Lisa Mikulchik had an unpleasant — and unusual — run-in with an airline crewmember, and she wants to know if the company did enough to address her concerns. Yet as I read her account, and the response, I’m baffled that something like this could happen.
The carrier? Hawaiian Airlines, a company with a well-deserved reputation for friendliness and customer service. And, by the way, an airline I’ve flown on and really like, even in normally cramped economy class.
I’ve always thought of Hawaiian as a class act. But Mikulchik would probably beg to differ. In late May, she flew from Oakland, Calif., to Kahului on the island of Maui. Her misadventure began when she picked up what she thought was her checked bag.
“I quite accidentally mistook a crew member’s similar black bag for my own when we landed,” she says. She didn’t realize the mistake until she heard her name being paged through the airport PA system.
When she returned to the Hawaiian carousel, she was confronted by a male crewmember, whose luggage she’d accidentally taken.
I’ll let her tell the rest of the story:
I apologized sincerely, fully understanding the inconvenience of my mistake.
But he did not accept my apology gracefully, or at all. Rather, he proceeded to lecture me loudly and aggressively and got very close to me physically.
I was shocked by his disproportionate reaction and his unprofessional behavior. He was even still in uniform, as were his co-workers!
I tried to stay calm but I felt assaulted and I knew what he was doing was very wrong. I told him I wanted to speak to his supervisor and he retorted that “he didn’t have one.”
All this time his co-workers didn’t even try to calm him down so I felt ganged up on. I didn’t know what to do so I left the area after that — his final words to me were something to the effect of, “I shouldn’t be allowed to fly on the airline”!
Well, sounds like someone didn’t have a good flight.
Mikulchik says she stumbled around the terminal in a daze of disbelief after the confrontation, not sure of whom to complain to.
“I couldn’t find anyone to talk to in the baggage area,” she says. “But a very kind man in the office who recognized how bad the situation was put me through to consumer relations.”
After numerous conversations with Hawaiian’s agents and a written complaint, here’s how the airline responded:
This is in response to your conversation with Susan Moss of our In-Flight
We understand you are requesting for compensation. As a gesture of goodwill, we have issued you an e-certificate (also known as an ETCO) for $100 off the purchase of a new ticket on Hawaiian Airlines. Please see below for the terms, conditions and redeeming instructions for the ETCO.
We appreciate this opportunity to respond to your concern. We value your business, and look forward to serving you in your future travels.
Mikulchik is unhappy with that offer.