Apparently poor customer service at American Airlines isn’t limited to conservatives, they also stopped a family with a sixteen year old with Down syndrome from boarding a plane over the weekend! Are they just asking for people to stop flying their airlines?
The Blaze explains:
Robert Vanderhorst, his wife Joan and 16-year-old son Bede, who is disabled, were booked to fly on an American Airlines flight from Newark to Los Angeles on Sunday when the boy and his parents were not allowed on the plane.
The family from Porterville had upgraded to first class tickets at an airport kiosk, and asked the airline to seat the boy and one of his parents together, Vanderhorst said – a request the airline granted.
When the family was ready to board, they were stopped by airline personnel, told their son was a “security risk” and would not be allowed on the flight. The parents protested, and later were rebooked to fly coach with another airline.
American Airlines spokesman Matt Miller said the disabled boy was agitated and running around the gate area prior to boarding, which his parents dispute. The airplane’s pilot observed the boy, Miller said, and made the call based on his behavior.
“There’s a reason why American Airlines is on the verge of bankruptcy and trying to figure out how they’re even going to survive,” Glenn said after reading the story.
“There’s a reason why Southwest doesn’t have this problem. There’s a reason why you don’t ‑‑ you don’t see this with JetBlue. These big stodgy airlines that think they can treat people like garbage. They can’t.”
Glenn explained that since he discussed his own horrible treatment from an American Airlines flight attendant on radio, he has received multiple e-mails from listeners who have decided to no longer fly American Airlines.
He read one such email on the air today:
I’m at the Boston airport after a hard day of work and I just read the transcript regarding your experience with American Airlines. Guess who I’m flying home with. Yep. By tomorrow I’m going to write them. It will be kind and professional. I’ll let them know that I will never fly with them again, and I will donate my miles to charity. I’m doing this for an obvious reason: A, the way they treated you; but I’m also doing this because you didn’t ask anyone to do it. You just shared what happened to you. What the flight attendant forgot or maybe never knew is that his life in America is possible because of our Constitution. And I think there’s something in there about free speech. Oh, sure, he exercised his, but not in a way that elevates dialogue. And when he puts on his American Airlines uniform, it is his job to treat all passengers alike, regardless of race, religion, or political opinion. Interesting, isn’t it, that American is going through bankruptcy and Southwest keeps making profits. The employees at Southwest love their job and they love their customers. All of them. But he doesn’t love his job, and he doesn’t love his customers. And the truth is anyone who treats another the way you were treated doesn’t think much of himself, either. American Airlines? I don’t think so.
“I got a lot of these e‑mails, a lot of these e‑mails. I can’t even imagine how many e‑mails American Airlines received. The way to deal with this is you fire the guy. He said in front of the pilot, I said ‘At least thank you for not treating my children the way you treated me.’ And he said, ‘Oh, it was my pleasure; you deserve it.’ He said that to a paying customer. Now, if that’s American Airlines’ policy, to treat ‑‑ to allow employees to treat somebody they disagree with like absolute garbage, I’m telling you I was treated worse than a dog would be treated. If that is their policy, well, good luck with that. I’ll never fly your airline again. The way to deal with it is to fire the guy,” Glenn said.
“Even if you’re the evil bastard he thought you were, you still paid for that flight for you and your family and deserve good treatment,” Pat said.
“By their silence, that is their policy,” Glenn said. “ I as an individual have made the choice that American Airlines does not want my money, they do not appreciate me as an individual, they do not count me as a worthy customer.”
“There was no problem. I didn’t say a word, not one word. My wife didn’t even know. She was sitting across the aisle. She didn’t even know what was going on until we got off the plane. I kept looking at her and she was like, ‘What? What’s happening?’ I didn’t want to cause a problem on the plane. So that’s not what was happening. Somebody judged me just on my face. Just on what they think I am. I had no exchange with this individual, none. The only word he uttered in a four‑hour flight was, ‘Breakfast?”‘ That was it. So there was no problem. And if American Airlines wants to choose and let their employees judge people, God bless you. I’m out. If you want to fly, fly with them,” Glenn said.
While Glenn has yet to be contacted by American Airlines beyond the claim that they are “investigating” the issue, the airline has released the statement below regarding the Vanderhorst family:
We appreciate the outpouring of concern for the Vanderhorst family. However, prior to boarding flight 119 from Newark to Los Angeles, our customer service team observed the Vanderhorst teen yelling and running around the gate area – he seemed very agitated. Our team, along with the Captain of the flight, worked with the family for more than 30 minutes to try and calm the teen down. There were times when he was calm, but unfortunately, when it came time to board the flight he became agitated again. We tried to work with the family to come up with alternate solutions, which included an offer to rebook the family on the next flight in order to give the teen time to acclimate to his surroundings. Our customer service team, as well as flight crew, made the difficult decision that it wasn’t best for the teen to travel at that time. We wanted to make sure that the young man, as well as the other passengers onboard, were safe and comfortable during the six-hour flight.
Ultimately, the family chose to fly another airline, and we helped to re-accommodate the Vanderhorsts.
American’s actions and procedures are in full compliance with the Air Carrier Access Act. Asking the Vanderhorst family to take a different flight was a decision that was made with careful consideration and was based solely on the young man’s behavior.