Sunday, June 29, 2008

We're American Airlines and by god you better speak American!

American Airlines 767
Originally uploaded by Cubbie_n_Vegas

Don't even think about flying American if you don't speak "American".

Last Monday my family had to fly back to the states from Buenos Aires for a medical emergency with my wife. Don't worry. Everything is just fine now. After a big scare, it was discovered she just has a complication from an infection.

Our flight to Chicago was painful enough, but what made it especially bad was the horrible and rude service everyone received in coach. Especially those that could not speak English.

It seems American's flight attendants are very proud of the English they speak and get highly unruly if you don't happen to speak it too. It doesn't matter that our flight happened to originate in say Buenos Aires where most passengers would normally speak Spanish and not English.

Nope. You better understand English on the flight. After all, you're going to America where they speak nothing but English—at least according to the flight attendants on our flight.

After 10 hours of surly service from the flight attendants, things came to a head at breakfast service. Five rows up form me, a well dressed Porteño couple in their late fifties were being served breakfast and coffee. The flight attendant repeatedly barked, "Sir would you like milk or sugar." However, they did not speak English and did not understand her.

The man tried to explain he could not understand English. The flight attendant would not take that as an excuse so she announced louder, "Sir, milk or sugar? Sir MILK or SUGAR!"

The man tried to talk back in Castellano, but this just annoyed the flight attendant more. "Sir, I don't understand you. Do you want MILK or SUGAR!", was the reply.

Finally she said something like. Sir, I am not required to speak Spanish. I speak English! Just tell me Milk or Sugar!

The man said something else and a flight attendant form my side of the plane told the other attendant to ignore him if he couldn't speak English.

In full disgust the attendant turned away and yelled for the whole plane to hear, "Well you better start speaking English mister, cause your about to be in America. And that is what we speak there."

I couldn't believe what I just heard. That was the rudest and most insensitive thing I have ever heard a flight attendant say. It instantly reinforced the stereotype of the rude arrogant American from the US.

At the beginning of the flight, I even made the faux pas of asking "Que cervezas tiene" to the hispanic looking flight attendant who barked back, "Sir what would you like to drink. I asked again in Spanish, and received a more stern reply, "Sir, what would you like to drink."

At the time I thought she was just pissed because she thought I assumed she (being hispanic) couldn't speak English—A common mistake I made on the North Side of Fort Worth when I was trying to practice my Spanish.

But no. These flight attendants were really put off at having to serve people that didn't speak the same language as them. They didn't even make an effort to use non-verbal clues to communicate. If they didn't understand them, tough!

It is episodes like this that give American (the company) the bad reputation they now have. But worse, it is this kind of arrogant treatment that gives all people from the States a black eye in the eyes of the world.

I am so truly sorry to any Spanish speaking passengers that happened to be on the flight to Chicago last Monday night. Please don't think the worlds worst flight attendants are indicative of all people from the US.

American Airlines, I'm done with you. You have sunk too low on this one. Our relationship is over for good. This is one former "Executive Platinum" million miler that will not fly one more mile with you.

Chau American Airlines!

What has your experience been on American flying back to the US? The same? Or was this an isolated incidence?


pwh said...


Kudos to you for having the objectivity to publish this post about the rude and arrogant behavior of AA flight attendants.

I fully understand that not all Americans are rude, loud and arrogant and I have a number of good American friends. Unfortunately in the eye of the international community, the ugly American image is firmly planted.

I was in a five star hotel in Beijing, China two years ago and I saw this executive type looking American barking orders at a waiter and berating him because he couldn't understand him quickly enough.

I walked over to him and asked the American whether he would behave like this if he is at home speaking to a Caucasian. He was taken by surprise and stopped his rude behavior.

Marc said...

Great post! All of the airlines I've flown that are based in South America do their best to accommodate non-Spanish speaking travelers. I cannot understand why AA has to treat people like sh*t. Never flew int. with other U.S. carriers so I'm not sure if they act the same.

The last time I flew with AA to the States from BA, it was just a horrible experience as well.

