Oh Fun: I’m Being Trolled By An (Alleged) American Airlines Pilot

Filed Under: American

Update: I’m still not 100% sure, but based on reverse image searching this guy’s Twitter profile pic and seeing the name associated with the previous handle, and then searching the FAA database, it appears this guy might not actually be an American pilot. In which case him representing himself as such is still a problem, and I hope this guy gets the help he needs…

Several days ago I wrote about the pitiful service I received in American Airlines first class when flying between Dallas and Hong Kong, and then I wrote a follow-up post regarding how a flight attendant responded to my criticisms of the service.

Throughout all of this I’ve made it clear that I don’t think the flight attendants who provided the bad service should get in trouble. Quite to the contrary, it comes down to management not giving employees a vision for the company.

American has lots of good employees, though ultimately the ones that are good are that way because they choose to be, and not because of any purpose they’ve been given by the company’s leadership.

Anyway, I’ve received comments and emails from all kinds of American employees, and they’ve been interesting… but there’s one communication in particular that has stood out.

Is An American Airlines Pilot Threatening Me?

Twitter user @ClapBackKyle claims to be an American Airlines pilot (and in his Twitter bio he refers to himself first and foremost as a “professional pilot”), and he has threatened to kick me off his flight if I’m ever flying with him. Apparently he’ll kick me off before I even make it down the jet bridge.

Let me note upfront that I can’t personally vouch for whether he’s an American pilot or not. He uses his first name and has a picture that’s presumably of him, but that’s all the info we have. I’m not here to dox him, or anything, so I’m just going off of what he is saying, hence the “alleged” in the post title.

Furthermore, if this guy is in fact an American pilot, I totally don’t believe he represents the masses. Frankly I really hope this guy isn’t a pilot for any airline.

Nonetheless, this interaction does raise a lot of questions for me.

The Twitter conversation started with him threatening to kick me off his flight, should I ever be flying with him.

The next time I see you on one of my AA flights I hope you won’t be offended when I throw you off before departure. Try me. #getalife #karma #whatyousewiswhatyoureap

He then accused me of only saying nice things about airlines that give me perks (obviously that’s not true — I pay for all my own travel and don’t accept any freebies from airlines).

Then he reminded me to get off his aircraft.

I asked him what he was going to kick me off “his” plane for, and he once again said “try me.”

I’m also apparently not a good blogger…

And apparently I have daddy issues as well…

Then he told me that he heard Independence Air wants me as a passenger. Right back at you Kyle… I heard Baltia wants you as their chief 737 MAX pilot.

Then he wishes everyone a good morning except me, because I am a profiteer for publishing hate and my mentally ill opinions, apparently…

As you can see from our conversation, I Tweeted at him four times, and he Tweeted at me 20 times, so I’m not intending to share just one side, but rather I didn’t say much interesting aside from the Tweets you see above.

I Have So Many Questions…

Let me once again emphasize that assuming this guy is an American pilot, he in no way represents a majority of their pilots. Most American pilots are professionals, and this guy is an exception.

This guy’s Twitter timeline is nothing but him trying to push peoples’ buttons (that’s when he’s not bragging about his 42″ arms or 68″ shoulders… I’ll leave out the obvious follow-up comment).

There are a lot of people on the internet who love to be rude/argue, though I think we tend to hope that these aren’t the same people who we trust with our lives every time we get on a plane.

In this era of social media, it also raises a difficult question about what kind of policies companies (including airlines) should have to control what their employees say on social media. The guy only uses his first name, but he does post a picture of himself and represent himself as an American Airlines pilot.

If he is an American pilot, is he in the clear because he’s not using his full name, or is he still crossing the line because he’s representing himself as an employee of the company? I’d certainly hope the latter is the case.

If anyone has the pleasure of flying with Kyle, please send him my regards!

Comments
  1. @ Ben — You know all too well that I am the first person who will give you grief (even if I am just grouchy), but you are without a doubt the best travel blogger. Period.

    Daddy issues? Ford is your sugar daddy or what? Anyway, this guy is nuts. I would love to see how this escalates if he threw you off a flight for exercising your First Amendment rights. I don’t think it would end well for him.

  2. I hope somehow he did do what he promised to (hopefully no harm to any passenger physically) so that there would be another PR nightmare, and more importantly Douggie be forced out.

  3. If he is an actual pilot for American, he’s clearly not professional. I’m sure AA would love to hear about pilots threatening passengers and the potential abuse of his power/duties in his role as pilot. While pilots obviously do have authority to remove passengers from flights, doing so without good cause would likely be terms for suspension, if not termination. To be honest, his behavior also seems like he’s on a substance that would not have him currently ready to fly, so I’d take it with a grain of salt. Still a stupid move on his part, though..

  4. Some of his twitter stuff is actually funny.

    I think it’s unlikely that he’s a pilot for real. If he is the fact that he doesn’t use his name is not likely to give him very much cover. I don’t think you can prospectively threaten to kick a journalist off a plane for giving your employer a bad review. Whether as a matter of company policy or federal regulations.

    If I were you I would document everything with screenshots and stuff since there would seem to be a good likelihood that tweets are going to start to disappear. I also assume that if he is an AA pilot he’s probably talking to his buddies and it’s not completely out of the realm of possibility that you’re going to encounter some difficulties. Another reason to document everything.

    Again, though, I seriously doubt a real AA pilot would be this dumb unless he thinks he’s untouchable, which he may think.

  5. @Larry

    Not in the US obviously, but check out what happened to Josh Cahill (YouTube flight reviewer) on a Malaysia Airlines flight.

  6. Don’t delete this, Ben. Kyle needs to be called out and reprimanded for his threats. Send this to AA and file a complaint.

  7. “Air Force Veteran – Member of the Resistance” what an oxymoron LOL

    Don’t waste any more time/energy on that fake persona.

  8. Why is everyone telling him to delete this post?

    Ben doesn’t have an obligation to report anything to AA … he’s a public reviewer who’s in a bit of a Twitter spat with either a:

    – Not so bright AA pilot.
    – Troll who’s only ever flown a paper airplane.

