Well… yesterday was quite the interesting day of air travel for me. I flew out from Calgary early in the morning, with a full day layover in Saskatoon. Yeah, kind of a strange place to stop, but it was part of my Canada Hopper. So, since I had quite a bit of time, I obviously went out into the city for the day, with plans to be back at the airport about 90 minutes before my scheduled flight time.
Right when I got to the airport an 80 minute delay got posted. Damn. But hey, the flight before mine that was scheduled to go to Toronto was also delayed, only by 35 minutes… but it was still there. So, I figured I might as well try to get myself a seat on that flight and headed up to chat with the gate agent. She told me that the flight was full, and the standby list was too long, so she wouldn’t put me on it. It didn’t matter much to me since I had an overnight layover in Toronto anyway, and I wasn’t even planning on leaving the airport in Toronto considering I had an early am flight back to Detroit the following day.
I gave my parents a quick call because I’ve only talked to them on Facebook and through texting this week, and while I was on the phone with my dad they started calling for a couple of passengers that hadn’t boarded yet. I told my dad I would call him back and went to give getting on that flight one more shot.
Then things got really interesting. The agent printed out the passenger manifest, and told the people nearby that were actually on the standby list that the flight was closed and they weren’t getting on it. I started to head back to call my parents back, but then one of the gate agents started talking about how the pilot was making her ‘break all the rules’ and let a passenger on… so I decided to stick around a bit longer. Next up, the pilot came off the flight and told the six or so of us that were waiting to see what was going to happen that there was room for all of us on the plane, and that we would all be getting on it.
The gate agent was so mad, she swore about the pilot in front of us (after he went back in the jet bridge).
I’ve seen some rude airline staff in my day, but never have I witnessed such an event between two airline employees, nor have I seen an airline employee (the gate agent) behave so unprofessionally in front of customers.
Have you witnessed anything like this? Have you seen a pilot ever come off the plane and overruled the gate agent in terms of standby passengers? Who was in the wrong here… the gate agent for not clearing the standby passengers in the first place, or the pilot for overruling her?
Not only did the pilot make sure we all got on, but as we were all (or at least the couple people near me) were getting off, he specifically remembered us and told us he was glad we were on the flight.