I’m going to stop using the term Karen as a pejorative. It simply is not fair to the many wonderful Karens. Some additions to our popular lexicon simply do not belong and instead of fueling the cliche, today I want to dedicate an entire post to a lovely flight attendant named Karen.
With Flight Attendants Like Karen, It’s Time To Stop Using Karen As A Bad Word
I mentioned Karen Braum in my recent United flight review to Brazil. To refresh your memory:
She was simply the best–so attentive, so friendly, and such a joy to be around.
Reports of bad service in the air always leave me curious as I routinely experience flight attendants who love their job and take great pride in showing excellent customer service. I saw it on the way to Chicago with the pair of flight attendants who helped a disabled old man into the lavatory and I saw such a joy in Karen, a contagious joy that could not help but to make me smile.
United used to offer wine flights in Polaris Business class. Using beautiful glasses and a special three-glass holder, passengers could sample the different wines on the menu in order to choose a glass that best suited them.
It was a popular part of the Polaris soft product, but was cut in 2018 after United said it encouraged people to drink too much alcohol (not because people got drunk and misbehaved, but because the wine budget was not just broken, but exponentially broken).
Well, when I asked Karen which white wine would pare best with my fish, she brought out all three bottles, three plastic cups (oh, United…), and created a wine flight for me. After the meal service she offered to wash my (real glass) cup out that I bring from home when I fly.
Before bed, she proactively offered slippers and a mattress pad along with an extra water bottle. In the least intrusive way possible, she would appear every few minutes and had an uncanny ability to anticipate a request, like when I was looking around for my phone charger and she asked if she could get me down something from the overhead bin.
I fell asleep, slept well, woke up, looked at the screen, and saw landing was in 34 minutes.
Great, I slept through breakfast…
Oh no, not on Karen’s watch.
She magically appeared moments after I stirred, wished me a good morning and a cup of coffee, then offered breakfast.
Standard protocol calls for breakfast service beginning 90 minutes prior to arrival. While 34 minutes is pushing it, Karen brought out my breakfast tray and presented it to me with a smile. That was so appreciated.
Karen was a 10/10 (unlike my crew today, but that’s another story…). Her warm and caring service is one of United’s greatest assets.
As I reflect upon Karen Braum and all the wonderful friends and colleagues named Karen, I realize that I need to stop using that term pejoratively, even in jest, to refer to a woman, usually white, seeming to be entitled or demanding beyond the scope of what is normal, and often bigoted.
I did not have the “Karen” conversation with Karen, but it’s not an unreasonable assumption to think that even with a thick skin having your given name associated with a whiny racist is just not fair.
So thank you Karen Braum. Being a “Karen” like you a high compliment.