Monday, May 05, 2014

Angry Passenger, An Even Angrier Staff


Sheepishly, I admit I packed a belly of fire in me when I was much younger, for the slightest provocation could ignite me.  It was my first job at Changi Airport after completing the army stint and I was probably 21 or maybe younger.  That year was either late 82 or early 83.

We were the ground handling agent for Alitalia, a national carrier of Italy and I was tasked to assist with the check-in.  The flight was bounded for Rome with a stopover in Bombay.  That particular flight was delayed for some few hours and therefore, we were told by our superior to open the counters later.  However, an irate passenger called the airline office to insist that the check-in counters be opened as scheduled.  Rendered no choice, we then proceeded to prepare the check-in.  During our times, it was not computerised like the present days.  We had to do everything manually and therefore, some time is needed to get ready.  For each counter, we need to scroll through all the airlines' logos, the flight alphabets and flight number.  Missed one, we will have to go through everything again - such a pain.

While setting up, this highly irate passenger kept ranting away.  There, my colleagues and I were trying to set up the counters for check-in and here, we had this chap who could not stop ranting away.  I was greatly put off by his attitude, probably he thought "customer is king".  From that moment on, I lost it and I shouted back at him.  At the top of my voice, I yelled to him to shut up or I will punch him on the face.  Guess what happened next?  He suddenly kept quiet knowing I meant business.  The check-in was smooth sailing from there on.

Had he continued, will I really beat him up?  What will happen if I really did?  Fortunately, I did not or I might land myself in even hotter soup.  Keeping cool under tense moment is still the best option and though, I understand this but sometimes, I forget.  This is growing up for me and one lesson learnt.  Life goes on.    

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