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Thank You CHQ CA for 'Making the Walk'

Kugelblitz

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I just had a most horrendous commuting event that was rescued by a Captain who stood up for his fellow airman and did the right thing. I am most grateful and wanted to express that here and pass on a cautionary situation at the AA gates in EWR and also a call to all of us everywhere to defend the jumpseat.

I was flying back from Lima,Peru this past Saturday morning and was able to get to EWR to make the first flight to my hometown on CHQ. I had to get through customs and then go from terminal C to A on the amazingly crappy "Airtrain" and then go back through security to get to the CHQ/AA gate. I managed to do this with 12 minutes to spare before the scheduled departure time. On the way to the gate I attempted to meal list for the flight only to find out that the non-rev help desk doesn't open now until 0900 CST, at least on the weekends. The fact that this first flight on CHQ had seats and knowing the flights were oversold the rest of the day for both my airline and CHQ was weighing heavily on me, and so I really wanted to get on this first flight that was 1/2 full.

As I rounded the corner to the gate I was relieved to see the agent and the knowledge that I had 12 minutes to spare. The gate agent looks at me and says "Sorry, the flight is closed and I can't re-open it" with a rather sadistic smile (I had seen this agent in a similar action before). As he is walking away I said "but the flight doesn't depart for 12 minutes", he just ignores me and walks away. So I did the only thing I could do, I walked to the terminal window and let the flight crew know I was there. I really felt this agent was being asinine and violating the basic principle of not treating others the way he would expect to be treated. And 12 minutes is 12 minutes, it isn't 2 minutes or the last minute.

After a few minutes the agent comes exploding through the now closed gate door and begins to yell at me and tells me, "When I close a flight it is closed, don't you ever go to the window and wave at the cockpit crew!" I don't work for CHQ, and this ***** trying to tell me what I can and cannot do! I found this incredulous. Even if I did work for CHQ, I work for chief pilots, not gate agents, and no gate agent is telling me anything. I told the gate agent that he has no business telling me what I can do or where I can go and his response is "Fine, your not getting on now!" In other words, I didn't sit there and let him yell and cower to him, so I don't get on.

Fortunately, the Captain came up to the podium and quietly stood by while this agent took the LESS THAN 1 MINUTE it took to list me. All the while the agent ranted about getting a delay and losing his job. It should seem obvious that job loss concerns were not the agents motivation in this circumstance from the get-go. As I walked away I still, after all this, thanked the agent (who of course had nothing to say) and was able to get home to see my sons first fall-ball baseball game. (I did convey this need to get to my family earlier but the agent was unconcerned, instead, allowing a 1/2 empty airplane to leave without me, or at least trying to anyway.)

It is only in the last 6 hellish years of my life have I appreciated the privilege of the jumpseat. I used to live in base but now have to commute, being unable both financially and personally to move to the Newark base. I appreciate the privilege that jumpseating is, I have always shown the utmost courtesy and appreciation to both the flight crew and the agents for assisting me in getting to work. I just wanted to emphasize the gem this ability is, how hard our pilots have worked to retain it, especially after 9-11, and our need as a group to safeguard it. This CHQ captain, who by the way ISN'T a commuter himself certainly understood this and again, thank you sir.

If anyone out there has any doubts about a gate agents sincerity, please walk up to the podium and check for yourself. In this case, the agent lied to the captain when asked if there was anyone left to try and get on the airplane. I know this is not always feasible but this jumpseating priveledge is so important to so many of us.

Thanks again to those of you who read this lengthy post. I am interested in any criticisms one may have of my actions and whether I was out of line. I don't believe I was, but then again I am emotionally close the events. Thanks again and happy flying!
 