A few hours into the flight, around 2-3 a.m., the flight attendants were literally running down the aisle, shining their flashlights into everyone's faces while shouting "ARE YOUR SEAT BELTS FASTENED?!!" No message from the captain, no turbulence, no lit fasten seatbelt sign. This happened a few more times during the flight.

Also, at other times, yelling at people, who just wanted to stretch their legs, to sit down--not in a friendly manner either.

Crazy and sick. They all looked as if they were hitting retirement age so I'm not sure if it was burnout from a long career or they just got their kicks out of mentally abusing the passengers. Maybe a mixture of both.

Anonymous said...

I had mostly good experiences with American, but I've heard not so nice stories.

What other options would be recommended? Continental used to be great, but have not used it in a while, United is more or less the same.


Unknown said...

Disappointing and nasty. Perhaps a reaction to the pseudo-bilingualism aimed at by the American federal and state powers that be, but wrong. Ironical (as shown in the article) when one considers that many Americans don't even speak their own native English well.

Unknown said...


I am glad to hear that everything was okay.

As for the trip, I sure do hope you wrote in to someone at the airline. One thing I do know about many companies in the US is that many do pay attention to complaints. If they get enough of them they might be able to do something about it.

I also fly quite a bit and I have never experienced that type of rude behavior from them. However, if I did I would not hesitate to write to the company about it.

Longhorn Dave said...

Fortunately, I was traveling with someone from AA corporate who gave me quite a few email addresses to report this incident to. I sent off the emails last night and linked to this post.

I'll see what the reaction will be.

I doubt it will make a difference. AA is having some labor issues with the flight attds, and they just are not in a good mood these days.

Longhorn Dave said...

Pablo, I flew Continental down to BA and it was a night and day difference.

The Business class seats were also much nicer than Americans with much more room. I honestly could not see much difference between the seats in Business and Coach on American.

Jon Y. Harada said...

Hey Dave.. this is Jon..we met over at Cussacks and Daniel's wine tasting. Sorry to hear about your experience on AA. It doesn't surprise me though. Many of these flight attendants are older and in my experience...very temperamental. I'm not quite a million miler with AA..but getting up there. I once asked a young flight attendant on an Int'l flight (a long time not sure if it's still true..)why flight attendants on AA Int'l routes are so much older. I was told it is because of their seniority system. Whatever quota system they use..# of hours or miles (I don't remember) Int'l flights meet them much faster. So more senior flight attendants who have first preference to choose routes, often opt for them. The young flight attendants only get those routes if they have whatever the required foreign language skill is for that destination.

For AA corporate who may be reading your blog...Raise the bar for these prized routes beyond seniority! bout a good ol'fashioned merit based system that we "Americans" like to pride ourselves on??

because you'd think holding up a bag of sugar or a cup of milk and pointing at it would be intuitive...but to these flight attendants it is not...

Fourpoint said...


If you ever fly out of NY or Miami try TAM from Brazil, the Brazilian staff is attentive, polite and do their best with the English. Prices are rock bottom too, we flew one stop NY to BsAs for $675 round trip, we scored the tickets on

Anonymous said...

First off glad your wife is OK. What a bunch of BS. We had a super rude flight attendant once on Untied. We asked her what her first and last name was, she changed her tune. Surprisingly, I have had some of my best flights on LAN using AA miles.

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear that your wife is OK! So sorry you had to deal with that ugliness, especially on the way back home for a stressful situation.

It almost sounds too gruesome to be true and makes me sick that people think that way. Doesn't everyone know "leche" and "azucar"? They could show a little empathy.

Erika said...

Not surprised to hear about AA being rude. A friend of mine was on ABC News and Good Morning America because she and her autistic two year old son were kicked off an AA flight by a nasty flight attendant because the boy was supposedly "out of control".

My family and I decided years ago not to fly AA anymore....instead, we use Continental or LAN to go to Argentina or anywhere else in the world. AA was always a bad traveling experience for me.

Glad all is well with your wife.

Anonymous said...

