Airlines Behaving Badly: Crispy Luggage, Crying Babies and More

Sep 28, 2018

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Vent session, anyone? In the second installment of our series, “Airlines Behaving Badly,” we take a look back the worst of airline conduct this week — and it hasn’t been pretty.

Let’s get into it:

Middle East Airlines Deplanes 150 Passengers for President

We begin this week with a strange one. How often are 150 people kicked off a passenger plane because the president has a meeting? Well, three days ago at Beirut–Rafic Hariri International Airport (BEY), Lebanese President Michel Aoun had to get to New York for the United Nations General Assembly — which was bad news for everyone on Middle East Airlines Flight 308. The passengers weren’t pleased.

It would be a long time until passengers made it to their intended destination, Cairo (CAI), as they faced a lengthy nine-hour delay. Middle East Airlines has since issued an apology, claiming that the deplaning was “out of their control.”

United Crew Member Disparages Mother for Crying Baby

A United Airlines crew member had the gumption to tell her a mother that it was “absolutely unacceptable” for her baby to cry for more than five minutes in business class. And unfortunately, this is only a small chunk of the drama that ensued between the mother, Krupa Patel Bala, and crew member on board the 13-hour flight from Sydney to San Fransisco. Bala actually detailed the exchange via Facebook, but here is a highlight lowlight reel of the worst parts:

  • Told her babies aren’t allowed in business class
  • Told her child was stressing out the crew
  • Gave her unsolicited parenting advice
  • Threatened to move her, her husband, and 8-month-old to economy
  • Said that allowing a baby to cry for more than five minutes was against the “United Airlines Handbook.”

We’d like to see that handbook. Thankfully, in addition to United releasing a public apology, she has since been offered a refund for her troubles.

Spirit Airlines Burns and Shreds Luggage

It’s not every day that someone’s luggage is returned to them in a trash bag after all of their belongings were shredded and burnt to a crisp. However, in an exceptionally bad case of luggage handling, Spirit Airlines has managed to do exactly that. Exhibit A:

Adding insult to injury, Spirit barely tried to compensate the passenger, Ivy Ford, for the damages until ABC News’ I-Team got involved. Eventually, Ford received her $480 and $100 in travel vouchers from the airline, as well as the usual public apology. As for what happened to the luggage? Spirit believes the damage was caused by some sort of a friction burn. Interesting.

American Airlines Reduces Inflight experience

I guess this doesn’t exactly classify as “bad behavior,” but boy does it hurt. Joining the ever-growing list of unfortunate trade-offs, American Airlines has not only increased the prices of booze aboard its flights, but it’s also jettisoned the complimentary Bose headphones from first and business class on international flights.

Luckily, the noise-cancelling headphones (which were a TPG favorite) are to be replaced by Bang & Olufsen’s H9i model headphones, which retail for about $499. We’re struggling to find a bright side about the rise in drink prices, however. While it might disparage some of the more unruly drunken passengers from getting belligerent, prices before the increase were akin to happy hour in New York City. Now, with the extra dollar tacked on to every beverage, drinks are just expensive enough to irritate. Nobody wants an $8 beer.

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