For the past several years while flying United I have worn a shirt which states my feelings about their CEO quite clearly. I don’t wear it all the time, maybe 50% of the time that I fly at most. Still, that’s hundreds of segments. And it gets an overwhelmingly positive response from employees. I don’t wear it because I want better service or anything else (I find that saying “please” and “thank you” does plenty to guarantee good service), but rather because it’s a small thing I can do to support United’s hardworking employees that have been screwed over by United’s greedy upper (mis)management team.
Anyway, this past weekend I flew from Los Angeles to Washington Dulles with two friends, and before I flew with them I mentioned how funny the response always was from employees to the shirt. Hell, one of the behavior detection officers at LAX recognized me because of the shirt. So it certainly stands out.
I’ve gotten all kinds of positive feedback from employees, from high fives from pilots as I walk through the concourse to flight attendants trying to rip my shirt off so they can have it. Not once have I received any sort of negative response from any employee, because I’ve yet to meet an employee that doesn’t use “Glenn” as a cuss word in their household.
So this past weekend we were seated in business class on the 777, and about an hour out of Washington a flight attendant from coach comes up to me and says “that shirt is really disrespectful.” I thought she was joking, so I chuckled. Surely she must be kidding? She continued: “No really, that shirt is rude. I didn’t like George Bush, but I wouldn’t wear a shirt saying so. Are you an employee?” Usually I’m pretty quick on my feet, but I was so dumbfounded that I didn’t know what to say. I said “no, I’m actually a customer.” She continued, “that’s still rude.”
I then asked how she felt about the fact that their pay has been slashed by 40%, their working conditions have worsened, and worst of all their boss shows no appreciation for the hard work employees put in to keep the company running, all while taking a big bonus. Her response? “I’m not going to discuss that.” But you will discuss a customer expressing their views and trying to support you?
Not sure what’s worse — the fact that she decided to call me out, or the fact that she doesn’t seem to have a problem with Glenn Tilton. Glenn’s gotta be proud, he now has the support of one of the 40,000+ non-management employees! I’d say that’s an all time high for his approval rating.