I've flown roundtrip on AA using the Miami-Buenos Aires route 3 times in the last 2 years. I've noticed that most of the flight attendants all speak excellent Spanish. Actually, they usually ask me in Spanish what I want even though it's obvious that I'm of Asian descent. :) However, customer service can range from indifferent to nice in coach.

Anonymous said...

My wife and I flew to NY from BsAs this past April. I also noticed that the flight attendants were all quite a bit older and were quite surly. Funny how we just expect the rest of the world to speak English and conform to us.

Blake said...

Dave, I am a fellow Texan that has a home in Argentina. I fly to Argentina 4 or 5 times a year. I have found over the past dozen years or so that my favorite airline is Continental.

The lines at Ezeiza are a nightmare at United, American, and Delta. Every time I have flown Continental the lines are one tenth as long as all the others. The stewardesses are pleasant and seemingly more relaxed about everything - even after 9-11.

And then there is the cost. I fly to BA first class on Continental by purchasing an H fare then using my frequent flyer miles to upgrade to first class. Total cost is only around $2,200. It used to only cost $1,500.

Before the non-smoking flights went into affect a few years ago, I almost always flew United because they were the only ones flying to Buenos Aires on 747's. The upstairs was strictly non-smoking. I had two small children, one of them, like me, is allergic to cigarette smoke. So flying any other airline was very uncomfortable on a 9 to 10 hour flight.

I have flown American several times, but only in first class. But waiting for my luggage with everyone else, I heard horror stories similar to what you and others who have posted here have said.

My advise: vote with your wallet and stop flying American.


Capt. Edward S. Isaacs said...

Don't worry Dave, AA with its problems with the unhappy unions and exorbitant fuel costs, needs to realize (that rude flight attendant included) that the non-English speaking passenger is a PAYING CUSTOMER and treat him accordingly. End of story.
By the way, I'm also a Million miler with AA, and I'm writing the boss to let him know how unhappy I am about this incident.
Keep us posted if you hear from them.

The Travel Addict said...

Wow... what jackasses. I'd like to think that my preferred airline, Continental, is better than this and they do score much higher when it comes to customer service. Still, people like that are just plain ignorant and should be put in place.

Paddy in BA (Quickroute) said...

I would write a formal letter /email of complaint to AA customer services. It's totally inexcusable and just further tarnishes the bad name Americans have.

I flew AA back to New York after my marriage/honeymoon. I had enough miles to fly business. We had the rudest most uncooperative stewardess imaginable!

I wrote a letter and got an official apology and compensation in the form of flight vouchers.

I'm not suggesting you do it for the comp but I would hope that if enough people complain then it's in AA best interests to root out those responsible for bad service and giving the USA a bad name.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately this kind of behaviour also extends beyond the flight. After a couple of trips to or via the US (one with AA) I have decided to avoid the place altogether when possible, because of the behaviour & attitude of American staff on the plane & in the airport. Now when I fly between Buenos Aires & the UK I book flights which connect in Europe instead of the US, even if it costs more. People flying to the US for the first time are presented with this awful representation of American people.

Anonymous said...

i happen to be a flight attendant for AA, and i find this incident upsetting......there is no excuse for anyone to be treated like this.....i'm certainly not defending the flight attendant, but there are always two sides to every story......90% of my fellow flight attendants really do want to provide good service to our gets harder and harder every day to come to work with a smile and give our passengers a good flight......we all have our breaking points, and obviously this flight attendant found hers.....i dare anyone to walk a mile in our shoes and come away with glowing stories about plane loads of friendly courteous passengers......we are treated like servants and are treated as if WE personally are responsible for high ticket prices and crammed planes......give us a passengers aren't a bed of roses either......

Longhorn Dave said...

To the Anon Flight Attendant:

You are right when you point out that air travel as gotten bad for everyone involved.

The person squeezed the most in the equation is the flight attendant. Your job has become ever more difficult and I sympathized with you.

Something was bugging the flight crew that night and causing rude behavior. It could of been the fact that American just announced they were discontinuing service between Chicago and BA and the flight crew were now out of a lucrative international route. Who knows.

