United Airlines B767 on Flickr

Early this summer I flew United into Denver to attend a family reunion. Anyone that flies there regularly can tell you that the most consistent difficulty in flying into Denver is the turbulent air.

This last time was no exception, we had persistent rough air all through the flight, which presented a service problem.

Because turbulence is the #2 cause of injuries for flight attendants company policy prohibits flight attendants from providing drink or food service while going through turbulent air, so the flight attendants were unable to serve drinks or even leave their seating areas.

Not knowing why we weren't getting drink service, folks started to get unhappy and complain.

When they saw people were displeased, the flight attendants moved to explain the situation, why they couldn't provide service, and an estimate from the captain about how long it would be until we got out of the rough patch and they could start service.

Then the flight crew really impressed me. The captain got on the PA, apologized for the delay in drink service, and gave an estimate as to when we'd be through the rough air based on weather information from air traffic control.

The flight crew provided us information about why we weren't getting service and estimates from multiple levels of authority as to when the service would begin. It didn't magically change the circumstances, we still had to be patient, but their being so up front about the situation helped us to refill our reservoirs of goodwill.

A small effort to communicate status helped us feel like we were being properly cared for and curtailed the urge to criticize and complain.