Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Dear American Airlines Flight Attendant, What Was Your Problem?

I'm back from my trip and can report that, with the support of my sister, I was able to limit my plastic consumption for the most part. Here's a quick summary of the plastic I did use:
  • A plastic glass for wine on the plane (an early transgression)
  • Two of those miniature cups for cream
  • A glasses repair kit with a bit of plastic packaging (the screw on my sunglasses fell out)
  • various hotel key cards
  • A miniature bottle of shampoo (I went in this amazingly gorgeous soaking pool at my hotel and I had to wash the chlorine out of my hair)
  • A few bags of chocolate covered hazelnuts (souvenirs for my new roomies and my dad)
  • A styrofoam cup and plastic stirrer for tea
I know I'm missing one or two things, but that basically sums it up, which is pretty good for six days of travel. A few of them could have been avoided, obviously, and I take full responsibility for them.

Well, for all of them except the last one.

That STUPID styrofoam cup and stirrer were not my fault at all. On the plane on the way home, it was really, really cold so I asked my American Airlines flight attendant for some hot tea. I handed her my stainless steel reusable mug and asked politely, Can you just put the tea in here please?

And you know what she said? Oh, ahhhh (uncomfortable pause) I'm just going to put it in a cup for you.

What is that supposed to mean? Why didn't she want to use my stainless steel mug? It was totally clean. What was her problem?

Did American Airlines instruct her not to fill reusable mugs, or was she just being a freak? I would really like to know.

Anyways, I may never find out, but I guess it's time to write a letter.


Nimic said...

They're probably heating the water in a microwave.

LifeLessPlastic said...

That would have been a reasonable excuse, but the tea was already made in a pitcher. Darn that flight attendant.

jimbolini23 said...

If nothing else, the plastic card keys can be reprogrammed/reused by the hotel ....

jennconspiracy said...

That's pretty astonishing. I bet you were shocked into acquiescence!

I have never had that response on an airline - I always bring my own tea and often a cup and they are more than happy to fill me up with hot water and even offer to rinse out my mug.

Sometimes I have to wait if they are doing drinks service, but usually I'll go ask for hot water way before drinks service and that makes their job easier, too.

jlygrnmigt said...

Planes are the worst for unnecessary packaging and cup use. I asked once if they recycled the water glasses and was told no. They recycle nothing.

On NWA at least, you get a little plastic (reusable) mug at mealtimes, but they'll only put hot liquids in it. If you ask for juice or water, they pour it into a little cup and put that in the mug. However, if you actually drink tea out of that plastic mug, guess what it tastes like?

Laura said...

Silly flight attendant!
Good on you for asking. Maybe even refuse the beverage if the flight attendant won't put it in your clean reusable cup. Give her a 'what the heck is wrong with you that you can't pour some water in my clean reusable cup' look. Two can play that game. Or so I say here from the compfort of my own keyboard far away from the actual instance of confrontation.
Cheers on the letter too. You go girl.
Side note: would you be up for posting some letter templates? I have been saying that I would probably right letters more if I had a basic format to follow. Maybe you would be up for posting something like that to ispire and enable the rest of us lazy letter writer wannabes? Thanks!

ThreadBeaur said...

You would think they would enjoy the chance to save their cups. It would save them money! But if everyone did that they would probably run into problems.
At least you tried!

Holly said...

I'm often surprised at the resistance I encounter with that kind of stuff. I once bought a pair of earrings at a department store and was just going to put them in my purse but the lady ringing me up adamantly refuse to give them to me without a tiny stupid plastic bag! I think it's just hard for people to think outside the box sometimes. Do you think it may have been some kind of health code violation or insurance thing?

Sherri said...

American Airlines flight attendant here... I have no clue why the crew member refused to fill your own cup. She couldn't think outside the box i'm assuming. Unfortunately we do have a few of those running around the aisles. Come fly with me and i'll make sure you cup runneth over! :-)
FYI...planes do not have microwaves. Convection ovens are the standard.

TWA said...

American Airlines Flight Attendants are too self-centered to really care about YOUR needs.

Don't fly American Airlines.

samanthaturner said...

dissolving asprin in water helps strip the chlorine from your hair. It was handy back when I used to swim on a team.

Doug said...

@TWA: Yeah, right, American Airlines flight attendants are SO self centered! That's why Sherri the American Airlines flight attendant was so absorbed with herself she took the extra time to not only ponder the strangeness of the other FA not being willing to use a passenger's cup, but even informing us all about the ovens used on-board. You could learn a thing or two from her, about being nice.

kayla said...

This comment is way late, but I thought I'd chime in. I used to work at McDonald's, and for legal purposes, we weren't permitted to fill a customer's mug. The reasoning was, we needed to personally secure the lid, and since our cups were company approved, and the customer's was not, only our cups could be used. If they were burned from the beverage, we'd get in trouble. Perhaps that's why your airline attendant didn't feel comfortable.

This blog is very inspirational! I'm so glad I just stumbled across it!

Frugal Nut said...

Well, I realize this is definitely very old news, I figured I would post a quick update about McDonald's. I work there, and we do let you bring your own mugs. I am in Canada though, so there may be a difference in health regulations or whatever excuse they pull out of their... neverminds :)