However, service on AA has gotten worse faster than the other Airlines I fly. The continental flight to BA I took recently was the easiest and most pleasant international flight I have flown. Continental always receives good marks on service where AA is now held up as an example of cabin service gone terribly wrong.

After my last flight, I have given up on AA and will not fly them again.

Why pay the $1700 to be treated like crap? I know there my be valid reasons for the flight crew to be in a bad mood. You guys are squeezed by your company execs and then bear the brunt of angry customers.

However, why as a paying customer should I have to put up with it if I don't.

All of that is moot though. My main point is that those of us from the US are viewed badly by world for precisely this kind of unexcusable behavior.

The flight attendant should have tried to communicate in spanish (most everyone I know knows the spanish words leche and azucar).

Even if she didn't know a lick of spanish, why didn't she say oh sorry and raise up a packet of sugar and some milk.

She made no effort whatsoever to accommodate her non-english speaking passengers.

I also find fault with the American policy of only 2 spanish speakers on an international flight from Buenos Aires. Also, why were both spanish speakers in first class where it can safely be assumed most would not have problems with English?

Bottom line... unexcusable behavior, period.

Gail said...

In addition to writing American Airlines corporate, why not send a letter to the editor or an op-ed column about the experience to the Chicago Tribune. I'm sure AA would appreciate it.

Julio L said...

I flew American for the first time in 1994 from Miami to New York...The cabin service was more than terrible. The male flight attendant passed by dropping ( or better throwing peanuts packs) and cans of soda drinks. Not even a fake smile in his face. Back from NY to Miami, I was waiting for the plane to arrive from Montreal or Toronto, and it was delayed. I always like to wacht the airport motion, the planes taking off and landing,so I was standing up beside the boarding area huge window...and a land emplyee barked at me asking to sit and wait.Of course I didn't sit down. And she insisted. And barked again: Sir DO YOU UNDERSTAND ENGLISH?...At that point I was a little bit annoyed and I said. ¿Qué dijo?
Thanks god, the plane arrived few minutes later.

Anonymous said...

As a 23 year Flight Attendant for AA who regularly works the Miami or New York to Buenos Aires flight, I too would like to apologize for your recent flight to Chicago out of Buenos Aires.

Yes, flying is horrible for everyone. And yes, AA has cut the Chicago flight (highly coveted and well paid relatively speaking for Flight Attendants) which affects flight crews choice of trips, relative seniority, pay etc;and, yes, the airline business is a mess.

We AA Flight Attendants have not had any pay raises since 2003, and the airline is still losing money. AA is not offering more senior employees any serious "severance packages" so people feel stuck.

In addition, sometimes we only stay in BA for less than 12 hours before we are forced to fly back to the US. Thus, inadequate rest is a factor too often. The Chicago crews generally do layover for 32 hours so rest should not have been a factor for this crew on your flight so much, but I don't know the details. Sometimes, crews are reassigned on short notice to return to the US, and this always causes consternation among the ranks towards management.

But all of this is no excuse for what happened on your flight, and as a 23 year Flight Attendant with AA who is a born and raised Gringo and who happens to speak fluent Spanish, I again would like to apologize for your recent experience.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,
As a Platinum AA client I understand your pain. I frequently fly to Brazil and have seen the same stupid monolingual flight attendant shouting at portuguese and spanish speakers as to milk or sugar. Also the old attendants tend to be short tempered. AA needs to put in a language requirement for the Inernational flights if it wants to be a serious player. Interestingly I was bumped to a Continental flight back in March and the planes were newer and the service, sorry to say was much better. If Continental is close to the AA price, bye all means go with Continental. Also the Continental partner out of Panama "Copa," is cheap and has nice new planes.

My adventures said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nerd Progre said...

Good post, but I have to wonder aloud: couldn't you do ANYTHING aboard the plane, say, politely telling the flight attendants that as an american you found those rude replies objectionable? or at least translate the options to the poor locals who didn't understand? that's what I'd have done.

Did you file a complaint at American when the plane landed, or just published this here on the blog?.