    I’d say keep the drama going, but don’t feed the troll too much.

  9. Why delete it? Public service message. I’m sure someone at AA reads Ben’s blog.

    Let’s hope he wasn’t flying until at least 12 hours after he posted this nonsense.

  10. If your contention in the original article is correct, that AA lacks effective leadership, then I doubt that anything would happen to any of their employees who was insulting or threatening to a regular paying customer in a tweet.

    My observation is that AA regards passengers as passive cargo, not customers, and cares about them about as much as UPS cares about packages. As long as they get delivered, it doesn’t matter to AA how passengers get handled in transit, or what happens to them before or after they are shipped.

  11. @ Will — Have you been reading the blog at all? I literally published 11 premium travel reviews last week.

  12. Apparently friendly service and competent delivery of the turndown service advertised on the menu count as “special perks” in the eyes of some AA employees. What a world we live in!

  13. @ Nathan

    I used to like Josh Cahill but since that Malaysian incident he’s become unbearable. Every review he now does he’s just trying to find scandal and publicity. As a result his reviews now have titles like “Threatened on Air Canada” or “Terrorised on Air Serbia.”

  14. AA will likely see this, now that it’s posted. They should run an investigation in the off chance this whack job is a pilot (or holds any other more likely job at the airline i.e. janitor).

    And yes, while I sometimes find faults in what you post, you’re the best blogger in the field and worthwhile or multiple daily visits.

  15. The reason this needs to be reported to AA is that I am quite sure it violates their Social Media policy for employees. If this is in fact an actual employee, there are consequences. And, as this then becomes an HR matter, it is better to take the conversation offline – and that means leaving us all out of it and having Ben and AA handle this appropriately.

    Not everything that happens needs to be fodder for an Internet audience.

  16. @Lucky, the fact that you are/were giving this troll any attention at all is kinda sad. Trolls feed off of attention.

  17. I don’t know Lucky, my suspicions (based on what “ClapBackKyle” has to say) lead me to believe that he’s probably a conflicted FA (not a captain because that’s clearly BS), who’s in a snit about your article – but who also is infatuated with you. Just my opinion, but prove me wrong.

  18. So funny! I had a flight out of CLT recently – on an American Eagle so we’re clear – where the pilot introduced himself as “Kyle” (didn’t catch the last name) and a group a 5 teenage girls got really excited that it might be this Clap Back Kyle guy. Apparently he has quite a little insta/twitter following among super young girls… honestly I thought from their reaction someone just told the JT or Leo was sitting in first class. The FA confirmed that it was him and that the girls could wait to de-board and maybe catch a glimpse as exited the cockpit. Not surprised he’s actually a ginormous douche.

  19. You need to let AA know. If this is true (I doubt it is), he sounds like he has mental health issues. And should be in charge of “his” aircraft.

  20. Does anyone else think this “”AA” guy sounds like Trump? The way he completely avoids answering questions and comes back with a kind of dopey swagger.

  21. Look, he’s a pilot so he already has a horrible job, but yea he shouldn’t be allowed to vent at higher tier people in life such as ben or is. Pilots are there to serve first world customers like us, this is unacceptable and he should be fired and forced to pick up trash on freeways for 3 months. Pilots and flight attendants must know that they only have power over us on the aircraft m; otherwise they are lowest tiers of life. Such a shame to see idiots like him back talk his superiors in life….

  22. This is exactly the kind of entertainment my dreary Monday needed!

    But in all seriousness this guy needs to be reported to AA, even if he isn’t a pilot with them. This kind of behavior can’t be tolerated by someone who is potentially responsible for hundreds of lives every day

  23. @LiuX LOL #Shutdownspermile There’s always Delta!

    Hey, maybe AA will freeze this guy’s AAdvantage account. That’ll teach him!

  24. What these trolls often crave is attention. And sadly, I think you’ve played right into his hands by giving him a headline and airtime on your blog.

    I guess it could be kind of cathartic publishing it as a story as although you don’t mention it i’m sure it is really quite upsetting to be attacked like that in the public domain for no reason.

    But my feeling….he’s probably NOT a bona fide AA pilot and is laying back in his trailer right now reading this article absolutely delighted that he’s riled you so much.

  25. Dude, I am crazy about your blog. But, I have to say, you do tend to dog American a little much IMHO. Maybe be a little kinder to them, not so many conclusions and not so much gloom and doom? Some encouragement?

  26. No one is on the record here including the AnonymousFA with 33 years at AA whose account you devoted a whole blog article to. For all we know, the pilot and the FA could be that 400 pound guy Trump attributes the last election hacking on.

  27. He’s not wrong. Your opinion is clearly influenced by airlines that are willing to play the game. No biggie, as this isn’t exactly unusual for travel blog sites. But I wouldn’t really trust your assessment of anything, outside of the broadest strokes, that you didn’t have recorded in pictures or video. I mostly come for the pics and info on the smaller/offbeat airlines.

    Yeah, AA/UA mostly suck. DL’s passable. There are a few good asian carriers, the ME3 are slowly being brought to earth because their host gov’ts are tired of throwing good money after bad, the european carriers are a mixed bag.

  28. @ Dan — There are many things you can accuse me of, including everyone having some level of bias (we all have brands we like more than others). Furthermore, you absolutely have the right to decide what you’re going to believe, and to get value out of what you’d like. But please don’t accuse me of being influenced by “airlines that are willing to play the game.” Or at least explain what that means?

    I have no financial relationship with any airline. I go out of my way to avoid any sort of press events, schmoozing, etc. So please help me understand if there’s something I’m missing…

  29. I believe Lucky’s account on the bad AA service. the ensuring bombing of FA and Pilots, however, I am not sure if they are enacted by AA personnel.

    I wanted to believe both are attempts to further sabotage AA, maybe trying to put the final nAAil in AA’s coffin.

