Sue was an emotionally delicate girl and assumed that the airport lounge debacle was all her fault. Her mother Anne was far from pleased that their trip together had been spoiled like this. To make matters worse, she received an email from the airline informing her that, due to the incident, her access to the lounge had been taken away. Anne was livid. The airline should be apologizing to her rather than punishing her!
Anne Loved Delta Airlines
Anne was a 40-something travel enthusiast from Staten Island who loved Delta airlines. She wasn’t the type of person to have strong loyalty to a brand but she thought Delta was by far the best U.S. airline. So anytime she traveled, whether for work or pleasure, she always went with Delta.
She Traveled Often For Work
Anne’s job was to appraise hotels across the country. She loved her job. It allowed her to travel all over and meet new people everywhere she went. But there was one small drawback. As much as she loved flying Delta, sometimes she was forced to use a competing airline due to flight schedules and costs.
The One Thing She Hated
Anne understood perfectly well that she couldn’t always fly Delta, but the one thing she really hated was flying Soul Air. She thought it was by far the worst airline company, with constant delays and bad policies. But every now and again, she was forced to fly on Soul. That all changed when one day she went to war with the company.
A Birthday Gift
Anne’s daughter Sue took after her mother in many ways, especially when it came to a love of travel. Sue thought airplanes were amazing. Every now and then, Anne was able to bring Sue along on a business trip and Sue loved every minute of it. One year, for Sue’s sixth birthday, Anne got her a Delta t-shirt. Sue loved wearing it every time she boarded a plane.
A Mother-Daughter Trip
For work, Anne needed to appraise a waterpark. It was the summer, school was out, and Anne thought Sue would love a day or two of swimming in pools and going down water slides. Of course, Sue was thrilled when she found out she was going. And as always, she wore her special Delta shirt that her mom gave her.
Everything Was Going Well
Anne and Sue awoke early one morning for their trip to the waterpark. They were already packed and, although a little sleepy, ready for adventure. They left extra early to ensure there would be no traffic on their way to the airport. They quickly found a parking spot in their terminal. Everything was going perfectly…until disaster struck.
A Problem at the Lounge
Anne had status with Soul Air, even though she didn’t like the airline, and thus was allowed to use Soul’s airport lounges. She was also allowed to bring one guest. Since they’d arrived early, Anne and Sue went to the lounge for some breakfast. When they entered the lounge, they were suddenly stopped by one of the lounge employees.
The lounge employee took Anne aside and said that Sue needed to change her shirt. The employee said it wasn’t acceptable for someone at the Soul Air lounge to wear a t-shirt promoting a rival airline. Anne was shocked. At first, she thought it was a joke. But she soon realized the employee was serious.
Anne Argues With The Employee
Anne immediately told the employee that the idea of her daughter needing to change shirts was ridiculous. Her daughter always wore that shirt when she flew and never had any problems. Furthermore, the notion that simply wearing a shirt for another airline was somehow a serious issue was absurd.
The Employee Insists
Despite Anne’s arguments, the employee insisted that she was merely enforcing company policy. Anne thought that the policy was outrageous. She asked the employee if Sue would be denied entry with the Delta shirt on. The employee said that both Anne and Sue would need to leave unless Sue changed her shirt.
Sue Gets Upset
Sue could tell something was wrong, even though she couldn’t hear the conversation her mom Anne was having with the airport lounge employee. Sue hated it when her mom got upset and it wasn’t long before Sue started to cry. Anne immediately tried to console her. Seeing her daughter in tears made her even angrier about the whole situation.
Anne Draws a Line
Anne told the employee that a whole situation was being needlessly created. All that had to be done was for the employee to let Anne and Sue in. But the employee absolutely would not budge. So Anne took Sue by the hand and angrily stormed out of the Soul airport lounge, telling the employee she would never return again.
Anne Tries To Console Sue
Sue was a sensitive girl and believed it was her fault they couldn’t enter the lounge. Anne explained that it was the employee’s fault for enforcing a ridiculous rule. Eventually Sue calmed down and stopped crying. Anne was beyond annoyed that what was supposed to be a fun trip with her daughter had turned into a disaster.
The Trip Continues
Anne and Sue continued their trip without any incidents. Sue felt guilty though about her shirt and refused to wear it. Although Sue had a good time at the waterpark, the whole trip was definitely made less enjoyable by the incident at the airport lounge. Despite this, Anne was willing to just forget about the whole thing and move on.
Anne Gets An Enraging Email
Despite her desire to move on from the incident at the airport lounge, Anne received an unexpected email that escalated the whole situation. A representative from Soul Air told Anne that due to the incident, her lounge access was being revoked. Anne was furious. The airline should be apologizing to her, not punishing her!
Things Get Even Worse
If things weren’t bad enough, the representative from the airline even took the extraordinary step of contacting Anne’s employer. Thankfully, her employer found the whole thing ridiculous. It wasn’t the first time Anne’s company had dealt with Soul’s ridiculous policies. But Anne was now not at all content to let the matter be.