I'm saddened to say that I don't really think the Corporation really cares if you and your wife decide to use or not the company's services ... you flying or not flying won't make ANY difference to their bottom line.

You saying something aboard the plane, and then filing a complaint after landing -or, say, writing to the NYT-... would have had a much more positive effect than just staying silent, and much later venting here on your blog.

Just my $0.02
PS: Your comment made me remember something Richard Stallman once said... -no offense meant, I'm sure not all Texans are alike ;-)-.

PS2: Nice to hear your wife is OK.

Longhorn Dave said...


I did complain to those in charge on the plane and sent an email to corporate.

On the plane, I immediately called the flight attendants on what I had just heard.

The one who told the offending flight attendant to ignore the guy was on my side of the center isle. I asked her if I heard what I thought I heard from the other attendant.

Her reply was, "we are not required to speak spanish and the man was upset and yelling with her."

I told her I found their attitude unacceptable for all of the reasons I pointed out in my blog and that it was a good thing I was traveling with someone from AA corporate so I would know exactly who to write to make sure corporate was aware of how non-english speaking passengers were treated.

I sent an email to the top execs in charge of "customer experience" and the flight attendants.

I have not heard much from corporate other than to say sorry, give us another chance.

The reason why I won't fly AA again has is that attitude and service are so bad compared to my flights on Continental and Southwest. And AA usually charges the most.

This was just the straw that broke the camels back.

Nerd Progre said...


Oh that's OK then... I misunderstood by my first read that you just stood there in silence while the whole thing happened.

These kind of things (mistreating of anyone) gets on my nerves quickly and I often react (not very politely, usually).

Yet I understand that lately the lightest of arguments with the flight attendants can get you in trouble...

... as highlighted in very a very good parody in the movie "Anger Management".


Anonymous said...

It was with some hesitation after reading this post that we flew down via Dallas on American last week. I do not know if you lowered our expectations but all in all it was a pleasant trip. (Or as pleasant as such a trip can be with a three year old.) I did hear flight attendants speaking some Spanish (if badly accented) and they were pretty frindly as well. Hope I run into them again.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,
I only had one experience traveling to Panama with American Airlines and I have to say, it was the first and the last (first time my husband was visiting Panama, where I am from). I promised myself not to travel with American Airlines anymore (I had always traveled Continental when I was living in Panama). By the way, I have already booked my flight to Panama for next year, with Continental Airlines of course. I don't mind paying extra. I will never fly AA anymore.

About your comment from the flight from BUE, how rude and insensitive to treat someone like that. That flight attendand should be fired, or at least put to work in the mail room. Seriously!


El Jurásico said...

I second the comment above...

are you sure it was AA?? perhaps you choose this airline instead? *VBG*

N said...

I am glad to hear such a story about the rudest company I've ever flown with.

I was flying with AA from Montreal to Buenos-Aires in 2000 (via NY-JFK). We were delayed in Montreal because of a snow storm, however the attendants kept being evasive and telling us we wouldn't miss the connection. When we arrived in JFK, we missed the flight and nobody could give us a hotel voucher... Only families with young children or old people were given one.

The return flight from BA to JFK was canceled. They called me a day ahead to tell me to take the next flight with Aerolinas Argentinas the following day to Miami and spend the night there. When I showed up at the airport, nobody knew where to ask for the "new" plane ticket. It was a mess from start to finish.

I wrote them a complaint, but never received a compensation.

I'll never fly with them again.

(Flew with TAM to Brazil this year, it was great).

Anonymous said...

The whole situation is horrible. I fly to BsAs 2 to 3 times a year out of NYC. I always fly Aerolineas Argentinas, for this very reason. I gave up on AA years ago.

As far as the flight attendants who have posted here complaining about how difficult the airline industry is and how rude customers are. I'm in the F&B industry and yes, people can be a**holes, but it's your job as a service sector employee to "get over it." Or, quit and find another job that you can handle with some modicum of civility for Christ sake.

