United Flight Attendant Trashes Travel Blogger, Defends Trump Immigration Policy

Zach Honig is former editor now editor at large for The Points Guy. I’ve had the good fortune to know Zach, he’s a good egg though perhaps a bit of a United partisan.

United introduced the old fashioned as a cocktail on its premium transcon flights this spring. Zach was naturally excited to order one while flying San Francisco – Newark on United’s Saturday 2:50 p.m. departure flight UA2044. He was refused.

Fortunately the flight attendant ‘found’ it. But without the candied orange peel.

It turns out that the flight crew had kept the orange peels for themselves, but a bit of prodding got them to release one to Zach.

The flight attendant getting drinks for Zach was wearing headphones.

Another flight attendant ate a business class salad during boarding.

That’s disappointing of course, but a good reminder for me that as much as I criticize American crews — and as reasonably good experiences as I’ve had with United’s crews over the last 18 months or so – they suffer the same failings.

There’s little to no consequence for poor service, which means United can invest all it wants in their premium seats and amenities but those are ultimately delivered by people who may only care because it’s in their nature — institutionally the airline doesn’t incentivize good service, they don’t provide disincentives for poor service, and indeed they’ve even been looking to cut costs on performance bonuses.

United 757 in San Francisco

All of this might have disappeared into the Twitterverse, but United flight attendant @gianna1809 chimed in. (She denied being a United flight attendant in the twitter thread but Airliners.net has photos of her in uniform.)

First she defended the crew, there really was only one old fashioned to offer. That’s obviously wrong because Zach got seconds.

She rolled her eyes about alcohol and emphasized that United flight attendants aren’t really in the service business.

Our hero even seems to suggest Zach is a drunk (I’ve had more to drink whenever we’ve been at the same event).

She defends crew eating in the galley during boarding suggesting they were doing passengers a favor, they could have chosen not to work and blow off the flight, with passengers either delayed or cancelled. Thanks for the favor!

I sure hope I don’t get @gianna1809 on my next flight, both for her outstanding attitude towards her job — and for her lovely take on current events.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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. Something tells me you won’t have to worry about seeing this particular trained safety professional on a future flight. . .

  2. The scariest thing about the Trump era is that people are empowered on a massive scale to just blatantly lie. No surprise that this dirtbag flight attendant is retweeting propaganda justifying the extremely inhuman detainment and separation of children from their parents.

  3. Looks like @Gianna1809 won’t be honoring us with her Twitter presence no more.

  4. A United employee publicly and falsely calling Zach a drunk? Hope he has a good lawyer to get a quick, juicy settlement for libel!

  5. @Ray. I agree with the sentiment, but I don’t think we can blame Trump for people lieing on Twitter – they’ve been doing that for quite a while now. He may well have joined in, but it’s Twitter and FB etc. who should hold the can for the behavior which they publish and disseminate.

  6. Poor cupcake Zach…..all of that gushing about United Airlines got him nowhere. The little baby wants his VIP service.

    Maybe he should have quit after he flew on United’s final domestic 747 flight to Hawaii and took the Saks Fifth Avenue bedding off the plane. He loved United back then.

  7. So no one who voted for Trump or supports Trump should work on an airplane? Why is that relevant to the discussion whatsoever?
    You inject your political views into so many of your posts, and then have the nerve to lambast others for promoting theirs on their own personal twitter feed.

  8. I know domestic flying among US carriers seems to be a race to the bottom and the world seems to be filled with entitled snow flakes but where has any semblance of customer service gone. It’s amazing how simple kindness by a FA can make things better for every one (and I honestly observed a AA FA helping a customer with a tight connection get their bag from the back after the head FA refused). So they are out there, but I actually worry, that instead of rewarding the good behavior her coworkers will eventually beat her down to the point where she because just another “safety enforcer”

  9. I dunno, everybody in this saga seems like a baby to me. Yeah some people suck at their jobs and steal treats from their employer as a micro-rebellion, some people want to complain about their drink not being perfect and others go way overboard in online comments when they think they are anonymous. Whatever. If they all think these are productive things to do with their time, then so be it. I am too busy for such nonsense. Now excuse me I have more important blog comments to make.

  10. Dealing with bad FAs is tough because if you call them out during a flight then they can make things tough for you. I’ve had issues where they seem to be asking for permission but if I say no, then I don’t think they will be happy and my next 4-8+ hrs on a flight may be very unpleasant.

