I’ve experienced amazing flight crews during my years of travel. Flight attendants have been funny, they’ve been kind, they’ve gone out of their way to make a journey special. But that’s not always the case, and at some airlines it’s less about the culture of performance or service and more about whether a given employee has their own drive to do a good job.
At some airlines employees can work hard, or not much at all, and the results are the same. They get paid the same. They get scheduled to work just the same.
And in a post-9/11 world it’s important not to challenge their authority because you may wind up confronted by law enforcement. I’ve seen passengers express concern when a flight attendant moved their stuff in the overhead bin, and immediately face an “are we going to have a problem today?” response.
So it doesn’t surprise me that a situation with a 71 year old grandmother flying with her grandchildren ended badly. The woman was flying from Kelowna, British Columbia to Saint John, New Brunswick via Toronto. Her connecting flight was cancelled, and she spent the night at the airport taking the morning flight AC8946.
After boarding the Dash 8 aircraft she says she discovered her seat back pocket had trash in it when she went to place her water bottle there. She asked a flight attendant to take the trash, but reports that he said “I’m a flight attendant, I don’t do garbage.”
She asked again during the flight,
“I didn’t know what to do except I just sat there until the cart came down and I thought OK, I’m going to pick it up and there’s usually a little garbage container on the top of the cart, so I thought I’ll put the garbage in that.”
…“He swiped my hand away, and the garbage, and so my hand came back and hit something on the way, and the garbage flew all over,” she said.
Copyright: ronniechua / 123RF Stock Photo
She admits that she then “pushed the garbage into the aisle with her foot.” That’s when things went off the rails. The aircraft turned around to head back to Toronto. The grandma offered to pick up the trash that had flown onto the floor. That wasn’t good enough.
When they made it back to the airport and escorted her off the plane. Her family continued with the flight as it took off again. She thought she’d be rebooked onto the next plane to Saint John. Instead she was informed she was banned from flying Air Canada.
Air Canada accuses her of kicking the flight attendant, which she denies, and says she any ban on her flying the airline is not ongoing. A witness corroborates her version of events.