She Plots Revenge
Anne replied to the airline representative’s email but knew that exchanging emails wasn’t enough. This airline had gone way over the line by contacting Anne’s employer. Anne knew she needed to get revenge on the airline. But she wasn’t sure how just yet. She had a feeling though that an opportunity would present itself before too long. And she was right.
Anne was widely considered an expert in the travel industry and would sometimes be contacted by reporters for quotes. One day, a reporter asked Anne for her thoughts on the best U.S. airline. Anne, of course, said that Delta was her favorite. But then the reporter asked what she thought was the worst airline in the country. Anne knew her time for revenge had come.
Anne Tells All
Anne told the reporter about all the bad experiences she’d had with Soul Air, including lost luggage, scheduling problems, and their awful policies. Then she told the full story about the incident with Sue at the airport lounge. And she told the reporter about how Soul had emailed her boss. The reporter was flabbergasted.
The Reporter Investigates
After hearing Anne’s story, the reporter decided to make the incident its own article. That’s when the reporter began digging into other incidents involving Soul Air. It was soon apparent that the airline had a long history of harassing customers over minor infractions, such as the incident with Sue and her t-shirt.
The Story Comes Out
The reporter’s story about Soul Air’s conduct came out a few weeks later and sent shockwaves across the travel industry. Soul Air was forced to issue a public apology. It was Anne’s story to the reporter about the incident at the lounge that had inspired the whole thing! Anne thought she’d enacted the perfect revenge against a company she despised. But little did she know, the war was just beginning.
A Determined CEO
Anne couldn’t have known it at the time but the CEO of Soul Air was an incredibly petty man who was intent on finding out who had launched the whole investigation into the airline. The CEO stood behind every strange and unpopular policy at the airline. He’d only approved a public apology because it was good for business.
Anne Is Investigated
It wasn’t long before the CEO was able to figure out that Anne was the one whose complaint to the reporter had started the whole mess. So the CEO decided payback was necessary. He started keeping track of every time Anne flew on Soul Air and decided to make her life miserable.
Anne, per usual, avoided flying with Soul as much as she could, but sometimes she had no other choice. She began to notice that all of her flights were significantly delayed. At first she just figured it was bad business as usual. But it kept happening. Flight after flight was delayed. She figured she’d either had terrible luck or something was amiss.
Seats Gone Haywire
Then Anne started having problems booking seats. With her company’s budget, she could usually afford upgraded seats. But suddenly, every time she booked a first class seat, she would be rebooked to coach. When she called the airline, they simply said there had been an error in the system and the seat wasn’t available.
Anne Grows Suspicious
Anne didn’t want to seem paranoid but ever since the airport lounge incident, her experiences with Soul had gotten even worse. She didn’t have a single flight with them that didn’t involve some kind of issue. She wondered if she was going crazy or if someone at Soul was purposefully trying to ruin her travel arrangements.
Anne Contacts the Reporter
Anne reached out to the reporter to see if anything weird had been happening to the reporter or any of their sources. In fact, the reporter said, one of the sources had said all of their flights with Soul were filled with problems, either delays or seating issues. Anne said she’d had the exact same problem.
Was There A Conspiracy?
Anne and the reporter laughed for a moment as they wondered if there could actually be some sort of conspiracy to ruin the flight experiences of everyone involved in the article. But it was very odd that Anne’s experience was also happening to another source. So the reporter decided to test out their theory.
The Reporter Uses The Airline
The reporter booked a flight on the airline. It was just a short, relatively inexpensive flight. But the reporter wanted to see if anything would go wrong. The reporter booked a first class seat. Everything seemed fine for a few days, then a couple weeks. Then, things got weird.
Problems With The Flight
On the day the reporter arrived at the airport to check in for their flight, they discovered that they had been moved to coach. The reporter went to the ticket check-in counter to see what the problem was. The person at the counter apologized and said there had been an error with the seat system online. This was the exact same excuse Anne had been getting too.
Then, A Flight Delay
The reporter then watched in amazement as their flight was delayed. First, it was delayed by 20 minutes. Then it was delayed a whole hour. The reporter was amazed. Could this all really be a coincidence? Could the reporter, Anne, and the other source all really be having the exact same problems every time they flew with Soul?
One Last Test
The reporter tried one more time to test out the theory. So they again booked a flight in first class. And, believe it or not, the exact same thing happened again. Their first class flight was changed to coach due to “an error in the system.” And once again, their flight was delayed by almost an hour.
The Reporter Checks The Data
The reporter double checked all of the available data for Soul Air. Although the airline did have higher instances of delayed flights, there were hardly any complaints about first class seats suddenly being lost. And only about 45% of the flights were delayed, which was high but not high enough to explain why the reporter and their two sources were always hit with delays.
