Praising the helpful gate agent: good idea or the worst idea?
July 24, 2019 3:25 PM   Subscribe

On a recent trip by plane, my first leg was delayed and as a result, when I got to the gate for my (transatlantic) second leg, the boarding door had already closed, about two minutes prior to my arrival. The gate agent told me there was nothing they could do, the flight was already listed as "departed", even though the plane was still parked at the end of the jetway. I put on a very, very sad face and the gate agent took pity on me, talked to the crew on the plane, and let me on. Should I write the airline to praise this employee, or could that get her in trouble?

My immediate response was to fill out the online customer service form to praise the gate agent and the crew of the plane, who saved me a huge amount of time and pain, and who I'm sure had to undergo some annoyance and delay in order to accommodate me. But then I started to worry -- aren't they, in some technical sense, not actually supposed to open the boarding door once it's closed? Were they violating airline policy? Could I actually get the employee who selflessly helped me in trouble in my attempts to get her a good quarterly assessment or even a bonus?

Does anyone here have enough insider knowledge of employment at airlines to tell me whether I should fill out this form?

(If it matters, this is the US carrier whose name rhymes with Poo, Knighted.)
posted by escabeche to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total)
Fudge the facts? ‘Saw me running up as the door was closing and managed to hold it open for me’? I don’t know if you’re right about the truth getting the agent in trouble, but I would also worry that it might.
posted by LizardBreath at 3:39 PM on July 24, 2019 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I would send a letter to management naming this person and express how amazingly helpful the agent was but not mention what they did specifically.
posted by waving at 3:41 PM on July 24, 2019 [60 favorites]

Best answer: Just be more generic. "They were kind and patient on a day when everything was going wrong for me," etc.
posted by asperity at 3:42 PM on July 24, 2019 [19 favorites]

Best answer: You don't necessarily need to be specific about what the agent did, aside from naming her. Just speak in general terms about how she helped you immensely and how that made your trip much more enjoyable.
posted by theory at 3:43 PM on July 24, 2019 [5 favorites]

Best answer: "offered me customer service that went above and beyond"
posted by terretu at 3:45 PM on July 24, 2019 [14 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks -- somehow the idea of being effusive but completely non-specific in my praise hadn't even occurred to me. Sometimes you just need an outside view to see the obvious path. (I am still pretty interested to hear any insider view on whether the gate agent was taking a risk of getting in trouble by letting me on!)
posted by escabeche at 4:15 PM on July 24, 2019 [7 favorites]

For insider views, try posting your question on a forum here? Maybe "Spectators' Balcony" or "Passengers and SLF" under "Misc. Forums".
posted by runincircles at 4:37 PM on July 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

If you can, buy a few shares; and write corporate moneyville central about the whole episode. That works wonders in both pro and con situations!
posted by Afghan Stan at 8:17 PM on July 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

Yeah, that person broke FAA/Federal laws bigtime. One of the more general answers above would be way better.
posted by bendy at 2:31 AM on July 26, 2019

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