I boarded my United Airlines flight from San Francisco to Newark ready for a nice sleep. But my heart skipped a beat when I found a placard around my seat, 1A, that said, “Reserved for crew member seating.”
How I Dealt With A Business Class Seat That Appeared To Be Reserved For A Crew Member On United
Seat 1A is indeed reserved for pilot rest on longhaul flights on the 777-200 due to insufficient bunks in the crew rest area. My understanding, however, was that there were no reserved crew seats on domestic flights.
But before I could sit down, the purser came up to me and said, “This is a pilot seat. You cannot sit here!” I showed her my boarding pass for seat 1A and she told me, “I think you’re going to have to move. But let me check.”
I wasn’t worried too much…if I did get downgraded I would receive a voucher good for at least double the price of my ticket. Money talks and I’m always willing to make a deal if the price is right. But I knew that would not be necessary. I knew the sign was almost certainly there in error.
And indeed, eventually the purser returned and said that I was good to take the seat. She removed the placard and wished me a good flight.
The issue was that the aircraft cleaners failed to take the placard off the seat…fair enough. But the flight attendant was initially adamant that I was in the wrong seat and I want to point out the importance of simply letting her complete her investigation rather than shutting her down and telling her she didn’t know what she was talking about.
There was a time and place for diplomacy and this was one such moment. Don’t tell a flight attendant she is wrong, even when you know she is wrong – at least at the outset. That rarely ends well (as I can dutifully attest).
Instead, play dumb if you have to, but hold your tongue and resist the urge to dress down a flight attendant. It. Won’t. End. Well.
A mistaken placard made a flight attendant think I was in the wrong seat. Even though I knew she was wrong, I did not protest…for better or for worse, you win more flight attendants with honey than with vinegar…