Wednesday, November 5, 2008


This past weekend I was flying back home on Horizon. I was sleeping comfortably when the stewardesses wheeled the beverage cart right next to me. I lazily opened my eyes and saw that they were working on the rows in front of us, so I had more time to nap.

Then- all of a sudden- there was a burning hot sensation on my leg!

In one swift movement I was awake and unbuckled my seat belt to find that a stewardess had spilled hot coffee all over my lap! My husband said she had poured it out of the carafe and had set it on the cart. Then she hit it with her elbow.

She was most apologetic, and all the stewardesses rush me with paper towels, dry and wet. I was fine. It had been hot, but thankfully, not burning hot. I was fine and I told everyone so.

Then the guilty party said she’d be back to "comp. me". My ears perked up! Compensation? Cool! So... I’m thinking: how are they going to compensate me? The price of dry cleaning? A free flight? What?

Later in the flight she brings me over a form to get compensated. I scan it and it is clear that spilling a drink on a customer is the smallest infraction with piddlely compensation.

My choices:
1,000 air miles (but we don’t have the Horizon mileage plan, so that was out)
An e-certificate for $25 to
A $5 giftcard to Starbucks
Or, get this-
A teddy bear

Maybe I had gotten my hopes too high, but I kinda thought these were pathetic options. I mean, “sorry we spilled hot coffee on you, would you like $5 to get a new one?” Pretty sad.

Of course, before she said anything, I hadn’t even thought of being compensated. I’ve been a waitress, and while I never spilled a drink on anyone, I know accidents happen. However, this level of compensation still seems a bit weak to me.
What do you think?

1 comment:

Broke Grad Student said...

Please tell me you went for the teddy bear.

It doesn't surprise me that the compensation was so weak. A couple years ago, I missed a connection by 30 minutes on a trip to Europe and ended up having to wait 7 hours for the next available flight. To compensate me, the airline gave me a voucher for 50 euros off a future flight on the same airline and a 5 minute calling card, so I could call my friend to tell them that I'd be 7 hours late.

"Sorry we cut your vacation short by a day. Here's a voucher so you can pay us a few more hundred dollars to do it again."

I think I would have preferred a teddy bear.