American flight attendant in trouble over bankruptcy parody videos

An American Airlines purser of 24 years is under fire after posting a couple of parody videos regarding American’s bankruptcy.

The first video, “Aluminum Lady,” is a parody of “Iron Lady,” and talks about the cuts going on at American:

The second video is a parody of the letter sent out to flight attendants by an American Airlines Vice President:

Anyway, you can see the letter sent to him by American here, which requests he attend an investigatory meeting. It says he can be terminated if he doesn’t show up, though since he’s presently on leave he seems to have asked for it to be rescheduled.

What do you guys think? Is this flight attendant out of line for making the videos? Is American out of line for drawing even more attention to them?

Filed Under: American, Videos
  1. I do not believe Gailen is out of line at all. If American cannot look at itself and see the videos as humor and then take that as an excuse to re-examine its stance, then they are lacking a bit in the backbone department. Going after a loyal employee is just pathetic on AA’s part.

  2. If Americans have become so unfamiliar with worker’s rights that we cannot tell when something is legetimite free speech / protest or petty slander, we have fallen far from our justice and liberty loving roots.

    A parody is the least of what American deserves for using corporate losses as an excuse to weaken labor contracts to an all time low. If they are having trouble staying competitive due to paying their workers fair wages and giving decent benefits, then they should consider helping unions form in the other airlines so that no one is using “employment savings” as a means of turning a profit. Simply put, if you can’t both pay your workers well while running your company at a profit, either your competitors are cheating by paying low wages or you have something fundamentally wrong with your business strategy and need to rethink things. Either way, the worst you should do to your workers is give them a pep talk and retraining. Lowering their standard of living will not make them better workers, it is simply an excuse to take advantage of the economic situation to do something corporate heads have been wanting to do for decades anyways: funnel employee wages into corporate profits so that the top gets even more of the pie. Obviously it is in the interest of corporate management to silence anyone pointing out this hypocrisy, but what is the point of having free speech if you cannot use it when those on top are abusing their power without losing your job?

  3. At the very least, it shows extremely poor judgment on the part of the FA to produce these videos in the wake of announced layoffs. He’s put himself right in the front of the line. I wish him the best–he seems like a good FA–but if he’s fired, he has himself to blame.

  4. AA does not have a good option here. On balance I fault the employee: You cannot both be an employee and an independent journalist/bystander. Of course, if his goal is to garner publicity and cash in, ditching his job in the process, that’s an entirely different matter.

  5. Such acts are inconsistent with essentially all large employers’ codes of contact. I’m surprised this situation didn’t come up sooner for this fellow, frankly.

  6. I don’t see what is at all wrong with AA punishing this guy up to suing and/or firing. There are contracts in place that says he cannot do this, yet he does it anyway. How would FAs like it if American said, “hey guys, we don’t care about the contract anymore, no travel benefits for you.” They would hate it, and rightfully so, this is the same situation flipped around. You can’t complain when you don’t hold up your end of the bargain and are punished for it.

  7. Whoa! While Mr. David MAY be within his legal rights here, I also think he is an idiot. The AA policy on use of social media is quite clear – and yes, AA CAN impose that policy as a condition of employment. We’ll also note that several other AA employees publish blogs without (much) objection by simply avoiding topics of controversy. Yes, I’ve seen Mr. David’s video clips, found them hilarious, mostly accurate and more than a bit creative. My sole reason for suggesting that Mr. David is an idiot is because he published those clips under his own name and acknowledged that he is (or was…) an AA employee! He’s got a full brain on the creative side, but less than half on the common sense side. Mr. David had at least two easy ways to protect himself from his current situation – and he blew ALL of them! First, since day-one, he could have authored his blog postings and related items under a ‘pen name’ one not tracable to him. Second, understanding that these clips would annoy AA, he could have arranged to have them posted – without his name – by some third party with no connection to AA. Of course AA is annoyed! And rightly so. All employers have an interest in protecting their public reputations. Criticism is a good thing, but employees who do so, do so at serious risk of their jobs. When am employee finds this degree of criticism necessary, At The very least they should bury their personal identification and avoid including any material that would allow the employer to identify them. While Mr. David’s criticisms of AA are both humorous and likely accurate, I have to conclude that he is an idiot for not covering his rear exit.

