My Run-In With A United Airlines Flight Attendant Who Hated Me For No Reason

I’m a pretty casual traveler. I’m the type of guy who just tosses his headphones in, buries himself in a book, and takes the good with the bad until I get home after a shit ton of delays. But sometimes, your boy gets heated.

Case and point: December 27th while travelling from Puerto Vallarta to Houston after a Christmas vacation.

It began innocently. Our flight, delayed about an hour due to inclement weather in our destination city, was no more than half-full. If you’ve ever flown United Airlines, you know that they dedicate a monstrous portion of the plane to “Economy Plus,” which boasts the amount of leg room everyone deserves to enjoy. On this particular flight, it was 90% empty. I’m talking legitimately four people were sitting in this section.

When we finally took off, we started tracking our two-hour flight to see how the miserable Houston weather would affect us. Sure enough, we began just circling the damn Gulf of Mexico which immediately made me think we were about to be in a potential Lost situation. This lead to my girlfriend’s dad texting her something to the effect of, “Y’all are landing in New Orleans.”

“Awesome,” I thought to myself. “I always wanted my first trip to New Orleans to be stuck at an airport rather than dominating Bourbon Street.”

When we landed in The Big Easy, the disgruntled passengers clearly weren’t thrilled with the situation. Our pilot told us that we’d be grounded there for some time and that we were free to move about the cabin. Boy, was he wrong.

My girlfriend and I decided to move up to the Economy Plus seats to stretch our legs. Our two-hour flight had already turned into four-plus hours, so we thought this was justified. When my girlfriend called United Customer Service to upgrade our seats to where we were sitting, shit started to hit the fan.

The flight attendant approached us and explained we were in the wrong seats, at which point we explained that we were upgrading. She began telling us that we could remain in those seats until the flight took off for Houston again, but left in a huff.

She soon returned with security, which was some dork in a suit with a walkie talkie. She heatedly explained to him that we were wrongfully sitting in seats that weren’t ours.

Let me spend my money the way I want to spend my money, lady. But for some reason, this set her off.

This was aggressive. I was just sitting there in my oversized long sleeved Scaries t-shirt with my heart pounding out of my chest. Luckily, the rest of the plane was on #TeamWill.

She continued to explain that we couldn’t sit in Economy Plus due to “weight issues,” which seemed peculiar as all of the weight as in the back of the plane which didn’t seem all that safe to me either. But hey, I’m no pilot. I’m just a regular dude trying to read some Hemingway during his vacation come down. But soon thereafter, she said we could sit there if we paid (which we were trying to do). This caused me to get some lip.

She freaked. To the point where it was clear security needed to get her out of there.

Fearing more fallout, I decided to peace the fuck out of our “new” seats and head back to the tuna can which was the back of the plane.

After sitting in our original seats for the better part of an hour, they told us to prepare for takeoff once again. Our enemy flight attendant was the chosen one to make the announcement, and she threw all the shade in the world at us when she requested everyone take their original seats. Unable to upgrade in time due to lackluster phone customer service, we had no choice but to sit in the back again. Our surrounding passengers quizzed us on what happened, with everyone offering their support and acknowledging her insanity.

But, then they reneged on our takeoff and the pilot reiterated that we could “move about the cabin” once again. My eyes lit up.

Honestly? I wanted to do it. I needed to go back to where we had just been accosted purely so I could make a point. But I didn’t have the cajones. Luckily, someone else did.

Being the supportive as hell boyfriend that I am, I had to follow suit. It was officially a sit-in.

After some time passed, I looked over the seats and saw our batshit flight attendant talking to another flight attendent, who appeared to be a beautiful Swedish woman with a smile like the sunrise. The Swede soon approached us and said, “I am so sorry, but you cannot sit here.” I hit her with a smile and my big brown eyes and said, “Oh, we’ll move once the plane takes off. We just wanted a little extra space during the delay.”

“Oh, wonderful,” The Swede replied. “No worries at all.”

When she returned back to the flight attendant area, you had to imagine morale was low between the whole lot of ’em after The Swede sided with #TeamWill. Once we finally got in the air, the United staff attempted to fix the problem with cookies and water. And even though our original enemy flight attendant completely ignored us while dolling out the free food and drink, we still felt as though we came out on top.

As we got off the plane 8 hours after our original takeoff, I made a pact with myself that I wouldn’t make a scene as I walked by her and she wished me happy holidays. Luckily, my girlfriend asked her name.

“Merry Christmas, Paula,” she said. And the mic was officially dropped.

Image via Shutterstock

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Will deFries (Twitter / Instagram) is a Senior Writer at Grandex and the world's foremost authority on Sunday Scaries (Twitter / Instagram). Email me at

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