  30. He’s undoubtedly faking as others have mentioned; still, +1 to what Mark said – notify AA corporate security, take down the post, and let them investigate. If this guy is really a pilot, and is this deranged, I wouldn’t feel safe as a passenger on a plane he’s commanding.

  31. @ben
    I think you can be ridiculous about some things and maybe sometimes petty, but you should absolutely expect great service in business class. Especially at the cost. All this nonsense coming from AA is pure insanity and speaks to this backwards culture.

    It is certainly not being petty to expose facts about customer service that is clearly bad and even offensive. When the offenders take the offense, you know they know they are guilty. Go hard at these people and this organization Ben.

  32. Easy .. contact AA to investigate as he made a threat
    Moreover , he confirms what that company thinks about their customers.

  33. He has 46 followers on twitter. Why the hell are you wasting your precious time on this very obvious fraud?

  34. I stopped flying AA many years ago for just this kind of behavior. CX is the only way to fly on any route they cover. Even in economy CX FAs are super nice to everyone. Personally I prefer premium economy for the extra room but no matter the class I fly I am addressed by name or sir and thanked for my patronage.

  35. I really need to explain myself? Some airlines monitor social media – mostly the ones who still believe influencers have a meaningful impact on the bottom line (they don’t). You’ve made your identity public. So it’s not difficult to know when to put on the charm if you’re going that route. Preferential treatment, above and beyond what any other elite would receive, is going to happen with you. You do not see the same world the rest of us (again, including elites) see. So your opinion in these areas is damn near useless. Didn’t Doug Parker (bless his soul) say AA were giving up on influencers? Might explain the difference. You’re just seeing the kind of treatment everybody else normally gets for a change.

    And sure, I doubt there’s any actual payola situation here (although you absolutely should disclose any consulting arrangements you might have with airlines you’re reviewing).

    Look – your blog is fun but quite biased. And only a fool would think your experiences would resemble their (unless they also had a blog with approximately the same numbers).

  36. Totally agree and I experienced more horrible service from AA this past weekend from Miami to San Francisco and back. It never ends but at least they’re consistently poor!!!

  37. I love reading your blogs, they’re my go-to. I don’t believe for a minute that this man works for AA as he claims but if he does he needs to be disciplined and fired from AA and never to work in the industry again. No employer would tolerate this kind of behavior.

  38. @ Dan — I would disclose any consulting arrangements with airlines, but by design there aren’t any.

    You know, I largely agree with you about the concept of the “influencer” generation, and if that’s the way you feel about my blog, that’s your right. I agree there’s very little value in companies giving free stuff to “travel bloggers” who are really only posting pictures of things on Instagram, or are only sharing the positive aspects of a product.

    I go out of my way to differentiate myself by paying for all of my own travel, and writing in-depth reviews of my experiences. If you think someone writing a review of a product they paid for themselves, with thousands of words and dozens of pictures, has no influence, then that’s your right. Any particular review is read by tens of thousands of people, and I’d guess at least some percentage of the millions of people who visit this site every month disagree as well.

    As far as airlines “recognizing” me, I think you’d honestly be surprised by how rarely it happens. Frankly I’m surprised it doesn’t happen more often, but I’m also very observant. If I’m getting special treatment I can tell right away, based on the way the crew interacts with me, and based on observing their interactions with other passengers. It happens very rarely.

    It should come as no surprise that I usually get great service on airlines that are known for having great service, and don’t get great service on airlines that are known for not providing great service.

  39. Ben, you are letting a guy who isn’t wearing a shirt in his profile pic get the better of you for whatever reason. This is petty drama and should be beneath you. DELETE and please return to your regularly scheduled programming.

  40. Guy is too stupid to spell “sow” correctly.

    Check his pictures. Every guy in the world went to high school with a doofus like this. Hahahahaha

  41. @Lucky has AA attempted to reach out to you? Seems to me if someone claiming to be one of their pilots is threatening customers that its something they would want to look into and address immediately. If AA doesn’t respond in some way to this then that really highlights how poorly the airline is run.

    A simple review of his past tweets shows that he spends 95% of his time ranting about Trump, with an occasional tweet attacking Delta. The guy is a clown. No idea if he is a real pilot, but if he is I would not feel comfortable with a nutjob like this flying the plane I am on. He should be removed from duty because he is clearly not stable.

  42. Does AA perform psych evals on its pilots? This guy should never be near a cockpit; frankly he seems like he belongs in a padded cell.

  43. You should give this guy a chance to deny any connection

    Kyle [Name & Twitter Handle Removed]
    3 Feb 2018 I am a 767 International Captain at American Airlines.

    No, they have no obligation legally. They will likely offer you some sort of compensation to keep your business. The best way to avoid getting kicked off of a flight is to one be polite and respectful fo the flight crew especially the flight attendants.

  44. Ben,
    You are clearly a shill for Spirit. Time to admit it so we can move on.

    Source: I have a keyboard and an internet connection, which makes what I type true.

  45. Some words of wisdom:

    *If someone mocks or insults others, they have no valid argument.
    *Normal people don’t go around destroying others.
    *If they acknowledge you, that means they care.
    *If they hate you, that means you are popping.

  46. @ Ross — Went ahead and removed the guy’s name and Twitter handle — he looks like a totally different guy, so don’t want to get any American pilots involved here just because their name is Kyle. 🙂

  47. I have a couple of questions for you in regards to your experience with travel industry employees in general. Would love to hear from you.

  48. Do a Google image search for the image on his twitter and you can find what might be his real name for a (now defunct) Twitter account. I don’t want to post it here.

  49. If it’s worth anything, I think the bias isn’t just with your blog. It’s in pretty much all of the major blogs. The only reasonable way to combat it is to have a larger pool of contributors who try all levels of service (TPG, for ex).

    My issue is when you get particularly sanctimonious about issues that most people couldn’t give a shit about. Or get into an overly nuanced dissection of what’s really a simple problem. AA and UA have a very toxic workplace culture. Color me surprised you rarely see a great soft product in this situation. You can just say the service was brusque. No need for a overwrought thought piece that will make most regular travelers roll their eyes.