    For instance on a United flight about 10 yrs ago first class was empty except for myself and one other guy and the FAs wanted to use it for rest. I have no idea whether they are supposed to use it or not but asked me in a way that I didn’t think I could have said no. It wasn’t a big deal but if they are allowed to use it, why ask me? And if they aren’t, why ask me? If I say no do I get no service the rest of the flight?

    Another time in Europe (maybe Brussels?) we were going through security and were entitled to the priority lane and had to use a pass to get through a gate. Some FAs were trying to use it and kept telling us it wasn’t working and/or we needed to go to another line. Anyhow our pass worked fine and they were annoyed.

    Then they tried to pass us instead of waiting in line. It was amusing as the security guy kept pinging her for not doing things properly. Of course my luck being as it was, at least one of them were on our flight and they kept trying to play the “this toilet can’t be used” game with one of the toilets.

    Sometimes if you get in a job you really hate, you really need to move onto another job. It isn’t as if you are giving up a huge salary.

    Of course my last flight out to PHX (bwi-phx) we had a wonderful FA on AA in first class and he was great. I sent in an email complimenting him. On my return flight (PHX-BWI) we had a lady that spent much of the flight sitting down talking to other flight attendants instead of doing anything. It was a real contrast.

  11. How is her tweet about illegal immigration policy remotely relevant to a travel blog. Oh I know you just wanted to bring up trump for clickbait when he has nothing to do with this story. I grow tired of your political views being constantly injected in what was supposed to be a blog about travel and in this article they aren’t even applicable!

  12. It’s the same negative attitude that is extremely pervasive on United. Maybe we can merge the TSA and United since they’re both there “only for our safety”…. United seems to always blame the passenger just like with the ‘put your dog in the overhead bin’ situation. It’s an example of union mentality, you can’t fire me so I’ll just act like a big baby.

  13. There’s literally nothing defending Trump only criticizing Clinton. Click bait titles are pretty low, I expect better from this blog it’s pretty shameful to stoop that far down.

  14. @Blair the tweet is meant to create an equivalence for today’s immigration policy separating children from their families in order to defend the administration’s policy.

  15. The biggest issue here is that a product purchased specifically for and advertised on behalf of the customer is actually being consumed by the company employees, who are denying the product exists.

    It is analogous to Starbucks running a promotion for the seasonal Pumpkin Spice latte with cinnamon-favored whipped cream, and the customer first being told the beverage doesn’t exist, when, in fact, it is already being brewed and ready to serve, and then being told by the Starbuck’s barista that there is no whipped cream–while the barista is standing there, whipped cream in hand, and making him/herself a drink with it!

    İt may seem a small gesture, but the very blatant lying to a customer is NOT the way to maintain a positive corporate culture.

  16. @gary You mean the same immigration policy that the Bush and Obama White House implemented? Remember when Federal Agents took Elian Gonzalez back to Cuba at gunpoint as directed by Janet Reno in the Clinton administration? How about the State of the Union comments Obama and Clinton that called for much tougher enforcement of existing immigration laws?

    Liberals have such a short, selective memory. If they are for it, its good public policy. if Trump is for it, he’s a Nazi. Congress can fix this by passing legisaltion….but Congress is the worst of all. All talk…no action.

  17. Zach Honig is a TRAVEL blogger…that is HIS JOB. I read a lot of his reviews and posts and have noted that he is quick to lavish on praise for good service. His style of writing IS his personality, which accounts for his tens of thousands of followers; he is never mean or vindictive and his observations are always objective. I am also a big fan of United Airlines and as such I always try to give the requested feedback after every flight. I do I believe that it’s just as important to let them know when crew members go beyond the call of duty as it is to let them know when service expectations are not met (just as I appreciate that in my own job). To their credit, even with my lowly status United management has always acknowledged and been responsive to all my feedback, both positive and negative.

    I leave you with this recent press release from United:

    United Airlines Names John Slater Senior Vice President of Inflight Services

    June 04, 2018

    CHICAGO, June 4, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — United Airlines today announced John Slater has been named senior vice president of inflight services, overseeing United’s 24,000 flight attendants. John previously served as vice president of United’s inflight team and brings with him decades of experience and a deep commitment to providing excellent customer service on board United’s flights.

    “John has the experience and passion to lead our Inflight team, and he brings with him a first-hand view of what it takes to deliver great service to our customers,” said Greg Hart, chief operations officer at United. “His understanding and appreciation that we are a people business are clear, and I am excited to have him supporting our dedicated flight attendants.”

    John, who at the beginning of his career served as a flight attendant for People Express Airlines, previously served as vice president of United’s O’Hare hub. Under his tenure in that position, O’Hare delivered its best operational performance ever, and consistently topped the competition in the market. He also spent several years with the United sales group, last serving as vice president of the Americas region.

