Airline agent gives perfect response to rude customer

Pedro Marrero
May 09, 2018
12:53 A.M.

We might have always heard the phrase ‘the customer is always right’ as a golden rule when it comes to customer service, but there are people who really need to be put in their place.


That almost universal rule is really a form of courtesy and a commitment of anyone who has worked in a service job to do everything in their hands to be of help with a customer, but it doesn’t mean that they have to tolerate disrespect.

Nevertheless, there are some people who take the phrase too literally and seem to forget any basic manners when they demand something, however irrational, from a salesclerk.

Although the following is a fictional story, it exemplifies very well the kind of bad customer we are talking about, and it shows a clever way to respond to people who wrongly think that the world is at their feet.

The story goes like this: There was a woman working at the check-in counter for Southwest Airlines at LaGuardia Airport in New York when a really busy flight of the airline had to be cancelled due to adverse weather conditions.


The woman at the counter was the only employee available to re-book all the passengers to fly at some other time. Everyone got on a line to wait for his or her turn to get through the process.

All of a sudden an enraged passenger pushed his way to the head of the line, and slamming his boarding pass on the table, he said rudely: ‘I have to be on this flight and it has to be first class.’

The woman replied calmly: ‘I’m sorry, sir. I’ll be happy to try to help you, but I’ve got to help these folks first, and then I’m sure we’ll be able to work something out’.

This was not the answer this self-important passenger was expecting, so he went one step further by saying the following, loudly, so all the other passengers could hear it: ‘Do you have any idea of who I am?’


Without losing her serenity the airline agent smiled and was quick to react by grabbing her public announcement microphone and saying:

‘May I have your attention, please? We have a passenger here at Gate 14 who doesn’t know who he is. If anyone can help him with his identity, please come to Gate 14’.

The other customers who were close to the obnoxious man burst into laughter. This left the nasty customer even angrier, but he couldn’t find anything else to say but: ‘Scr*w you!’

To what the witty agent replied with no hesitation: ‘I’m sorry, sir. You’ll have to get in line for that, too’.

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