  50. Let’s say he’s not a pilot or an employee of AA. Just for the sake of argument. Now…

    Why are we giving him our attention?

  51. It’s sad, as a former AA employee in the glory day of air travel, it makes me sad to here how bad there flagship first has gotten. I, am sure there are thousands of AA employees that are dedicated, and would love to work that flight and show how professional they are.
    As for the wannabe pilot, just ignore him.

  52. @Dan I like the reviews of Premium cabin travel. I like the nuance and thoughts better than the oversimple reviews found elsewhere. I understand your every word in each post above and sorry but I simply disagree.

    Clearly you’re not an idiot, @Dan and you’re articulate, undeserving of insulting dismissal.

    So am I.

  53. “My issue is when you get particularly sanctimonious about issues that most people couldn’t give a shit about. ” Speak for yourself. When people are making decisions about premium travel they want to know what differentiates the different products and the soft product is certainly a part of that. Simply saying the service was brusque would not adequately explain the issues. Lucky merely stated why he felt the way he did and individual readers can make their own assessment if such lack of service will alter their travel choices.

  54. Doubting he’s a pilot at all but he’s obviously not the brightest bulb. If you announce to everyone beforehand you will ‘find a reason’ to kick you off a flight it gives up the game for later if it actually happens it shows it was malicious and pre meditated. It will be nice when you bank that compensation check for another safari as he’s off to the unemployment office.

  55. @Ross that’s not the right guy. A reverse google image search comes up with a different Kyle. [name and Twitter handle removed}

  56. Oops-

    @JDS

    Totally agree! It’s all become a bit too dramatic now, not objective at all. But Malaysia did have a heavy hand in that one..

  57. There are ENTIRELY TOO MANY people in this thread who think the troll is an AA employee.

    Employer status aside, promoting interactions feeds trolls. Don’t do it.

  58. @ Dan — No doubt there are some things I’m more passionate about than others, but you can always drown that out if you’d like.

    But just to make sure I understand this, you’re using TPG as an example of how to do things when it comes to unbiased reporting and reviews? The same blog that has an award show that is sponsored by the same companies that they give awards to? The same blog that has someone attending virtually every media event for, well, just about, anything (not the least of which is attending the Grammys as a guest of Marriott’s Global Marketing Officer)? And the same blog that has people with very little travel experience reviewing products as experts?

    Not trying to be shady, but I feel like some truth is needed here…

  59. “There are ENTIRELY TOO MANY people in this thread who think the troll is an AA employee.” – Well then all the more reason why AA should be investigating this to determine whether or not this person is an employee. If the person is not a pilot with AA seems to me that the company would want to get that information public as quickly as possible.

  60. @Ben, just wanted to add my voice to those saying that this is the best travel blog by far – especially when compared to the ever-widening sea of paid influencers.

  61. @Dan, seriously? If “preferential treatment, above and beyond what any other elite would receive, is going to happen with [Ben]”, then I can only imagine what the AA F experience would be like for a commoner LOL

  62. Hi Ben! I enjoy your blog in general about real life experiences. However this guy is a troll from virtual space. I do not believe he is telling the truth about what he really does in life. Just check his followers and who he follows. Now he earned free publicity by you writing this post. Its a bit of a time waster for everyone, including me reading and commenting here. So now I am curious if he got you in a way that made you reply out of emotions? Or…? Why did you care?

  63. @Ben Kudos for calling out TPG— unquestionably one of the most arrogant, self-entitled shills I’ve ever seen. The one who never fails to point out he’s 6’7 in every review ad nauseum.

  64. Honestly mate what you replied with was magnificent. The line about weak comebacks was a personal favourite.

  65. @Dan said: “And only a fool would think your experiences would resemble their (unless they also had a blog with approximately the same numbers).”

    I’ve redeemed millions of miles and paid for nice airplane travel and have used OMAAT and a few other review blogs that I trust to help me decide, when I have a choice, how to prioritize and how to choose.

    By and large, I find that my travel experiences resemble Lucky’s. Obviously, I don’t do nearly the same amount of travel. And I don’t go as far out of my way to fly a particular product or anything like that. But, for the most part, I find when I fly a product or stay at a hotel that he has reviewed (and so I have read about before choosing it), my experience is about 80 percent of the time right in line with his review. In fact, right to down to the very small details most of the time. Sometimes, after a particular stay or flight, I’ll go back and read his review and see some of his pictures and think “that looks like my picture.”

    Maybe he’s getting special treatment that he doesn’t blog about. But by and large when I read his reviews experience has shown that there is a good chance that is the experience that I’ll experience.

    I’m curious Dan — have you flown any of these products or stayed at any of these hotels or visited any of these lounges and consistently had a worse experience than Lucky posts about? If anything, I generally find that he’s a bit too lenient sometimes and actually I come away often feeling like my experience was more positive.

  66. Haven’t read all the comments yet but my first observations:

    1) without visibility to either the Union or AA’s TOE, likely the threat of using his authority over a company asset (plane) to kick off a PAX will be investigated. There’s likely no way out for him on this one

    2) Lucky mentioned not trying to Dox the pilot yet the last paragraph in the post suggests his followers to let him know he says “hi”. This may not be personal info sharing but using his info for malicious intent by suggesting your name is likely to lead to confrontation

    I have no stake in this game – I like the blog. Hopefully American does something about their service so I can start flying them again. Treat it as “where there’s smoke, there’s fire”

  67. Dan, you are wrong. I don’t do anywhere near as much premium flying as Lucky does, but I spend a lot of time in hotels and his reviews are always spot on. If anything, I often get better upgrades than he does 🙂
    This blog is one of few that is both well written and is objective. TPG is a joke both because of the poor quality of contents and bias. Others are too small to generate anywhere near the amount of content Lucky does.

  68. If I were going to create an anonymous Twitter account, I would not use my own picture. So I don’t understand the purpose of using an image search.