The Reporter Calls The Airline
The reporter called a spokesperson for the airline and presented them with all this data. How could it be that the reporter and two sources had all experienced the same unusual issues every single time they flew? Was someone at the airline punishing them for the story the reporter had written?
The Spokesperson Laughs
The spokesperson responded to this accusation with a long, hearty laugh. They said the claim was ridiculous and said they would investigate internally to see what was going on with the first class seats issue. Despite the denial, the reporter was highly suspicious that something was amiss with this airline.
The Reporter Requests An Interview With The CEO
The reporter tried their best to get an interview with the CEO. But no matter how many requests they put in and no matter how many times they followed up, the CEO was always too busy to be interviewed. The reporter couldn’t definitely prove that the airline was getting revenge on the people involved in the article but it sure seemed like it was happening.
Anne Has An Idea
Anne had an idea. She would use Soul exclusively for all of her traveling over the next six months. Her company wouldn’t mind since they saved some money. But she would keep track of every single one of her many flights over that six-month period. If she kept getting delayed and kicked out of first class over and over again, then something must be wrong.
Anne Fights Back
And so Anne very diligently started keeping track of every single one of her lights over a period of six months. She flew several times a month so there were plenty of flights to track. She kept track of everything that happened on these flights in a spreadsheet that the reporter could also access. Both watched in amazement as the same issues happened on every flight.
Anne Is Shocked
Even though she had long thought something was amiss, a part of Anne always figured she was just imagining things. But she watched as flight after flight that she took had the exact same problems. Every flight was delayed. And on every flight, she was kicked out of first class due to a system error.
Anne Nails The Airline
At the end of the six months, Anne had saved detailed information and a mountain of evidence against the airline. It had been an annoying six months of travel to be sure. But an airline CEO going out of his way to ruin the travel experiences of those who criticized him was just insane. And to think, this whole thing had started with just one minor incident at an airport lounge.
The Reporter Has A Trick Up Their Sleeve
The reporter had cleverly found other frequent Soul travelers to track their experiences over six months as well. Although they had occasional flight delays, none of them had every single one of their flights delayed. And not a single one of them had been kicked out of first class. At this point, it was undeniable: the CEO was trying to get revenge on Anne.
A New Story Comes Out
The reporter wrote a second story stating that Anne was a victim of a revenge campaign by Soul. And the reporter provided all the evidence for anyone to examine for themselves. Once again, shockwaves went out through the travel industry. Before long, the story was trending on social media.
The CEO Denies Everything
The CEO denied everything but the denial didn’t convince anyone. Companies began canceling their business deals with Soul Air. Travelers started canceling their flights. It seemed like nobody wanted to ever fly Soul again, thanks to Anne’s experiences. It wasn’t long before the board of directors made a stunning announcement.
The Board Kicks Out The CEO
The board of directors kicked the CEO out of his own company. The CEO ranted and raved about how unfair the whole thing was. But as he yelled at the board on the phone, he became so angry that he finally admitted it. “Yes,” he screamed, “I blacklisted the people from that story and I’d do it again!”
The board put out a statement on behalf of the entire company stating that the CEO had admitted to wrongdoing and been kicked out of the company. The board also stated that it would be finding a new CEO who would be changing a lot of the airline’s policies. Anne saw the news and was elated. She’d finally helped bring down that nutcase CEO!
A New CEO
A new CEO was quickly appointed to try to save the sinking ship that was Soul Air. The CEO immediately apologized for the revenge campaign waged by the previous CEO. The new CEO also said they would find experienced advisors to help revise all of the airline’s controversial policies.
Anne Gets A Call
The next day, Anne got an unexpected call. It was the new CEO of Soul Air, apologizing for everything that had happened. Anne said she appreciated the apology. Then the new CEO said something shocking. They offered to make Anne an advisor to the company, tasked with revising the airline’s policies and rules.
Anne Was Delighted
Anne immediately said yes. She had traveled with the airline so many times that she could easily list all of the policies that caused problems. She came up with a list of policies that she thought should be changed. But then she remembered one thing: the source of this whole entire mess.
Anne Changes the Lounge Policy
Anne then put at the very top of her list one important recommendation: the airline should change its airport lounge policy so that visitors to the lounge would not be prohibited from entering just for wearing another airline’s logo on a shirt. The new CEO couldn’t help but laugh when they saw this at the top of Anne’s list. But they immediately changed the policy.
Anne Goes Back To The Airport Lounge
After the policy had been changed, Anne and her daughter Sue went back to the airport lounge where this whole thing had started. Sue proudly wore her Delta t-shirt. Anne and Sue entered the lounge with no problems this time. Then Anne and Sue took a selfie of the two of them smiling inside the lounge, with Sue displaying her t-shirt.
The events of this story are entirely fictional and are products of the author’s imagination. Images included are meant for illustration purposes only. Any resemblance to actual events, places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.