Flight attendant here. Thought provoking article! I appreciate your viewing of the situation through the class lens. The line, “I wish the balance of power in the world didn’t require you to thank him for his cruelty” was particularly poignant.
The situation you’ve described has happened to every front facing airline employee probably in the last week or two given the winter weather around the nation. Most of us have learned to not take it personally when it isn’t our fault. We weren’t responsible for the delay, and we see the person’s cruelty as evidence of their deficiency, not ours. We wish they had the tools to better regulate their emotions so that they don’t have their mental peace so disrupted.
The customer service masters learn to read individuals and groups and apply techniques to make the bitter pill of a delay or cancelation easier to swallow. This is a good, sometimes impossible challenge, and one that gets harder as growing wealth inequality coincides with an expanded burden of self entitlement.