A friend of mine has been a ticket agent for Northwest Airlines for 20 years. As you can imagine, he gets irate people all the time, especially up here in northern Michigan with weather problems. He says he can tell the degree of someone's anger by the speed with which that person approaches the counter - if they're walking fast or running, they're really mad! The volume of the complaint doesn't help anyone.
He's found a pretty good way to diffuse a lot of situations: He holds his hand up and tells the person, "I don't know what happened to you before you got here, but it wasn't my fault. What can I do to make your day better?" Most people then start to realize that HE is holding the cards and the nicer they are to him, the better their chances of getting the problem resolved.
So, one more example of common sense, courtesy and a lesson to us all.
I have found that people who don't admit their wrong, even when they know it or it has been proved that they are wrong, don't admit it because it could show weakness. I personally find it a sign of insecurity and lack of maturity.
__________________ Cruisemates Community Leader/Moderator
"There is a great difference between being well traveled and just having been to many places." ~Me
I know that sometimes it's hard NOT to be upset but as someone said, you get more flies with honey.
Once we came back into JFK from Switzerland. We wanted to see if we could get on standby to get on home that night, although our original plans called for spending the night in N.Y.
We spoke with the ticket agent, who was used to dealing with hard noses --- he just told us in not so pleasant terms to have a seat, that there were a lot of others wanting on the flight, etc. He wasn't exactly friendly but we just said thanks and sat down. After a little while he called us back to the counter and said there was nothing he could do for us, again in a not-so-friendly tone.
I had noticed most of the people had been giving him a pretty rough time so I just said something to the effect --- thanks anyway-- we know you tried and we do appreciate the effort -- He was so taken aback about our kind attitude toward him that he really didn't know what to say for a few seconds. He then said--wait a minute --let me what else I can do--give me a couple minutes.
After a couple of minutes he called us back and we were on our way. All because we had been nice and hadn't given him a hard time-- I felt sorry for him but I guess he was floored by someone being kind to him instead of treating him like dirt.
Another time we had flown into Miami on a very rough flight. Our connection on home had us toward the rear of the plane. I recognized one of the ladies at the check in gate and went over to her and said " I was here a few months ago and remembered that you helped me out with a problem and I really appreciated that. I explained about our very rough flight and asked if we could possibly be moved toward the front of the plane on this flight. She smiled-- checked on her little computer-- said sure--- how about seat # 1 in first class ? Again, all because someone was nice and had remembered her help from a few months previous.
This doesn't work every time because many times there's actually nothing they can do but at least by being nice, you will get further toward resolving a problem by treating the other person like a fellow human being
than by talking down to them.
Being nice to the person you want help from does go a long way. I work for an airline too... and if the first words from someones mouth is "to demand" something they will usually get very little from me. However, if someone treats me with the respect that I deserve I will try to help them if it is possible.
My favorite complaint is from people who demand that they their ticket be transfered to another airline when their flight is delayed due to the weather in their destination or enroute. They will typically call their spouse or friend at home who will say the weather is fine there. While the weather maybe fine now... 4 hours ago it wasnt and there is the backlog of flights to arrive into the destination or when weather is enroute... pax never seem to understand that there are thunderstorms topping out at 40,000 feet and they will be in a flying "tin can" surrounded by jet fuel in the wings. My favorite comment back as they swear under their breath that they will never fly my airline again is that I am so sorry that we make passenger safety a priority or If I could get you on a plane to get you out of here, I would because we BOTH would both be happier - but since neither of us can control the weather, we will have to work together.
The real moral of the story is.... if you really want something... put yourself in that persons shoes. Yelling, swearing or being abusive only puts the other person in a defensive mode. Rather treat them the way you would want to be treated and you are probably gonna get them to help you out.
lindseysmom....have you EVER worked for the airlines?
If you haven't you would never understand where wiscguy2 is coming from. Sometimes these passengers are not "there" they don't realize the situation and no matter how "nice" and "sweet" you are, unless you get them EXACTLY what they want they won't be happy.
I have had the pleasure of working for two major airlines and just have to say...sarcasm has helped me to maintain my sanity.
I think it would be safe to say that whichever side of the counter you're on, the person on the other side will respond best to being treated kindly. That said, though, anyone who deals with "the public" day in and day out is bound to become a little worn out from the demands, so it really makes a difference when the "customer" shows some patience and understanding. A little humor can help, too!
Golden Princess 8/30/2008 -- 1st cruise but not the last!
My flight out of Oakland last week was delayed.
After about 20 minutes the pilot announced that the altimeter was not working properly and had to be replaced. He added that unlike driving a car, flying a plane was 3 dimensional and it was pretty important for him to know how high the plane was.
He told us it would be another 30 minutes before we could take off.
You would not believe the groans throughout the cabin.
So I stood and said "I vote for fixing the plane before we take off!"
Plane shut up right there and then.
When I was leaving the plane after landing the flight attendant thanked me and handed me a 50% voucher for a future flight.
Peace through superior firepower.
Back in 2002 my wife and I took our kids on a seven day cruise on the Explorer of the Seas. We purchased our air tickets five months in advance of our cruise so we would not worry about the increase in price. On our return trip we boarded the plane back to NYC when a rude man approched my wife and told her she and my two sons were sitting in his seats. My wife said that it must have been a mistake and said she would not vacate the seats. He then began to curse and repeated to tell her again to leave his seats. My wife being a tough Irish redhead stood her ground. I could not believe he would speak to my wife like that and was ready to punch this jerk in the mouth. The flight attendent rushed up the moment he began cursing and checked our tickets. Seems this SOB had standby tickets and lied to my wife and the flight attendent about purchasing his ticket weeks in advance. The desk attendents had made a mistake trying to get him a early flight. He and his party were asked to leave the plane and return to the check in counter. They never returned so I assumed they took the later flight.
Joe323, admitting you are in the wrong helps, too. I've only been stopped twice for speeding and both times I just said, "I'm sorry, I wasn't paying attention and I didn't realize I was going so fast." Both times I was just given a warning...... making excuses is fatal...... just own up to your mistake.