Caveman

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Regional or legacy, the overwhelming majority of crews do everything they possibly can to get jumpseaters aboard. The extra effort you described happens a lot even if it isn't always as confrontational as your situation. Unfortunately most of the time we are reading posts about bad experiences. Like most of us I despise commuting, but the one good part about it is it's the one place I get at least a sense of the camaraderie that is a part of the piloting profession. Every time I see a deadheader refuse to ride the JS to allow an OAL guy to get on, or everytime I see a CA walk the walk to check on a jumpseater, or every time I see an FO 'work' the numbers to get a commuter on it does my heart good. Commuting does suck, but most of the time it also brings out the best in our fellow pilots.
 
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Kugelblitz

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Regional or legacy, the overwhelming number of crews do everything they possibly can to get jumpseaters aboard. The extra effort you described happens a lot even if it isn't always as confrontational as your situation. Unfortunately most of the time we are reading posts about bad experiences. Like most of us I despise commuting, but the one good part about it is it's the one place I get at least a sense of the camaraderie that is a part of the piloting profession. Every time I see a deadheader refuse to ride the JS to allow an OAL guy to get on, or everytime I see a CA walk the walk to check on a jumpseater, or every time I see an FO 'work' the numbers to get a commuter on it does my heart good. Commuting does suck, but most of the time it also brings out the best in our fellow pilots.

Exellent observation and well stated. I get the same feeling.
 

SLUF4

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Why have so many gate agents become such lazy jerks?
 

relief tube

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I don't know y gate agents think it's their ass if a flight goes out late trying to get a JS on board.

The few times I've "made the walk" I tell the gate agent I'll take the delay, if there is one.
 

Coool Hand Luke

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Great post. Although I have to admit I first starting reading this thread because I thought it was about the other, more familar, "making the walk". The one to the lav.
 

CitationLover

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Why have so many gate agents become such lazy jerks?

Because AMR will FIRE them if they do not meet certain criteria, including closing out a flight 10min prior to departure.
 

Baronman

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Since when did the Airtrain become so "Amazingly Crappy?" You sound like a typical dopey passenger ready to complain at the drop of a hat...The AirTrain is fine.
 

Daytonaflyer

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Because of the nature of the jobs maybe??

Nope, I was a customer service/gate agent for CO for a couple years during college and I was always polite to the pilots. There are just some agents who are jerks for one reason or another.

Personally, I am absolutely convinced that it's the caliber of people they hire for many of those positions. I'd say about 1/2 of all airline customer service agents and FA's are either straight out of the trailer park or straight out of the hood. Dysfunction has been a part of their lives since birth.
 

JoeMerchant

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Unfortunately because 2x's the work for half the pay!

No wonder you are such a jerk...You are also doing 2x's the work for half the pay.....:laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh:
 

GuppyWN

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Because AMR will FIRE them if they do not meet certain criteria, including closing out a flight 10min prior to departure.

You're telling me that the flight MUST be closed 10 minutes prior? What happens if you have a flow time? Or connecting customers? Or weather delay? Or have to check bags?

Wow. I don't doubt it if you say so but it sounds unreasonable.

Gup
 

SLUF4

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There's definitely an attitude adjustment needed. Look at the people on the ramp-dreads swinging, pants sagging, hats cocked to the side. They think they can do whatever they want, and sadly they can. The gate agents are a little better, but I've had my share be rude to me. I went up to the gate a few months ago to get my release and saw the gate agent texting on her cell phone with passengers in line right in front of her. I asked if she was considering helping these people out and then she put the phone away.
 

Scope out RJ's

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No wonder you are such a jerk...You are also doing 2x's the work for half the pay.....:laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh:

Wow, all that wit and intelligence,yet unbelievably that lawsuit of yours failed, much like your career!:laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh:
No wonder you're still stuck at asa!
 

climb2slow

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Since when did the Airtrain become so "Amazingly Crappy?" You sound like a typical dopey passenger ready to complain at the drop of a hat...The AirTrain is fine.
Damn! I just got all excited thinking we had thread creep and we're going to start discussing Airtran! Anything but more F9/SWA...
 

jonjuan

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Damn! I just got all excited thinking we had thread creep and we're going to start discussing Airtran! Anything but more F9/SWA...

Wooooosh.........right over the head.
 
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