  8. “Of course, if his goal is to garner publicity and cash in, ditching his job in the process, that’s an entirely different matter.”

    That’s always possible. But I agree with others, he deserves whatever punishment AA will give him. I don’t AA is out of line for drawing attention to it, I guess they would have to address it sooner or later.

  9. “the sky steward” has been blogging and making videos for quite some period of time, even filming some segments on AA planes.

    My guess is that AA knew he was doing this as a side job/hobby and their saying nothing was tactic approval of what he was doing.

    It seems somewhat disingenuous to complain about his videos now.

    This is a link to his video commentary on Jet Blue’s Steven Slater’s meltdown.

  10. There are airlines out there that would protect your valuable input
    and use it to their advantage.

    i strong suggest you take your talent to another airline that would
    appreciate you and not get their tight pucker-bung-hole’s in
    an uproar because you serve them a slice of reality …on a linen lined tray.

  11. All the people making negative comments think that flight attendants are there just to serve them a coke! Do those people know how much these guys have sacrificed for the survival of their company already? Do you also know how much the airlines are taking from us the flying public?

    One day you may be an emergency situation where a flight attendant might save your life. Before you pass judgement on a person trying to make an effort to show corruption, get educated on the subject first!

    Making comments like that either you’re ignorant or insecure homophobes! These hard working people deserve justice!

  12. Yes it is all management’s fault. What is not said is that they could have filed bankruptcy along with the other legacy carriers back in 2005 or earlier but didn’t. So we don’t hear anything about the jobs that were preserved during that time. Clearly there is massive feather bedding if the airline can operate with the large employee cuts that are being floated with the filing. Yes- management has not been diplomatic and in touch- but attitudes like this lady point up the quagmire the company is and has been in its labor relations for YEARS. My prediction- much higher oil prices in the coming years will make this debate irrelevant. Air travel is going to contract so much that we won’t need the current labor force in the industry anyway.

  13. If I treated my employees they way those folks have been treated, this video would be the least of my worries. Nothing more than Corporate Greed and poor management decisions that destroyed that airline.

  14. You evidently haven’t flown American in awhile.
    The employees share in the demise of this airline along with those of the other legacy carriers that have filed bankruptcy over the years. MANY American flight attendants for YEARS treated their passengers just as they claim that management has treated them. I think you need to read some reviews on Skytrax on both United and American to get the flavor of the situation. Read some reviews on YELP also and compare them to ANY Asian carrier. Folks until these absolute comments like many above that blame managements entirely for situations like that at AMERICAN we will continue to lose ground to foreign competition.

  15. Oh come on people … This is all in fun … Does AA care that SNL would do a skit on them . Our the all the night Tim e talk show do this try if stuff . What does AA think that there people are going to just roll over and take it in the rear again . We have the Internet to help spread the word of how AMR has beat up there employes for to long . This is not 1970 any more .. Hope he opens the public to what they have done to there people after are Crandell has left

  16. As a 30plus yr veteran of a major airline its comical that the management verbiage is essentially the same rhetoric. How lame of AA spokesperson to state they can not tolerate harassment of employees. Who is getting harassed? Hopefully a few “decision-makers” are getting some long overdue feedback they need but regrettably won’t make any difference. AA will fire the “disgrace” to wash their hands of the situation. and bonuses will continue to line the execs pockets-after all those who get the bonuses are so worthy of it, there is no one out there that could replace them for what they are worth that it takes all kinds of stock options & bonuses to retain the “best-of-the-best” to run AA. Nevermind that there is no requirement that AA make profits to justify those bonuses.
    I say keep the seasoned flight attendant and dump the fat on top-remember the airline motto–“if you are not working directly with a customer, then you better be working with someone who is”.

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