    The person I suggested is not just an AA pilot flying from DFW, like the crew you criticized, but someone who defended FAs with a tweet responding to another critical article in 2018.

  69. How often do pilots notice their passengers boarding. They’re busy doing preflight work, not standing in the aisle greeting people.
    A. He’s not a pilot.
    B. Who cares if he’s a pilot.
    C. Feeding trolls by writing entire articles on them reinforces the idea that we should all be trolls. Negative attention seeking rules the day. If reality TV was a thing when I was a child, I’d be a mega millionaire. Instead I got my butt whooped for bad behavior.

  70. Not for nothing Lucky, but all you do is bash American……it was gonna happen eventually that someone had the nads to say something …. man up dude and move on ..

  71. @John says: “Dude, I am crazy about your blog. But, I have to say, you do tend to dog American a little much IMHO. Maybe be a little kinder to them, not so many conclusions and not so much gloom and doom? Some encouragement?”

    As a long time AA passenger (Advantage member since mid 80s and lifetime Platinum w 3 million miles – only reason I don’t have more is that I also have 3 million on DL and a couple million on other airlines) I frankly think Ben is VERY fair to AA and only points out examples where they totally screw up. Also, he lives in Miami (an AA hub) so that is his primary airline. If you want to read a blog that constantly slams AA look at View From The Wing – Gary seems to delight in any excuse to bash AA which Ben certainly doesn’t do.

  72. the reverse image search for Kyle Hogan goes to a post on the Air Canada page.
    When you click through the name on the air canada page, the Kyle Hogan you get is this one:
    on facebook kyle.hogan.92 and something about “hockey guy”
    the beach pic of him looks like the same face and body type as the pool pic in the abandoned twitter account. facebook(DOT)com/kyle.hogan.92/media_set?set=a.138371416208057&type=3
    He’s clearly NOT an AA pilot. Just a douche.

  73. Everyone likes to think they can create fake accounts and be anonymous. They’re not anonymous and the more post one makes the more likely it is to figure out who they are, where they live and what device they used to create the posts….It actually is a lot easier than you might think. Sometimes the idiots themselves gives the goods away. I once exposed a guy for his super antisemetic, racist and homophobic posts. Replied to his post with his real name and address which he happily made public to everyone without knowing it. He clamed up immediately.

    People’s IP address can be obtained when necessary like when threats are made.

  74. @malc
    Did you read he’s political comments he says baron looks like a middle school shooter kind of surprising someone from your side would say that eh?
    @lucky
    Your going soft on aa no need to apologize you let them off easy

  75. @Malc

    He’s not Trump, nor a Trump supporter.

    He’s a proud “member of the resistance”.

    Whoever he is, he’s on your team.

  76. I’m a retired road warrior with over 1M air miles (not reward miles). I don’t know whether this troll is a pilot or not. Regardless, I see no reason that this post or it’s predecessors should be taken down. If it is an AA, HR and Pilots Union issue, so be it — that isn’t a reason to take down this post.

    If this troll is in fact an AA pilot, he’s now passed Antonio Brown to top my list of Professional-Suicide-by-Social-Media shitposters. I’d rather fly a 737 Max flight than fly any other plane with this moron on the flight deck.

    Finally if (as is likely) this dweeb is not an AA pilot, AA deserves the right to disown him here.

  77. @ Lucky…. He could kick you off on the spot, but he would be putting AA in legal jeopardy if he was tied to the Twitter account and tweets that you referred to. AA could face a civil lawsuit from you as you could provide existing non-flight related bias. My gut tells me he’s not a pilot with AA. He may be a pilot, but not with AA.

  78. This is exactly why the internet has been such a bad thing for society.

    It is INCREDIBLY obvious that they are not an AA pilot. Mind numbingly obvious. Ben is often naive (more understandable in this case as he’s probably a bit taken aback), but the sheer number of people commenting who believe this is depressing.

    I miss the old days when people were just (relatively) harmlessly ignorant as opposed to believing anything they’re told. Thats why we have people like Trump running the country… You probably wonder why people just accept the never ending blatant lies that come out of his mouth? You’ve just done the exact same thing (on a much less important topic of course, but the same principle).

  79. Two wrongs don’t make right. Document, don’t respond, don’t broadcast, and let this experience go. You as an individual may have only mentioned this a few times, but this story is growing a mob mentality and that is what is so wrong and dangerous with raising/exposing everyday encounters to millions with the power of the internet, and a blog like yours. Yes, American sucks, you have said it many times on your blog, stop supporting them, get involved with consumer advocacy, but don’t get personal with anyone. Everyone has bad days, and American stinks. They have done worst to many of their customers.

  80. I’m a fan of the blog, but it is lame to criticize a company and its’ employees to this extent, but follow it with, I don’t feel they should be reprimanded. Really??? Just man up and own your criticisms. That’s bush-league of the “service” YOU are supposed to be providing US!

  81. You should never have magnified him. Stupid to post, stupid to engage. Delete everything. Or was it your intention to dust up all the controversy? What was the goal of this post?

  82. Assuming this guy is an AA employee his posts have to be against their social media policy. I would assume a company the size of AA has to have a policy. It would be against my own employer’s as well as our code of conduct.

  83. I lived with an American Airlines Captain for 18 months. This person would tell me enroute to PHX how crappy a day they were having and how good it made them feel to bounce a passenger for any reason. This employee was even grounded for eight months for psych exam in 2016. I kept a journal of comments like these and when we went our own way reported this person to the FAA and American. Neither cared. So yes, I am very familiar with the hateful attitudes of at least one pilot. There were even many FOs and FAs that refused to fly with this person on safety grounds.

  84. @Lucku (Ben),
    I’ve been wanting to say this for a long time. But lots of Americans who don’t travel internationally as much or not know the airlines industry as much, use the term “First Class” loosely. There are huge different between “Domestic First class” and “Long Haul International First Class”

    Even majority of the US carriers’ flight attendant do not know the differences since majority of the airlines do not have international F anymore, and even for ones that have, it’s only offered to 30% of their long haul markets (with the exception of BA, EK).

