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The perils of drink

Old 1st Mar 2010, 14:28
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The perils of drink

I have just been advised by Mrs SO that she was admonished by a steward on a long-haul evening Qantas flight that her request for two wee (6 oz) bottles of wine represented 'irresponsible drinking'. Mrs SO had asked for two as she was travelling in Z class and did not know whether a refill would be forthcoming.

After ten years together, I've a fair idea of her character. She's educated, demure and quiet - not what you'd call a party girl. That's one of the reasons that I love her. It would come as an immense shock to learn that Mrs SO was inebriated - this is a girl who buys ludicrously expensive half-bottles of wine because "that's all I want".

It is perfectly reasonable for cabin crew to moderate the alcohol consumption of their passengers. I'm sure I'm not alone having had the company of noisy, raucous drunks on a flight, and wishing them dead. The CC's job must be onerous when they need to do this; arguing with drunks is seldom pleasant. At least at the pub you can take them into the car park and give them a good shoeing.

What I do object to is the public humiliation to which Mrs SO was subjected; this ticking-off was done in such a way that everyone in her vicinity heard every word and knew that she was the culprit. She cried for the rest of the flight.

As you can appreciate, I am emotionally entangled here, so does anyone think that this is worth a letter of complaint or should sleeping dogs be left to lie? I reiterate; Mrs SO is not some oafish sot. She's just a late-thirties lady who felt like a second glass of wine when the opportunity was there.

SO
(and in case you think "while the cat's away" - no.)
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Old 1st Mar 2010, 15:36
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I recently travelled QF in Business Class. I lost count how many times they tried to refill my glass! Double standards or just a job's worth CC?

I would most definitely register a complaint. However, unless she had a witness or witnesses it will be her word against his and you will most probably not receive a satisfactory closure. But I personally would still register the complaint just for the record. Be sure to include flight and seat details. You never know, perhaps there have been other complaints made about that particular CC.

My own experience with QF was a good one. All airlines have the odd bad apple unfortunately.
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Old 1st Mar 2010, 16:45
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There was me with a nasty cynical mind figuring that the airlines were trying to economise even further by being mean with drinks as well as everything else!
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Old 1st Mar 2010, 17:38
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i understand the dilemma ... i often wonder whether to ask for two bottles to save the CC extra leg-work getting me a refill, and whether that then makes me look like a drunkard. The pre-dinner glass of wine often means that there's none left when the meal arrives, and the last thing I want to do i ask for another bottle in the middle of meal service.

As Avman noted, sometimes they can't stop offering refills on some carriers. I used to have to stop MaxJet trying to get me unfit to drive on arrival!!
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Old 1st Mar 2010, 17:48
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Sounds like you've been stuffed by a TT antipodean. He/she must be the only one in the world. Your wife was just very unlucky.
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Old 1st Mar 2010, 18:02
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It depends what you want to receive from your complaint... If you would just like an apology then complain. But the apology will not come from that particular crew member but from a standardised letter from someone in customer services. Is that really then an apology? Crew are advised to be cautious with the amount of alcohol given, and maybe the crewmember in question had a bad incident and is more cautious than most.. So many reasons but no it doesnt justify embarrasment of a customer.. the best way to deal with it.. fly with another airline!
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Old 1st Mar 2010, 18:04
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Sounds like you've been stuffed by a TT antipodean
The steward has every right to be a teetotaller, in fact it's probably a good attribute. He has no right whatsoever to attempt to impose his teetotallism (sp?) on a passenger. Otherwise perhaps he should go and work for Saudia Arabian, Royal Brunei, or some other dry airline. Aussie .... teetotal .... hello!!!
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Old 1st Mar 2010, 18:14
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One hates to be a party pooper, but
two wee (6 oz) bottles of wine
contain in excess of the current recommended daily alcohol intake for a female. Now I would be happy to take this advice from my GP/Practice Nurse in the privacy of a surgery, not sure from a flight attendent in a economy class cabin where they fit as many people per square metre as possible.

But anyway.

Times have changed from the qantas I used to know and love. On flights full of lads on trips down under to watch the cricket the trolleys would have been drained of all booze by the time we left European airspace. The only way the cabin crew could keep any control was to crack open the duty free stores and come round with the litre bottles of gin and free pour. Don't remember any trouble on board, but then I wouldn't, would I ?
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Old 1st Mar 2010, 20:47
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Scumbag O'Riley

Quite. Mrs SO has an honours degree in Science and is a nurse to boot. I don't think that a lecture on the dangers of drink was necessary. She abstained completely for forty days, beginning Jan 1, something I could never do. I am at a loss to understand why she requires assistance in understanding her alcohol intake from some parvenu.

TD15
You're right. I do not want a complimentary flight or some sort of freebie. Mrs SO, for reasons of her own, chose to travel in Z. As Avman points out, the experience can be different when you get towards the sharp end of the aircraft, and about six months ago, I was lauding QF PE in this forum. A cut above.

Right now, I would like five minutes alone in a cage with the person who made Mrs SO cry. I suspect that Qantas won't go along with that.

Thank you for your supportive messages. I shall write a letter of grievance once my sunshine is back.

I sympathise with the cabin staff who deal with unruly drunkards. This is at best unpleasant and at worst extremely dangerous.

