I thought I’d write you a little note to share an experience my family and I recently had when boarding one of your flights out of JFK.
First, you have to understand that I’m a jetBlue fan, especially when traveling to Florida. I take you plenty of other places too.
In the middle of December my wife and I, along with our 3 month old son, ventured to the airport for our first flight as a three person family.
We did lots of reading and tried to be prepared for the experience because we didn’t want to be a huge pain in everyone else’s butt.
Getting through security was ok — gotta love TSA Pre Check! — so things started out Ok.
When we got to the gate my wife needed to go off and pump. She unfortunately quickly returned because the closest family room didn’t have an electrical outlet, and the breast pumping room was really far away.
You might say this is when her anxiety kicked in.
And if you’ve ever been around someone that’s getting anxious, you know it can bounce from person to person like a pinball.
So let’s fast forward to what this letter is all about.
The gate agent started the boarding process and we couldn’t hear him that well because we were a bit out of speaker range.
He started calling some of the special early boarding groups and we didn’t hear anything about kids or any of that jazz. My wife became slightly more anxious (she’s really not always anxious, but this first time flying thing really did a doozy on her) and wanted to know if we could board early.
Given that families with small children normally get to go on very early, I suggested we approach the podium and see if we could get on the flight.
I approached the gate agent and said, “We’re first timers with a child and would love to get on early if possible.” Before I could finish my sentence (and ask if that was ok) he sort of motioned for me to scan my ticket.
As soon as I did, I walked forward a few steps and my wife scanned her ticket. That’s when the agent said something along the lines of, “I was going to call you guys (families, I guess) in just a minute. You could have waited.”
I then stopped in my tracks and said, “I was trying to ask you if you had already called the group but you cut me off.”
At this point my wife could see my more aggressive side about to show its ugly head and she quickly urged me to leave things alone.
The agent kept aggressively saying he was going to call the family group, and I in return explained that I was originally attempting to ask him that exact question.
And that’s when he did it.
He turned. We locked eyes. And he said… “What, do you think you’re entitled?”
I wish you knew how absolutely pissed I was in this moment and how it took every ounce of restraint I had to politely respond by saying, “No, I don’t feel entitled at all.”
But you know what, if there’s ever a time to feel entitled, maybe this was it. I didn’t feel that way, but who says this to a family clearly flying with a child for the first time?
By the way, I’m typing this as we’re on our flight home back to New York for Florida. When the agent started the boarding process today she kicked things off by saying, “If anyone needs extra time boarding you may do so at this time.”
When I heard this announcement I thought to myself, “No matter if the fella at Laguardia had called kids or not, couldn’t we have been part of that group?”
I don’t want to tell you how to do your job, but you might want to instruct gate agents not to say this to new parents (or anyone at all) that are doing their best to keep it together while flying with an infant for the first time.
And hey, remember your first time? You know, your first flight when you had precious cargo — passengers — and you wanted everything to go ok? That was me on this flight. I just wanted my son and my wife to be OK. But apparently that somehow made us “entitled.”
I’m disappointed in this behavior and know you can do better.
Thanks for the cookies.