I got this email from a reader last week, and it’s been bugging me ever since.
I took my first American Airlines flight in a decade two weeks ago because they had a nonstop to the conference I was attending. On my return flight, a red eye, two flight attendants were talking to each other so loudly that I was woken up and could hear them through my earplugs. I tried to catch their attention, but they were too busy talking to pay attention to passengers, and I didn’t want to use my call button on the off chance someone could actually sleep through their chatter. American has yet to respond to my complaint.
Question: how would you have handled this during the flight? And am I wrong for wanting more than a lame “we’re sorry” from the airline, considering I was completely useless without having been able to sleep?
I’ll be honest—this is a hard situation. People expect to be able to sleep on a redeye—that’s why the lights are turned off and announcements are kept to a minimum. It’s totally understandable that flight attendants would get bored on such a flight. It’s also likely IMO that they just didn’t realize how loud they were being, not that they were being purposefully loud. That being said, when a business traveler is on a redeye, they need to sleep so that they can function upon landing, and it’s bad customer service to ignore that.
How do you politely let the flight attendants know that they are being too loud without being obnoxious? I would probably get up and go talk to them, apologizing for intruding but letting them know you can hear them through your earplugs. A less direct approach would be to ask for some water—hopefully this would gently remind them about the passengers and they would stop talking and go about their job duties.
Typically, when I am on redeyes or long haul flights I listen to my white noise app with earbuds or noise cancelling headphones. That way I don’t hear people talking, announcements, or dishes clattering.
As far as getting some sort of acknowledgement from American, unfortunately I wouldn’t expect too much. Sending a detailed email, including your Aadvantage number, is always a good idea. There probably won’t be much in the way of compensation.
Readers, how would you have handled this situation?
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