    His first day in this new role will be Monday, June 11th”

    Good luck, John Slater and the rest of United!

  18. Why are you attacking her for defending the immigration policy that was passed in 1997 by Clinton, but is being enforced by Trump. Was there ANY reason to include this in the story?? She has a right to her opinions, whether you agree with them or not. I thought this was supposed to be a travel site.

  19. @rjb Maybe you don’t recognize that enforcement of the legislation is an executive matter. So therefore the administration has some leeway to enforce the laws as long as it isn’t contrary to the law itself. I’m not saying that asylum seekers who don’t follow the correct procedure haven’t violated any laws, but the enforcement of it can be carried out with latitude.

    Of course, Congress which is controlled by the Republicans could change the law to forbid such type of enforcement as well.

    It’s not about comparing prior situations to now, it’s how to deal with the current situation. If something happened, the same people should’ve expressed their outrage back then as well.

  20. United sucks. Its front-line employees especially suck. And they lie. Repeatedly. Shamelessly. Without repercussion. Have for decades.

    Of course, all the other airlines are the same. Just a matter of degree and which specific deficiencies bother you more than others.

    Nothing ever happens to these slackers. Ever. Anyone who thinks otherwise or expects matters to improve is living in a dream world.

  21. @Gary. Get over it. The pantsuit lost the election. Here’s an idea: if you don’t want to be separated from your kids, don’t come to the border.

  22. Agree this is a loaded Bad taste travel post!

    There are way too many unrelated connections your trying to push!!

    So her retweeting the two black lady’s? You show some true value there! Lol!

  23. @Jose yup plain and simple.

    The “I’m a victim of gangs” is a falsity.
    Think:If your in gang city Chicago or LA is it not possible to move to another city??? It is! Plain and simple. I’ve lived in Honduras and it’s just not true that gangs are everywhere. It’s like US certain cities.
    Sadly, I personally know handfuls of immigrants who spoke these word for asylum and it was all a lie among many other narratives they have come up with! I’ve heard it and it is sadly true!

  24. She needs to get laid. It won’t ever happen on a flight, 95% of the blokes bat for the other side. Maybe she could get some in the cockpit?

  25. Why am I not surprised that the lying troll defending her slovenly, bully ways turns out to be another fat racist Trumpanzee.

    Get this clear slobbos: There is no place on this earth that wants you disgusting, immoral, pussy-grabber defending, hideously bloated traitorous hypocrite rednecks. You fit in nowhere except in this freakshow Russia put into office led by the most hated man on earth, a grotesque psychopath who bleeds his flabby dementia daily as the world watches in utter horror.

    We get that you want your revenge on modernity, women and everything else that spurned and left you behind. But you’re about to be smashed by the biggest correction wave in history. Your Nazi marches in the street days are severely limited and soon you’ll be back in your basement nursing your 500 pounds.

  26. Remove politics from the equation. FAs are there for two purposes, safety and customer service. If they can’t serve their purpose then they need to be let go. Most of us are flying somewhere to go and do our jobs and not flying around on a lark. Whether I am in coach, I’ve been provided the rare complimentary upgrade or have paid out of my personal pocket to upgrade, I expect good and friendly customer service. It is the FA’s job!

  27. The author should be ashamed of this post. It represents malicious manipulation for the sake of clicks. That’s blogger malpractice.
    FAs political views have absolutely nothing to do with her role as a UA FA. Any intelligent person will see right through the fallacy of conflating.

  28. @Kacee unfortunately, this flight was operated on a 28 seat 757. Which was a bigger disappointment.

  29. Interesting read right up to the point you injected politics into your post. I don’t read your blog for your political view and don’t even care what it is.

    You do this so often I read your blog less and less. To bad, because your travel writing is great.

  30. LOL. The left’s hate and TDS MO on full display today. Void of any ideas, nothing but more juvenile insults and name calling.

  31. Is this going to become yet another extreme left-wing blog? The stewardess said nothing about Trump – why was he mentioned? If you don’t like the way illegals are separated from their children try looking at the last administration who had 8 years to do something about it.

  32. Russian trolls and their mindless human clones in the US. Its amazing how fast small minded folk line up to support fascism. I bet its all a few overweight men, sitting in their basements, crying about why life is unfair to them since they cannot just do nothing and get a great paying job.

  33. Thank you for proving my point once again… Void of any ideas, nothing but more juvenile insults and name calling from the left.

  34. Thank you for proving my point once again… Void of any ideas, nothing but more juvenile insults and name calling from the left.

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