The glamour and excitement of working for an international airline can at times be diluted by the embarrassing number of adult tantrums and obnoxious remarks inflicted by seemingly professional members of society.
I’m referring to the emotional outbursts fuelled by what I can only describe as first world problems that premium passengers so inconveniently fall victim to. The countless number of occasions where I have bitten my tongue and swallowed my pride, in fear of unleashing a word vomit spiel reprimanding their shameless rant over the seating allocation in business class, is somewhere in the three digit range. Exaggeration? Never. You’ve got to laugh it off though (because otherwise, you’ll cry out of sheer frustration). Needless to say, my experience was on par with the typical soap opera. Surprise guest appearances were common but recurring guest stars always made for an interesting shift. They were notorious for delivering an equally amusing and theatrical performance. For those seeking a juicy account of my passenger interactions, I’ve composed a list of the classic first world problems that my colleagues and I would bare witness to on the daily.
I didn’t get my tax refund on my Louis Vuitton bag and Chanel wallet
The TRS line was always a hot spot for missing passengers. In spite of advising passengers to promptly proceed through to security in order to obtain their tax refund without delay, the majority of passengers failed to take heed of my advice. This, of course, would result in a borderline argument, forcing me to rationally explain to said passenger that they were the last one to board and refusing to proceed to the gate immediately would result in an offload. This was then followed by an Olympic-worthy sprint to the gate (in heels might I add). Who needs an exercise regime when one is spontaneously built into your job role?
I’ve got 10kg in excess baggage and the airline won’t waive it
Yes. Passengers were relentless in their attempts to have me waive their excess baggage because you know, it’s only an extra 10kg. Disgruntled with the reality of their situation and refusing to pay the piper, they would defiantly line up elsewhere in the hopes that another agent would waive or better yet, overlook their excess luggage. In other scenarios, there would be words of profanity spoken and demands to speak to the manager because my customer service was deplorable. To my dismay, it was often the presence of an authoritative figure that would resolve the issue at hand.
I need to be in destination x tomorrow, you need to make it happen
Flight delays and cancellations were brutal. Whether it was due to Mother Nature’s tampering or a mechanical issue, pandemonium would erupt as soon as the inevitable was announced. Despite our best efforts to reassure passengers that we were doing all that we possibly could, we could never quite please the portion of self-involved individuals who in all honesty, needed a reality check. On several occasions, I would be inundated with demands to be placed on another airline because said passenger had to be in destination x by midday and there was no negotiating on that matter. Not even Mother Nature could bring those individuals down the earth.
I’ve got 17kg in my cabin bag and the airline won’t let me take it on board
There’s this thing called occupational health and safety. There’s also this thing called common sense, however, it appears to be a foreign concept to some. We’re all guilty of attempting to sneak a little more than we’re allowed and I’m familiar with the concept of leeway, but when you’re bending the rules that far back, it ain’t cool. My OH&S lessons weren’t always well received. In some cases, passengers would storm off in disgust, promising to never travel on this airline again. Some would go as far to say that they would write a letter of complaint about me – a colossal threat that would leave me shaking in my boots, as you can imagine.
I can’t say I miss the unruly behaviour displayed by so-called upstanding citizens, but I will miss the airport buzz. Three years and six months of starring in my very own soap opera. And that’s a wrap.