s Jeff Zidell spends the day with the Freddie Awards that his program has won in the past. He and those awards are BFFs. And he’d like to win more of them.

  • Live and Let’s Fly’s Matthew Klint was kicked off a United flight for taking a single photograph. It’s always hard to be objective when writing about an incident you were involved in yourself, but I do trust Matthew’s rendition of events. Another blogger was on the flight and watched it go down as well.

  • AAdvantageGeek reports that within the next few weeks American first class napkins will again have button holes. Customers passionately pleaded for the return of the button hole after American removed them last year. I like them myself, in a restaurant you put your napkin in your lap (and you can still do that when there’s a button hole!) but on a plane I find it more likely that I’ll spill on my shirt and prefer my napkin to cover the shirt. It’s the little things sometimes…

  • Free Frequent Flyer Miles reports that the mileage-earning Alaska Airlines debit card from Bank of America is no longer available. Not surprising, the Durbin Amendment to the Dodd Frank financial reform legislation made debit transactions no longer profitable enough to incentivize with miles. There are few mileage-earning debit options left (the most valuable being the Delta Suntrust debit card, which I’ve speculated is offered at a loss to attract deposits for a bank that hasn’t fared well in government stress tests)..

  • Is being a flight attendant all that glamorous? Stories of affairs, designer hand bags, and loneliness.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Matthew blew it when he said “I’m not a terrorist.” Pre-flight is always a hectic time for the crew, he should have just waited til the flight was in the air to talk with her.

  2. “Matthew blew it when he said “I’m not a terrorist.””

    There is a comment to that effect on his post. But personally, I think he blew it when, after the issue had been resolved, he reopened by giving his business card to the flight attendant and saying (in so many words) “Do you know who I am?”

  3. Looks like Mathew got B slapped. Little arrogance I guess.
    “Here’s my business card, and take my coat”.. LOL.

  4. Not that it will matter to you, but my tone was not confrontational to the FA. I felt the need to explain to her why I was taking a picture of the seat and I did. I wanted her to know why and have no regrets for doing so.

    A little payback here and on MilePoint, LarryInNYC?

  5. Yeah, I have a fake business card which says I am Dr. so&so with a PhD from Yale; but with that I cannot demand to be a featured speaker at a geek convention. And what’s up with using the prohibited word(s)? If you ask for trouble, and somebody obliges you; don’t complain.

  6. Why not gather up all the labels and use them all at once, comrade, liberal, anti-semite, socialist, redneck, and what else am I missing? There was a time when the word hijack uttered within hearing distance of the airport/airline staff or security could get one in trouble. But that was before you were born. In the present day climate that word has been replaced and multiplied. If that mindset has to be changed, one should take the issue up with the congress and airline executives, not the TSA foot soldiers or the airline crew. Throwing labels at me does not hurt me in any way since I am not running for any political office.

    I am sorry that you had this unfortunate incident happen to you and the flight attendant lied to get what she/he wanted. I share your frustration but don’t agree with the approach to resolve it or the use of a certain word. Call me what you will; but the use of certain words is not going to become acceptable, just because you say so. After 9/11, we as a nation have changed for the worse. There is not going to be a going back to the good old days for the foreseeable future. I have nothing personal against you and I wish you could see the whole forest. Regards.

  7. @Matthew: Payback for what? Did you do me some disservice I’m not aware of?

    You publish accounts of your run-ins with various people whose performance of their jobs you find unsatisfactory, and you publish them in fora that invite comment. Why does it surprise you that a certain percentage of the people who read those accounts disagree with the position you take?

    The only information that I, and the many other commenters who lack sympathy for your position, have is the information that you provided. No one is out to get you, or pursuing “payback” for some reason. We’re just reacting to what you’ve written. Should you choose, you might productively ask yourself what it is about the situations you recount that rubs people the wrong way — or not, that’s up to you.

  8. Agree with others as above regarding Klint.
    It sucked that you got kicked off the plane, but you used a poor choice of words and timing.
    Sh*t happens. Learn from it and move along.

  9. I am seeing an interesting trend here and in the main discussion about Matt’s situation:

    – A noticeable number of people say he contributed to it by using the “wrong” word
    – Many of the same people agree that since 9/11 things have gotten less reasonable in airport security
    – Yet, to emphasize the cognitive dissonance, the FA’s decision is supported

    Sorry, can’t complain about things getting worse if you support the idea of kicking some (possibly) rude jerk out through the abuses that you are complaining about. You either are against them and the jerk gets the same treatment as in any other business or you are for them and everything is peachy.

  10. I think that the “wrong word” issue is a red herring. Was it a dumb idea for Klint to use the “T-word,” regardless of context? Yes. But it was even dumber idea for him to reengage the flight attendant after she had admonished him and walked away. At that point, the issue was settled. There was no need to explain anything more and (as experience confirmed) there was nothing to gain from further discussion.

  11. Sometimes people just want to clear the air (no pun intended), in part so that there’s no awkwardness later. Had the FA been a rational human being, she would have made a crack about “being on her best behavior then” or not wanting to end up on his blog and they would have shared a laugh. Instead, for god-only-knows-what reason she freaked out and overreacted.

    As to the word issue, the FA is not enforcing some absolute policy handed down from on high under threat of losing her job. It’s precisely the front-line workers that are effectively creating the policy, rather, through their absurd fearful and/or power-tripping behavior.

  12. Have to agree with mathlete. if I was going to be flying across an ocean (ie long trip) in confined quarters, I would also want to clear the air with the FA and prevent ongoing awkwardness. She was a beotch on a power trip and I hope Matthew’s story gets lots of attention and she gets fired or at least suspended.

  13. @mathlete Agreed. I have no problem trying to clear the air after a weird confrontation based on an unknown policy. The flight agent should be reprimanded if it is found that she did indeed lie to remove the passenger.

    Having said that, a well traveled person in this post-9/11 world should have the common sense to know that saying “terrorist” or “bomb” on a departing airplane to the FA or anyone else of authority is an invitation to be removed from the plane. Seriously poor choice of words from someone who happens to make money off the words he writes.

    Sometimes both sides need to use common sense….

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