I finally did something today that I never thought I could pull off. I convinced a non-Channel 9 captain to flip the switch. Here’s the skinny:
Right around the time the door was closing for my Ted flight I asked the FA whether or not the captain was turning on Channel 9. She said she would check, but never got back to me. During her pre-flight announcement, the captain said “if there’s anything we can do up here in the flight deck to make your flight more enjoyable, please don’t hesitate to let the flight attendants know and they’ll pass it on to us.” That sounded like an invitation to ask for Channel 9, so I got busy writing a note to the captain, and handed it to the FA about an hour into the flight. She said “Oh, I forgot to tell you, the captain said she wouldn’t turn on Channel 9. Actually two of us called the flight deck since two of you requested it and we both didn’t know the other one did, and she said no both times.” I explained it was a very friendly, non-hostile note, and just asked her to pass it on. She basically said it wouldn’t work, but did it anyway.
About 15 minutes later the purser comes to my seat and says (with a smirk on her face) “the captain asked me to tell you that she usually doesn’t turn it on for security reasons, because if there’s an emergency she wants the crew to know before the passengers.” I nodded in approval, and then the purser said “she also asked me to tell you that she’s making an exception just for you, Channel 9 is on. She says you’re good…. really really good.” She then commented that she didn’t know what I wrote, but some reverse psychology must have been involved.
So that’s right, for the first time ever I convinced a captain to turn on Channel 9. I was proud to say the least, and asked the purser to thank the captain for me.
While I don’t have the note anymore, it read somewhere along the lines of:
First and foremost, thanks for the safe ride. As someone that flies about 200,000 miles a year on United, I can’t thank you guys enough for the safe and professional job you do up front. The fact that I can get on a United plane and always know that I have the most professional pilots out there is one of the many reasons I choose to fly United.
You mentioned during your pre-flight announcement that we should let you know if there’s anything you can do to make our flight more enjoyable, so I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy Channel 9. I completely understand that it’s at the discretion of the captain, a policy which I have the utmost respect for and appreciate since ultimately you should feel comfortable. At the same time I’m always fascinated by listening to ATC, and it’s one of the many reasons I choose to fly United.
I know you guys have been going through tough times as a company lately, but I just want you to know that the reason I choose to fly United isn’t because of your pathetic upper management, but rather because of the great frontline employees. I sympathize greatly with all of the employees at United, especially considering that your upper management doesn’t know the first thing about “shared sacrifice.”
Thanks again for the safe ride and your consideration.
Score one for lucky. A bit of buttering up is all it takes…