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Verbally Agressed by American Airlines Flight Attendant

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I would like to express my concern and dismay regarding a recent flight experience with American Airlines.

My husband and I were returning from a business trip on the American Airlines flight 1952 departing from Miami International Airport at 20:15 June 9 2006, arriving at Pierre-Elliott Trudeau Airport in Montreal at 23:39 June 9 2006, when we were verbally harassed by an AA Flight Attendant who refused to properly identify herself.

Allow me to provide a brief but detailed explanation of the facts and events that unfolded on this flight:

My husband and I were seated in seats 13E and 13F of the aircraft. At approximately 22:45, I decided to use the lavatory prior to the pilot commencing his landing. As I got up from my seat, I noticed that access to the lavatories at the rear of the aircraft were obstructed due to a Flight Attendant who was pushing the beverage cart; so I sat back down. Understanding my discomfort in being unable to use the restroom, my husband suggested that I use the lavatory in First Class. Therefore, I made my way towards the front of the aircraft, to the lavatories in First Class.

As I was about to enter the lavatory, the Flight Attendant who was seated in front of the Cock Pit door addressed me in a very rude and aggressive tone and said 'Get back to your seat'.

I was taken aback by her tone and demeanor, and responded by asking, 'I beg your pardon?'

She then repeated in a rougher tone 'Get back to your seat, this is First Class'.

Wanting to explain my intentions I responded 'Ma'am, I'm here because I need to use the lavatory desperately, and the lavatory in at the rear of the plane is blocked by the beverage cart. Can I please use this one?'

Her response, once again was 'Get back to your seat. Don't make me tell you again' ' but this time her tone was not only rough, but much louder.

I was so stunned by her lack of compassion, empathy and customer service that I simply returned to my seat without a word. Seeing my shocked expression, my husband asked me what happened. I explained, and he got up to speak to the Flight Attendant in hopes of getting her name so that a complaint could be filed. Not only did she refuse to provide her name, but she was equally rude to my husband.

Shortly after my husband returned to his seat, the Flight Attendant in question marched down the isle, stopped at my seat, leaned over me and shoved her finger in my face and began yelling 'WHAT DID I SAY TO YOU!?'

I was so stunned that all I was able to mutter was 'Ma'am, don't yell at me'.

She ignored my plea and continued to yell with her finger pointed at my face, using very unprofessional language. At this point several passengers sitting around us were staring at the commotion, most of which were my husband's colleagues as they were all returning on the same flight from the business trip.

I finally managed to muster a response and said 'Ma'am stop yelling at me. All I asked was to use the bathroom. Is this how you represent American Airlines and provide quality customer service?'

She rebutted by yelling even louder 'You gave me attitude!!'

Finally my husband cursed and told her to stop yelling at me. She then leaned over to him and said in a menacing voice (her finger was now pointed in his face) 'You can't speak to me that way. I am a Crew Member and I have the power to have you arrested for harassment'.

I then jumped in and said 'If anything, you should be accused of harassment. You yelled, embarrassed and aggressed me in front of 150 plus witnesses for asking to use the lavatory!'

With that, she turned on her heels and walked to the rear of the plane.

The damage had been done and as a result my husband and I were uneasy and shaken for the remainder of the flight. When we finally landed, we were greeted at the gate by authorities who took a statement from the Flight Attendant and one from my husband and I. The authorities also encouraged us to file a complaint against the Flight Attendant.

I have to stress the fact that in all of our years of traveling (we fly very frequently) we have never experienced such poor treatment from an airline Crew member whose primary concern should be the comfort and safety of their passengers. Both my husband I have flown First Class on several occasions (to Europe and abroad). We are fully aware that the First Class lavatories are reserved for First Class flyers, however I stand firm in my belief that exceptions can be made depending on the circumstances. I can honestly say that I did not feel safe after falling victim to the Flight Attendant's erratic behavior and unprofessional demeanor.

As a Communications Coordinator and Public Relations Specialist, I understand the unsurpassed importance for an enterprise such as American Airlines to maintain an image of quality, safety and professionalism, and to provide a memorable experience for passengers, especially in the day and age that we live in. As I am sure you are aware, word of mouth travels quickly and one negative customer experience overshadows ten positive experiences. Several of my colleagues and media contacts fly with American Airlines, and I am confident that after hearing of my experience, they will choose to take their business elsewhere. As consumers we have a vast choice of airlines to travel with, and due to this experience my husband and I are considering bringing our business to another airline unless appropriate action is taken.

I feel that my husband and I should be compensated for the embarrassment, fear and total disregard for human decency that we experienced at the hands of this Flight Attendant. Her work ethic, attitude and demeanor, from what we experienced, should not be tolerated by any company that values their reputation.

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