Top 5 Airline Service Moments of 2012
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (TheStreet) -- Two hours into a nine hour and 30-minute trip to Rio de Janeiro one night in August, a US Airways (LCC) flight turned back to Charlotte because an engine warning light came on.
The Boeing 767 returned to Charlotte around 2:30 a.m., which explains why Charlotte-based flight attendant Elida Pinheiro unexpectedly found herself on duty, preparing to work a trip after being awakened in the middle of the night.
While some people may still view the life of a flight attendant as glamorous, the reality is that working as a reserve -- which means long hours of being available on demand -- is a horrible lifestyle challenge.
What makes this story unique, however, is that as the details regarding this particular flight get worse and worse, Pinheiro rises to the occasion. In fact, 12 hours after she arrived at the airport, the airplane was still in Charlotte and Pinheiro, a Portuguese-speaking native of Brazil, was still working -- not because she was required to but because she had bonded with one of her passengers -- an elderly woman who had recently undergone surgery, required a wheelchair, did not speak English and was temporarily stuck in Charlotte. Pinheiro "recognized that the woman was scared and acted as her guardian," US Airways spokeswoman Michelle Mohr said.
We live in a country that is overwhelmed by anti-airline hysteria, where any perceived slight or error by an airline or an airline employee is tweeted, blogged and posted, amid a chorus of outrage. In July, for instance, more than 100 stories on the Internet described a case in which United(UAL) allegedly lost a 10-year-old child at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. In fact, United didn't lose anybody. But where is the outrage in that?