    In this event, many Flight Attendants who comment negatively about your higher expectations might thought about domestic first class (sometimes as low as $600 ticket, average just $1500 etc), while many of them never been on aircraft that have international first class. For AA, these are just A321T and 777-300ER (and zero for DL and UA). I have flight attendant friends who say first class on UA Polaris or DL One …. they simply do not know!

    On foreign carriers they are better trained of the product. They are also less confusing since short haul flights would called it “business class” instead of “first class” like in the US and Qatar (or Mainland China too).

    I suggest you create a list of terms/vocabularies such that we could compare apple to apple when it comes to service EXPECTATION, fare classes, marketing of products, and enlightening people who are new to the industry:

    1) Economy Class
    1.5) Economy with extra legroom (e.g. UA economy plus, AA MCE)
    2) Long Haul Premium Economy = US Domestic First Class = European Business class (recline seats)
    3) Long Haul Business class (For widebodies or lie-flat seats regardless of if airlines uses them for short flight)
    4) Long Haul International First Class

    And from now on, you just make sure you add “US Domestic” or “Long Haul” in front of “first class”, and people would know you talk about 2) vs 4). As for 4), one pays 10 times more than 2) for the ticket, and one should have the right to expect more than “woohoo”….

  85. This is what happens on social media. Just ignore it and get on with your life. Nothing bad will happen to you.

  86. Ben, you are the best at what you do. Please don’t succumb to threats. Report them and move on. Keep your blog exactly as it is. We love to see your reviews, explanations, opinions, personal posts – we love it all!

  87. Almost certain this guy is a Mesa or PSA pilot. As a professional pilot (not AA) I’m embarrassed for him. Hope he grows up one day.

  88. It doesn’t matter what you think or don’t think. The pilot the aircraft Commander is the absolute authority on that airplane and he could do anything he wants in terms of limiting a particular passenger if he feels the need to do so

  89. Who does not know that AA sucks in everything they do? Avoid at any cost if you can. Choose to fly with other airlines.

    File a complaint to AA. You are way too nice on your review.

  90. This guy is not an American pilot (or any other air carrier pilot). I am a retired American pilot and he left many markers identifying himself as a “wannabe”. To begin, your original article was fairly well balanced. I still fly as a passenger and see the same thing from time to time, overall believable. Pilots are generally not interested in how flight attendants do their job. Sure, it’s nice when the pax are happy, but they are not judged/graded on passenger satisfaction with the cabin crew. As cold as it sounds, pilots don’t really care how FAs behave (the reserve is also true). So an insulting a flight attendant raises as much attention as insulting Goodyear for making “bumpy” tires (yawn) . As for throwing you off his flight; in my 17 years at American I never once saw a passenger list before takeoff (or after for that matter). I generally did not care who was aboard. When we had celebrities I usually didn’t know until riding the van to the hotel. Don’t know (or really care) who’s in the back. If he really wanted to make a stink it could be possible to have you removed from a flight. But he will never know you’re back there and the action would be followed with discipline. This could be as simple as time off (take money out of his pocket) or as serious as termination. I never met a pilot who’s principles would drive them that far. As for as his photo . . . an obvious cry for help.

  91. He could totally be an AA pilot. I know 3 of them. They are all a***oles. Currently a pilot shortage. Which means they know they can get away with it.

    Look at it this way. You get to get off the plane at the end of the flight. They have to fly it back again and do it all over again. Over and over. Come to think of it, the very thought of that for a job would make me one too I guess.

    Let him throw you off. You’d never have to write for a paycheck again.

  92. I don’t think this guy actually works for AA. you can barely represent the company publicly in a good light, let alone in a bad way. I’m calling him out as a liar, or someone who wants to get fired.

  93. @concorde02

    Alaska Airlines thinks their front cabin is First Class and charges points from other airlines accordingly.

    At best a sorry premium economy with bigger seats.

    I judt don’t understand how they get away with it but then by reading your comment it suddenly has become clear. Most Americans never experience a first class cabin. That’s why Air Canada is always North America’s best domestic airline. A significant number of their transcon flights are international 777’s with lie flats. And every seatback has a screen and a very good selection of entertainment. Even their A3xx planes have a superior business class cabin compared with any domestic first in the US.

    Only in Canada you say? Pity.

  94. I am surprised that no-one has commented on how @ClapBackKyle’s raving insults on the social media remind all of us of your president and his gentle tweets.

  95. We all make mistakes, I know I certainly do. But you have made a mistake by posting this petty article (as someone here said it is beneath you). Even engaging with this dude is silly. I think you know it.

  96. The last three first class trips I had on American were all horrible. The service for first class has gotten so bad it hardly justifies the extra cost other than the bigger seats. Beside taking the monitors off most their plane and making logging into wifi very difficult, the service from the AA flight attendants is down right rude now. The no longer off you a drink when you first sit down, they ignore any question you might have, and they could care less about you or your flight experience. I use to enjoy first class as it was better service and a very enjoyable experience for a flight as opposed to sitting into main or economy class. There was multiple reasons to to fly first class. But then a few years ago they took all the screens out an added extra seats so that now I have to fly first class just so I do not experience claustrophobia in the super small tight seats in main class. American has gone from one of the best airlines to one of the worst in a matter of years and most of it coincides when the board was taken over by US Airways when America merged with US Air.

  97. Ben,

    I think you need to be in time-out for a few days. This is kinda sad. You keep going back to American like a trashy ex-boyfriend and then are surprised when you’re treated like dog poop and now you fell right into a trap created by a troll.

    I think Ford should control OMAAT for a few days. I’ve been enjoying his Instagram posts and I think he’s ready for the big leagues.

    Consider this the beginning of your (temporary) coup.