I mean, really. I will never understand people who stay in situations that they despise (jobs, relationships, whatever). I've always been one for moving on. I've never been afraid of being called a "quitter." And I am a much happier person because of it. I cannot tell you how many jobs and people (family included) I've "walked away from." Life is far too short to be miserable!!

Anonymous said...


I just saw the post about your flight, albeit a month or more late.

Last week I flew to Sao Paulo and back on Delta. The service was impeccable. Not only were they friendly, but there were multiple flight attendants that spoke Portuguese. And those who didn't were still polite and asked for assistance from those who did any time there was a communication problem.

I have always had great experiences with Delta. Also, I'm fortunate that I live in a part of the country where American doesn't fly, preventing me from even being tempted to try them.

Anonymous said...

this story makes me feel bad. i live in the US and am going to BS AS relatively soon. i do not know much spanish and the little i know is very different than the spanish spoken there. i am very nervous about this and the fact that the US has earned such a horrible reputation for it's ignorance makes me fearful of insulting Argentine culture.

Deby N. said...

I haven't been back to the U.S. in over 2 years. I am appalled at this behavior. I guess I don't have to explain politically correct anymore. It no longer exists. Neither does common courtesy according to your post. I hope this is not an example of how people now behave. Makes me glad to be living here. What a way to introduce people to the U.S.

Agustín said...

It's funny what you tell. Last month I had the opportunity to travel to from Buenos Aires to Dallas in an AA fly and I felt the same. I seemed as if the fly attendant wanted to make sure that only English speakers understood her. When the time for meal came she kept repeating "Chicken with riiice or beeeef with mashed potatoooes". And she said it so fast and in such a compelling way that I'm sure not everyone caught what she was saying.

Anonymous said...

unfreakingbelievable. assuming they're tourists, tourists aren't required to speak whatever language just because they are going to the country where it's spoken. and she also doesn't know, whether they were going to reside in the u.s. or not, that they weren't making the effort to learn. i hate that arrogant attitude. how would she like it if she were to go visit a foreign country and were treated so rudely? oh wait, maybe her uncultured ass isn't interested stepping outside her bubble. those people are likely going to spend money in america, and bottom line-they were paying customers of AA and need to be treated well like everyone else.

Anonymous said...

wow...I had the exact same experience as you dave. it was the worst, and the service was the worst. and i could not believe the way passengers were treated because they did not speak english. It is embarrasing for other Americans. whats the deal with aa flight attendents treating people like crap because the whole world doesnt speak english?

Baby Journey said...

I'm a former USAirways flight attendant. One thing flight crews always do when passing other crews (no matter which airline)is nod hello to each other. It's just an industry gesture of recognition that makes you feel at home wherever you might be in the world. However, American Airlines were notorious for rebuffing this and looking the other way when passing another flight crew. They became known as the "sky Nazi's". Sounds like they still live up to that reputation. I hope you wrote the airline about your experience (with specific flight number/date details) so the FA's can be appropriately reprimanded. The crews flying into these countries should have at least one spanish speaking FA to assist with those passengers whom do not speak English. That makes me as crazy as it did you!

Anonymous said...

I have the solution. Tazer the old bag, that'll shut her up. Put her in your seat and then get up and do her meal service, which will allow two things : (1) stretching the legs on a long flight which nowadays they don't even want you to do for "security reasons"; and (2) teach the old bat and her colleagues how it should be done. Then/if when the plane goes down, use her as a raft or stepping stone. Or better still, throw her from the plane to lighten the load. Sorry to say but old bags like that should have been put out to pasture LONG ago. My mother was a 'hostie' in the 60's, when image was important, credibility mattered and the fact then WAS (as it still is) the hostie's job was one of safety AND service. Then, when a hostie married, or became pregnant or reached 40, she was retired or turned to ground work. Being at 32000 feet DOES affect the brain and body so these old trollops who've been doing it for 30 years have literally been fried and should NOT be flying as they are NOT best prepared to add value in the case of an emergency OR provide value-add in service. And for the few good older hosties (and those screaming vicious evil bitter queens as well) who are still languishing around looking for their next tongue lashing victim at altitude, please take note - we don't like you, and your grievance is not our problem. So piss off and let us enjoy what we are paying to enjoy, least not suffer at your veiny wrinkled hand with no recourse in this day and age of political correct, wrap the idiot up in cotton wool, don't say boo nonsense.

