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After a flight attendant shamed a flier for using the lavatory with an upset stomach, the airline offered an apology and two flight credits.(Photo: H. Darr Beiser, USA TODAY)

Contrary to what that spray yielding Southwest flight attendant said, however, flight attendants are not allowed to do and say whatever they want at least, not without consequences.

Answer: Flying has become an unpleasant, high pressure experience. Flight attendants are overworked and underpaid while passengers are ticked off at being nickled and dimed at every turn, and Louis Vuitton Heels For Sale

Rude flight attendant makes bad situation worse

everyone is on edge over security. Everyone, it seems, is fed up. Respect and simple civility are in short supply. Post also knows all about in flight tumult, being a former Pan Am flight attendant. "Anyone can have a bad day and just snap."

I sent the traveler's complaint to Southwest for review. While it's true that there's no specific formula for an airline to compensate an insulted passenger for rudeness, a gesture of goodwill seemed appropriate.

While I was in the restroom I could hear two male flight attendants making rude comments about me and laughing. They were spraying something that appeared to be air freshener or sanitizer while making nasty remarks about me.

out of control.

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Palladium Boots Central London

Extremely humiliated, I walked out of the lavatory and got a nasty look from one flight attendant. Mortified by his blatantly rude reaction, I quietly explained to him that he should be careful of what he says about people in the restroom, as I could hear every word the two said about me. I told him that I intended to notify management and that I was very offended by their childish behavior.

Traumatized, I returned to my seat. A female flight attendant who was not directly involved noticed my disturbed reaction and asked me what was wrong. When I explained, she was noticeably shocked and immediately sympathetic. Notably, she was the only one who apologized for their behavior. There are Palladium Boots Central London nine other passengers who overheard the entire situation.

I wrote a complaint letter to Southwest and a representative called me, but she told me the airline can't compensate me for rudeness. Can you help me get an appropriate response?

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"We understand that this compensation does not take away what she experienced on our aircraft and that this kind of behavior from an employee is unacceptable, and for that, we give our sincere apology," says Agnew.

Dueling statistics and headlines show abundant bad behavior on both sides. Department of Transportation logged 345 complaints about flight attendants from consumers in 2011, and that number jumped to 533 complaints in 2012. A Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) database on unruly passengers shows there were 140 reported incidents in 2011 and 101 in 2012. The FAA database only contains incidents voluntarily reported by crew members. The Department of Justice has its own database which mostly deals with more serious cases of assault, and the Transportation Security Administration has yet another database on security incidents.

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Megan S., Arizona

Question: I flew with Southwest in October. During a short stop in Denver, I needed to use the restroom, but passengers were not permitted to exit the aircraft.

As I walked away from the initial confrontation, the flight attendant asked me to return to discuss the situation. I returned to the rear of the plane, expecting an apology. He proceeded to tell me defiantly that because I was in his area of the plane he is allowed to say or do whatever he wants. He continued his rant while spraying his bottle inside the bathroom and twice directly at me in an aggressive manner. I tried to explain that I suffer from allergy induced asthma and the chemical he sprayed at me could be harmful, but was rebuffed by his rudeness.

Tangling with a flight attendant can be risky business, however. A flight attendant's primary job is to ensure passenger safety, and federal regulations state that passengers may not "assault, threaten, intimidate, or interfere with a crewmember in the performance of the crewmember's duties aboard an aircraft being operated." Violations can result in fines up to $25,000 (and one incident can result in multiple violations), plus passengers can be prosecuted on criminal charges. Minor conflicts can quickly spiral out of control.

Southwest's customer service department called Megan S. to apologize for the on board conflict and to hash out a resolution. Southwest agreed to give the traveler and her fiance each $200 vouchers. Their original tickets were worth $175. As is so often the case with complaints, the personal phone call and apology made all the difference for this passenger.

rather than let things spiral Palladium Red

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Palladium Boots Central London

It was fine to calmly let the flight attendants know she had heard their immature and unprofessional conversation, according to Post. However, she probably shouldn't have said she was going to alert management, Post suggests. The flight attendants were clearly out of line, and confronting them with their bad behavior wasn't likely to get positive results.

"On an airplane you are stuck," says Post. "Complain to management later, but don't threaten with it."

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Palladium Boots Central London

Palladium Boots Central London

Palladium Boots Central London

But not every conflict turns into a federal case. Megan S. urgently had to use the lavatory. That's hardly an unprecedented situation. The flight attendants should have handled that without the foul tirade. (Tip: If you encounter a smelly lav, ask the flight attendants for a bag of coffee grounds to absorb the odor.) The flier was shaken by her in flight showdown with a nasty flight attendant, but luckily didn't have an allergic reaction to being sprayed, and she had the aplomb to walk away Polo Ralph Lauren Shoes Blue

"The situation has been shared with the employee's leaders," says Southwest representative Michelle Agnew.

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