SO
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Old 1st Mar 2010, 21:56
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When you write your letter, (as you must), address it to the MD by name and register it to the company HQ, other wise it will just be directed to a minion in Customer Services.
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Old 1st Mar 2010, 23:04
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address it to the MD by name and register it to the company HQ
I wish I were Qantas MD ..... and received this letter
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Old 1st Mar 2010, 23:31
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Angel

It seems, SO, that you know the routine of a good complaint:
  • Write it whilst the blood is hot (makes you feel better!) then put it away for a week.
  • Meanwhile, check the facts with Mrs SO and research the airline website. This has two purposes, firstly to get the right name and address. Secondly, to cull from it any statements about customer service that you can legitimately ask about. Check this page I found About Qantas - Our Company - Qantas Centre of Service ExcellenceSo it appears they are making an effort and you can lament the one case that failed. But (I hear you say!) each case is special and a fully trained nurse is likely to know her own mind.
  • Then re-write the letter so that it is cool, polite and factual.
  • Cast no insults just ask "Why do you think this member of staff spoke to Mrs SO in this way - in front of all the other passengers?"
  • Do not ask for any compensation - if they fail you can demand that later! Simply ask for an explanation.
  • If you and Mrs SO have ever travelled with them before in any cabin, try to find positive statements about that. If you have travelled in the premium cabins and had the opposite kind of service, as others here have stated, then detail it.
If this is teaching my grandfather how to $k s (attempt at humour) then please ignore.
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Old 1st Mar 2010, 23:47
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This is just another example of how some of those employed in today's aviation industry seem to believe they have a god given right to humiliate fare paying passengers at every opportunity.
As I explained on this forum last September two members of ground staff at BFS really took the shine off a short break to Amsterdam for Mrs. FF and me.
One, at check-in spoke to me as if I was some kind of wayward primary school pupil. The other, at the gate, employed truly nasty sarcasm.
I wrote a detailed letter to Airport MD Mr. John Doran outlining exactly what happened. Six months later I've yet to receive even a reply.
I fully support the rights of those working in the airline industry not be subjected to abuse from the travelling public.
Unfortunately, a few of these people seem to believe this gives them the right to treat passengers like dirt.
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Old 2nd Mar 2010, 08:14
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Scandalous behaviour, but I wish the Thai CC in first when Mrs Tezzer and I came back from Bangkok a couple of years ago had cut off my supply of the JW Blue label before I got to LHR. It would have saved me from my free-fall down the escalator at Kings Cross underground station !
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Old 2nd Mar 2010, 09:31
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Thank you again for all for your advice (which I'll take), and I'll single out PAXBoy for evidently dedicating considerable time and thought to his posting.

I will cool my heels for a few days, and I will subtly discover from Mrs SO whether she had been drinking beforehand. She'd have been in the air for almost twenty hours. She was dry when I took her to LHR, I presume she had wine with supper, slept fitfully before breakfast, lunch and refuelling (the aircraft, not her ) in SIN. She is too stingy to drink in the airport (I have access to the J lounge but was stuck here), so she must have dried up for the final flight.

It would have been wholly out of character for Mrs SO to be legless, but before taking any action, I'll get it from the horse's mouth, so to speak. I do not want to falsely accuse someone of a transgression. If I proceed or not, I'll let you know the outcome. I've been a Qantas Club member for many years so that might give me some leverage.

For the record: QF treated me extremely well in J when I used to travel around SEA, frequently letting me onto the FD during the exciting bits. More recently, their PE LHR-SYD was exceptionally good, and I intend to take that service again this year.

frequentflyer2
That sucks. These 'values' that are 'enshrined' are what used to pass as common courtesy. O tempora, o mores! Have you tried writing again?

SO
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Old 2nd Mar 2010, 10:09
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BA long haul flight in WT+.

Asked for a single bottle of the Merlot to go with my beef.
Was proffered two along with a smile and "we've a lot more serving in front of us so it'll be a long time before we come round again".

TVM
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Old 2nd Mar 2010, 11:25
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@ XV105 ... that's frequently been my experience as well. Not so easy for the CC when they're refilling your glass from a proper bottle, though
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Old 2nd Mar 2010, 20:47
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Was proffered two along with a smile
Exactly what happened to my wife on QANTAS, SIN-MEL, so what happened to Mrs. Sea Oxen would not appear to be company policy.

It is a shame Mrs SO didn't listen to his tirade and then ask him for his views on Birth Control!
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Old 2nd Mar 2010, 22:03
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XV105

Indeed, although I found WT+ far inferior to QF PE. These people did make you feel special. Let's keep it our little secret, though.

parabellum

I think the crux here is whether the CC had the right to address Mrs SO in that fashion. I could understand this if she was some of bogan, but she's not. I understand that cabin staff must deal with a wide variety of people, and I do not envy their position.

Mrs SO is meek, except when I am at the receiving end, I've only got 11" and 70lbs over her!

SO
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Old 3rd Mar 2010, 12:10
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Seaoxen As CC who is regularly encouraged by my company to sell two bottles of wine instead of one and offer double measures on spirits I will add my two cents here.

It would be interesting to know if the CC gave/sold Mrs SO one bottle of wine along with her lecture on the perils of drink?

You see if Mrs SO appeared intoxicated she should not have been given anything alcoholic by the CC.....end of.

If she didn't then 2 bottles of wine IMHO is a reasonable first request for drinks and should have been granted.

I think what Mrs SO was subjected to here (assuming she didn't look under the influence) was an over zealous newbie or an experienced jobsworth both of which need to brush up on their pax handling skills.

No representative of any airline has the right to make a pax feel so humliated they cry.

Write to Qantas.......I don't think they would be very happy re the actions of their front line representatives here.
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