A British Airways Crew Shows How To Handle A Moron

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I give British Airways a lot of stick (and I mean a lot of stick) for any number of things that I think they fall down on and simply don’t do well enough. I think their Club World product is so past its time it’s in danger of becoming retro-chic and I’ve bemoaned the rapid disappearance of the great British Airways crews of the past who appear to have been replaced by US-style crews who seem to want to be anywhere but where they are.

Things were quite a bit different, however, on my last but one flight (Review: British Airways Economy Class 767) when the crew were really superb throughout – and I said as much in my review. But I left out one little bit of information because I thought it deserved its own little piece – it’s nothing major and it’s not at all newsworthy but I feel I should give credit where credit is due.

Here’s what happened:

Everyone was in their seats on BA662 (traveling from London to Cyprus), the aircraft had pulled away from the gate and we were taxiing towards the runway (we may have even been on the taxiway parallel to the runway at this point).

One of the crew (presumably the Cabin Services Director – CSD) had given us the talk to say that the cabin crew were going to give us the safety briefing and asked if could we could all please remove personal headsets and pay attention.

I was seated in seat 27K (exit row, by the window) and, as the safety briefing progressed, I was aware of a conversation coming from somewhere over my left shoulder – seat 28F as it happens.

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I didn’t think much of it but, as soon as the safety briefing was over, one of the Flight Attendants (FAs) started to make his way, quickly, towards the front of the plane. As he passed by my row, he crossed paths with another FA going the other way and I overheard him say to his colleague “he told me to f*** off“.

At this point I couldn’t see who he was referring to but, as the FA continued his swift walk to the front of the plane, I could imagine all sorts of bad things happening from here. Had this been an incident on a US carrier in the US, I have absolutely no doubt that the Captain would have been informed and we would have turned around and headed straight back to the gate. Once there the matter would eventually have been dealt with – and the rest of us would have had to sit on the plane while we missed our take-off slot.

I really didn’t need any of that. I was only going to be in Cyprus for 48 hours as it was, so sitting around T5 wondering when were going to leave wasn’t my idea of how I wanted to spend my Sunday afternoon.

Less than a minute later I saw the understandably aggrieved FA returning with another crew member who turned out to be the CSD. Neither looked particularly impressed and I was waiting for all hell to break loose.

One FA took up a position behind seat 28F while the CSD and the original FA stood next to and in front of the seat. The passenger was well and truly boxed in and couldn’t have stood up if he had wanted to.

At this point the original FA related exactly what had happened (to the CSD and in front of the passenger) and did it in a surprisingly emotionless and controlled tone.

It turns out that the ill-mannered moron sat in 28F (If I was to guess at an age I’d say somewhere between 18 and 22) had responded to the FA’s request to remove his oversized headphones, during the safety briefing, by not only ignoring him but by hissing “f*** off” at him as well. Good move genius!

With the explanation of what had happened complete the CSD took over.

In a very polite, calm and controlled tone he told the passenger exactly what he though of his behavior and explained to him that he was well within his rights to throw him off the plane (if I had my way we would have done that from 34,000 ft….but that’s a whole other matter). He gave the passenger an opportunity to respond but, if any response was forthcoming, it was given so meekly that I couldn’t hear it. The CSD then checked who this guy was traveling with and promptly warned them about their traveling companion’s future behavior as well.

And that was that. No drama, no delay to the flight (we continued taxiing throughout) and most passengers on the aircraft probably didn’t even know the incident had happened. That’s how you handle a moron.

How 28F didn’t end up with his lunch in his lap or a coffee all over him later in the flight I’ll never know, but that’s probably testament to the crew ‘s ability to just get on with things for the greater good of everyone else.

So, not only was this crew an all round great crew in the regular scheme of things, the ones dealing with this incident were pretty great in dealing with stuff they shouldn’t have too as well. And yes, I’ve contacted British Airways to let them know. If BA can produce more crews like this perhaps there’s a glimmer of hope for them after all.

Featured Image: Princess Theatre via Flickr