Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Friendly Skies

I went out to dinner last night with my friend Mark and came across the most rude, loud and obnoxious group of people I have seen in a very long time. It turns out they are flight crew for United Airlines, and so Mark and I agreed that a letter should be written. I did not sign his name at the bottom due to the fact that he flies for another airline and I did not want to cause him any undue problems. Of course, when I went to send it, I had problem after problem with the site as it kept telling me to choose a state of residence even though I had chosen the option of "outside the US or Canada" which just added to the aggravation... Anyway, here is the letter and hopefully they will send a response sometime soon...

I am not sure where I should send this letter as I am unable to find an address for general complaints about United Airlines staff, but I am sure that someone in your department can direct this toward the appropriate person.

This concerns an incident which happened in a restaurant last night in Amsterdam. There was a table of 8 United Airlines flight crew that were so loud, rude and obnoxious, they alienated others in the restaurant and drove many people, including myself and my dinner companion to leave. They were asked several times by to turn down the volume and let other enjoy themselves. They were shouting at one another and the entire restaurant was overwhelmed by them. When we asked them what airline they flew with, the response was “United. Oh, are we being that bad?” It was thoughtless, rude and completely not what I would expect from the staff of a company like United Airlines.

I am an American who has been living in Europe for the past 12 ½ years and it is unfortunately not uncommon to come across the “ugly American” and I would think that given the global climate toward Americans, that your staff would strive to be more discrete, more respectful and more considerate when they are GUESTS in someone else’s country. I am tired of constantly having to apologize for other American’s simply because they lack the basic levels of self restraint and respect for others.

Your staff, traveling around the world have a unique opportunity to help bridge the gap in attitudes toward America. And for the record, people in Europe are not as big of fans of Americans as one may think. Being an American does not afford one to do whatever they wish whenever the urge arises with complete disregard for their surroundings or circumstances. In fact, I would argue that being an American obligates one to be an example when it comes to respect for others. I constantly hear and read that Americans wonder why the rest of the world hates us and I would put this particular example of your staff as a prime example of how those feelings get fueled. I would suggest educating your staff on the appropriate behavior(s) that should be employed when abroad to avoid these types of incidents in the future.

Kind Regards,
Robb Selander

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