    (Also, unrelated note, what happened to Lebanon? I can understand if you’re busy, it’s a crazy time of year and you have been reviewing like crazy which I’m super proud of but someone reminded me of it and it’s a valid question)

  98. I don’t know many AA Pilots, but the ones I do know share your frustration. A lack of vision, a lack of purpose, and a feeling of just going through the motions. To be clear no pilot wants to feel that way, they want a sense of pride in what they offer, in what they do. AA will make it through this patch, I think, but it sure is sad for the time.

  99. “I am surprised that no-one has commented on how @ClapBackKyle’s raving insults on the social media remind all of us of your president and his gentle tweets.”

    That’s because “all” of us don’t have TDS and our daily thoughts are not consumed by politics.

  100. @Gene If I read one more thing where a person claims your first amendment right gives you the right to say whatever you want my head will explode.

    The Constitution is a contract between the government and it’s citizens. The first amendment protects you from the GOVERNMENT censoring your speech not from private entities censoring your speech.

    For example it does not protect you from saying whatever you want in my house, or my business, or my website or any other private place.

    You can not say whatever you want in these comments because it’s owned by a private company not the government.

    Your first amendment rights will not help you if you’re in my business and tell you to take a hike because I didn’t like what you posted online.

  101. #neverflyAA #antiAA #worstairlineAA

    I actually do NOT approve anyone on my team to take AA anytime as I do not want to give them ANY of my or company’s money. Horrible company.

  102. Ask him for his work schedule. Then book a flight that he is working. Get him to kick you off. Watch him get fired.

  103. If he is an AA pilot, then his behavior only supports what you have already written in your review. Your review provided specific objective evidence to support your conclusions and you chose to do this review in part due to reports of even worse experiences on this flight by others. One would hope that the purpose of a review is to call attention to exemplary as well as deficient experiences so that readers can make better informed choices and also so that just maybe airlines that want to improve will be given helpful feedback to assist them in doing so. Bottom line– fly non-US airlines internationally if you want to have the best in-flight travel experiences.

  104. I’m just going to go out on a limb and say he’s a troll.
    91 Followers
    Troll Rating: Problematic

    Besides that, WHO, other than a troll – and they’re getting sloppier & sloppier by the minute – would risk their job by posting continuous inflammatory posts that reveal identity & actually are threats? Think about it. No one but a troll.

  105. I’m just going to go out on a limb and say he’s a troll.
    91 Followers
    Troll Rating: Problematic

    Besides that, WHO, other than a troll – and they’re getting sloppier & sloppier by the minute – would risk their job by posting continuous inflammatory posts that reveal identity & actually are threats? Think about it. No one but a troll.

    I pretty much barely skimmed through this “article”, but your points about AA First Class flight attendants in your previous article were strong & valid. My AA flights are usually 4 hours and under. There’s no way I would fly AA international!

  106. @Phil,
    Yes, it’s a wretched life, indeed.
    (Apologies for the slowness of my reply as the internet at my beach house is a little slow).

  107. If you can’t confirm that this is an AA pilot, you should change your headline. This makes AA look bad and it might not even be their fault.

    Ideally you should have notified AA themselves and not made a blog post about this.

  108. Social media has gotten way out of hand, it is time for the government to set boundaries on bloggers and so-called media sites. A blogger can say anything they want destroying reputations and hurting businesses. This is done sometimes with malice of intent. There needs to be penalties to include perhaps a lowered level in our libel laws and perhaps requiring people to put up a bond in order to post. This Bond would cover people who spread malicious or libelous posts. If an individual cannot show sufficient assets in the event of a suit than a bond would be required. When people have to put their money where their mouth is a lot of this behavior will stop. I can assure you a lot of bloggers and responders to bloggers will be a lot more polite. I have often said if people had to say this to your face they wouldn’t. However, in this case it’s not so bad but I have seen things that get downright rude, and I can assure you if said to my face it would have resulted in an altercation ,the rude individual would not have liked. If people can
    not act with some kind of socially accepted decorum, then the government needs to act. Social media and the internet is a great thing but it is a double-edged sword and it needs to be regulated.

  109. Your original review was solid and appropriate. American Airlines culture does have terrible service and combative attitude to customers. The “pilot’s” response was truly childish. But frankly this latest post and your responses to him are now no less childish. Call out airlines for their bad service . But don’t stoop to their level in responding .

  110. Technically, “throw you off myself ” is a terrorist threat. Minimum of $1mil bail 6months. Even more on a federal level. Who would be stupid enough to post it publicly.

  111. If this guy is an AA pilot you need to report this to AA. Then don’t worry about it. We can’t live our lives based on terroristic tactics. Let AA respond back to you on this if A. You need to worry about some crazy Pilot and B. If you need to pursue this person legally. If he IS a pilot he needs to worry about losing his livelihood, not about some passenger.

  112. The Internet is a horrible place, and people like Ben do actually have thick skins (otherwise they would’ve killed themselves long ago, like the Kpop stars earlier this year). It is unfair, in that they can get berated and have to respond “positively”, “gently”, etc. The other side does not have to. Nor does the other side have anything to lose. Only the celebrities.

  113. Lucky I appreciate your unbiased reviews. Don’t let someone bully you into saying the service was better than it actually was. I flew the other day in AA from FLL to CLT to EWR. I was not impressed by 2 of 3 flight attendants
    They damaged my bag. The baggage agent upon arrival was accommodating. But a few days later when I turned in the damaged bag 3 employees were clueless. Really the worlds largest airline and no one ever returned with the emptied out damaged bag. Rally ? I wasn’t impressed. I since flew with Spirit and they are nicer and more accommodating. Really ?
    Ben your too kind. 80% of AA employees suck !!!

  114. Your observations regarding American Airlines’ international first class “service” and crew are entirely consistent with my experience.

    It is unfortunate that AA employees want to debate rather than reflect on your critique. The reality is that as individuals, they have NO BASIS for comparison. Why? BECAUSE MOST NEVER FLY ANY AIRLINE OTHER THAN AA, EVER, especially overseas. Accordingly, They can not credibly argue with your assessment. As their arguments are ungrounded and plainly uninformed. Regardless, AA crew should know what acceptable first class standards are. It’s akin to knowing the difference between a fine dining experience and grabbing a hotdog from a hawker in the stands at a baseball game.