Bocio said...

This remind me when I ask to Criterion Collection why they never subtitle in Spanish although the do in several other languages. Criterion is a superb dvd's editor. As they mention in their web, their mission is "to gathering the greatest films from around the world and publishing them in editions that offer the highest technical quality and award-winning, original supplements. Criterion began with a mission to pull the treasures of world cinema out of the film vaults and put them in the hands of collectors. All of the films published under the Criterion banner represent cinema at its finest. In our seventeen years, we've seen a lot of things change, but one thing has remained constant: our commitment to publishing the defining moments of cinema in the world's best digital editions".

But the fact is that in their entire collection there aren't any Latin American film. This is very shocking taking into consideration names like Bunuel, Torre Nilson, Martel, Glauber Rocha and an unfinished list of artist who certainly matchs in their definition of "art cinema".

Their answer was because their sale area is region 1 and Canada and USA doesn't speak Spanish. I didn't know if I shoud cry or laugh with such an answer like this. What about the Spanish market I ask. Doesn't matter.

Bluy ray zone now cover the whole America continent, a continent wich mainly speaks only Spanish. But Latin american cinema is still waiting the big news from Criterion about local editions and Spanish subtitles.

Nerd Progre said...

You should all read this GREAT piece by the NYT´s Roger Cohen. When I read it I immediatelly remembered about this thread here:

URL: of the most juicy bits (pardon the pun):
Imagine poor Correa, assailed by disquieting visions of the mountain of fried fish with jalapeños he’d vacuumed down at the Bistro San Pedro Sula Del Mar, and then — the horror! The horror! — spotting the beverage cart (formerly the food cart) blocking his path to relief.


I can hear the snippy reply from the flight attendants, mostly middle-aged themselves, all of whom think the fun of flying disappeared some decades back — about the same time as their job security and sense of humor — and would rather be sipping mojitos in Sanibel than talking up seven-dollar “wraps.”

“You’ll have to wait, Sir. We’re doing the drinks and tiny pack of peanuts service.”

The intonation of that “Sir” will be familiar to many of you, a tone peculiar to American airline companies, one in which resentment, superiority, fear, contempt and impatience are coiled into a venomous parody of politeness — a three-letter expletive really — that stands the notion of service on its head and tells the whole dismal story of U.S. carriers in recent years.“But I have a bathroom...”

“Sir. Please return to your seat.”

Correa, the jalapeños now fully fired up in his bowels, rues the fact he gave up the high-jump in middle school. He does a quick mental reconnoiter of the plastic bag of toiletries he brought on board: no Diarrex there. He considers some metaphorical “arm-twisting” — like paying $50 for a “wrap” and saying, “Keep the change!”

Not a great idea, he determines, good sense intact even over the clutching of his sphincter, before turning to see the aisle — empty as the coffers at Lehman — stretching away toward the flimsy curtain separating the Business Class section.

Come on, he thinks, that’s over: that whole master-of-the-universe, platinum-card, us-and-them, starter-mansion, you-line-up-over-there game. With five million lost U.S. jobs in a year, that’s history. He needs a lavatory pronto but there’s a cartload of stubborn pique standing between him and a rightful salvation.

“May I use the business section lavatory...”


Correa snaps

When I grow up, ;) I want to write like Cohen...



Juan said...

... and how is any of this relevant to this thread?

Nerd Progre said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I had a similarly bad experience with American Airlines when I was an expat living in Bolivia. The flight attendants were short and rude with everyone in coach. I was technically a resident of Bolivia at the time and requested the resident entrance paperwork. I was rudely refused by the flight attendant and given the wrong paperwork. Of course when I arrived in customs, I had to start over with the correct form. I will never fly American if there is another option (in Bolivia at the time there wasn't)