    Nothing makes a flight — any flight — more memorable than excellent service. It’s the fine nuances that only exceptional, good-natured crew members can provide that makes it great. A personalized, sincere welcome AND attentive service throughout the flight form indelible memories that inure to the benefit of an airline’s brand. Conversely, surly crew and nonchalant attitudes create equally indelible bad memories — which may be caustic to the brand. Even worse than bad service is a complete lack of service.

    I generally find foreign carriers’ first class products vastly superior to that of US airlines. Comparisons have been skewed in favor of the foreign carriers ever since PanAm lost its luster in the 1980s.

    AA doesn’t come close to the likes of Singapore, All Nippon, Swiss, Lufthansa or British Airways when it comes to first class service. Crews working in the first class cabin of these airlines are specially trained and staffed accordingly.

    Providing bespoke, exceptional service in first class should be relatively easy once an elaborate meal has been served so long as the crew isn’t lazy or overworked. Most first class passengers don’t want to be fussed over or pampered. Instead, most seek the space and solitude afforded them to work, relax or sleep. Avoiding airport crowds; being productive onboard; arriving well rested; and moving expeditiously through the destination airport are the principle reasons first class passengers pay the fares they do. For the few bad-eggs who do demand extraordinary attention, pity them.

    Purchasing a first class seat for exorbitantly higher fares should come with certain privileges and entitlements:
    ✈︎ Call me by my name.
    ✈︎ Be personable and friendly; take the cue to back off when the passenger may want to eat, watch something or sleep.
    ✈︎ Use complete sentences.
    ✈︎ Be discrete when while chatting; one person’s conversation need not be heard by everyone else.
    ✈︎ Refill wine and water without being constantly asked, or until asked to stop.
    ✈︎ Bend down when serving; put whatever it is down rather than holding it out for the passenger to catch, whether a drink, a plate or a bread roll.
    ✈︎ Don’t toss out a small water bottle expecting that it contains the hydration required for the rest of the flight.
    ✈︎ Be attentive throughout the flight, making the rounds: if one person is awake while others are sleeping, quietly ask what they may need; this avoiding the incessant use of the call button or the constant shuffling around in the cabin which can be a disturbance in and of itself
    ✈︎ Be considerate when passengers are trying to sleep by avoiding unnecessary clattering, congregating or chatter in the galley nearest first class.
    ✈︎ Keep cabin lights off for as long as possible in first; no need to brighten for breakfast if most are still sleeping.
    ✈︎ Deplane quickly upon arrival; holding back business and economy is a minor inconvenience given the small number of first class passengers

    For years, AA competed head-to-head with most the world’s top-tier airlines on just a few routes because the majority of its international flights were to Latin America. The local carriers are generally sub-standard compared to US carriers both for service and safety. Even I am apt to choose a US carrier when headed south.

    Sometime after the late-1990s and a couple of mergers, AA crew lost pride in providing exceptional service. Now, at the beginning of every flight, US passengers are reminded that “FLIGHT ATTENDANTS ARE HERE PRIMARILY FOR YOUR SAFETY”. Sadly this Phrase, the raison d’être for many, somehow makes it acceptable for cabin crew to provide sub-par inflight service and no more.

    The statement itself seems silly. Let’s be honest, Inflight service IS why they are there. Would safety related tasks take any more than 1% – 2% of the cabin crew’s combined inflight time? If not, then 98%-99% of their time is consumed with providing some type of service or information to passengers.

    Lest there be any doubt about the original purpose of AA’s cabin crew, just look at any of the various videos on YouTube for American Airlines’ Stewardess College produced in the 1960s and 1970s when the emphasis was on SERVICE. (A topic for a future article: “The grounding of inflight service in America”.)

  115. You should definitely communicate this to American Airlines ASAP as this is a direct threat to your integrity and your security.

  116. if You haven’t already taken this up directly with AA, perhaps I can be of AAsistance in at least verifying his bona fides. I don’t do this lightly, but if he is indeed a peer, he is an embAArassment that needs to be AAddressed.

  117. Why does everyone cry and whine when they fly,
    I have an idea drive !!!
    boats and trains available too , or Greyhound anyone !!!!

  118. Why is Lucky posting stuff on Facebook when he already had this blog?

    I’d say he unnecessarily exposed himself to additional trolling that way, and gets what was to be expected.

  119. Feel free to send him this. It was conveniently made for his namesake haha
    https://youtu.be/A57qYFltSWo

    And i hope American clips his wings.
    I have some friends inside that I’ll share this to. If hes not a fraud, they’ll know by tommorow. And, as he adequately hashtaged, he’ll reap what he sewed.

  120. I like your blogs, but your sinking to his level. The 737MAX comment was weak sauce my friend. I would delete this and report him to AA. You’re better than this!

  121. @Dan I disagree with your opinion that Ben gets significantly better or special treatment because of his blog. I would say your conclusion is especially untrue of airlines that don’t primarily serve an English speaking market. I am a nobody to the airlines and hold no status with any of them. I have flown dozens of premium cabin flights over the past 3 years, using points, and consistently find that I get a similar level of service – and sometimes even better- than what Ben gets on carriers like SQ, CX, BR, AF, JL, LX, etc. I have flown on AA both as a paid and as a reward redemption customer and consistently find them to be mediocre or subpar. I’ve come to the conclusion that most people fly AA because theyre cheap or they’re convenient…those are certainly the only reasons I do.

  122. 99.9 percent positive, this is not an AA pilot, or real pilot period. If he really would work for AA with his eyes ‘open’, he would know you speak the truth. Sad, disappointing, but the truth and Parker and Co. need to keep hearing it, or at least the BoD so maybe they would find someone who actually wants to run a good airline. Isom is not the answer either.

  123. How does any of this help me as a business traveler?

    As far as your ranting about a Twitter war, in spite of your protestations otherwise, what a waste of time and effort by two juvenile minded people.

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