Video: When Political Unrest Goes Airborne

Filed Under: American, Videos

It looks like there was some excitement on last night’s American Airlines flight from Buenos Aires to Miami, AA900.


Carlos Zannini, Argentina’s former Legal and Technical Secretary, was on the flight. Now, I don’t know much about Argentinian politics, though it seems like he’s not too popular among Argentinians, as a near riot broke out when other passengers found out he was aboard.

There are lots of videos of the situation. This one probably captures the situation best:

It got so bad that the captain supposedly had to make an announcement saying that the flight would be canceled if the situation didn’t get better, and that if anything happened inflight, they would immediately divert. Apparently that was enough to calm people down.

Now, I assume there’s a reason people dislike this guy. That being said, there’s a time and place for protest, and an airplane isn’t it. Based on the video alone I feel kind of bad for the guy, and he’s certainly reacting in an extremely calm way, which is impressive. I suspect he’s used to being attacked like this, so maybe it’s not even that out of the ordinary for him.

There are plenty of other video perspectives of the incident, including these three:


The flight landed in Miami without incident, and according to infobae, Zannini was escorted off the plane by DHS officers.

(Tip of the hat to Aeroflot001 on

  1. I am Argentinean and he deserves that and more. Steeling from the country for 12 years. Doing a boicot when Obama visited Argentina because he was capitalist American. And now going to Miami???? He doesn’t deserve a visa.

  2. Similar to what is now happening in Brazil the population of South American countries are tired of corrupt politicians and are making sure they feel very uncomfortable when in any public place. Carlos Zannini was the candidate of vice president for the party of the former president of Argentina and his party lost the elections. His party almost destroyed Argentina so now the population cannot even see these guys anywhere. Funny that among all the protests people were really mad that he was not only flying to the US but also on a US airline and not on Aerolineas Argentinas after the previous Government that he was part always criticized the US.

  3. Zannini is the man behind the former president, who is VERY hated in Argentina because she dragged the country down economically during her time in office, so I imagine the hatred of him is because he’s so closely tied to her. He’s also been accused of corruption and embezzlement and after a long period of economic depression in Argentina I’m sure the citizens of the country don’t care for anyone that made themselves rich by stealing from those who had so little.

  4. I feel sorry for the guy too. And no matter my dislike of the Kirschners’ politics, they were democratically elected. He was even sitting in economy…next time he’ll probably pay more to sit upfront away from the plebs.

  5. @Greg: You feel sorry for the guy? I am not Argentinian but yes the former Government was democratically elected BUT not to steal money from the population for 12 years. This guy was against the US all the time. The former Government painted the US as the devil and now this guy is travelling to the US?

  6. @Santastico: The guy was never actually convicted of anything and came within 700,000 votes of being elected Vice President last year. If he’s guilty, let the courts convict him. Until then, let him enjoy his flights in peace. Maybe he was only transiting in Miami…AA certainly offers more destinations than Aerolíneas.

  7. So…where was the air marshal ?
    If the flight had not left the gate – why not bring airport police on-board to quiet the noise?

  8. What amuses me the most in these populist parties is that most of them live very rich lives. I think that Uruguai’s Mujica is the only case where this is not true.

    And it’s really funny that this argentinian politician must have something to do with Aerolineas Argentinas still being heavy stated subsidized in the last government. Nonetheless he flies American Airlines…

  9. DHS officers? Do they wear yellow uniforms and have red guns? Do they get dropped off by 5PM to make it in time to work next day?

  10. This is outrageous, cowardly and unacceptable. Those righteous, brainwashed characters are nothing but a bunch of bastards full of resentment and ignorance…

  11. I´ll just paste my Facebook comment:

    Argenitinian here Ben, let me clear something about politics here. His former government used to insult and denigrate americans and argentinians who used to travel abroad saying we werent “patriotic” according to their point of view and we should only go on vacation in our country and use the national estatized airline Aerolineas Argentinas. The argument was that those who travelled abroad were super rich people who didn’t care about the popular class who they pretended to represent. First they forbif people to buy foreing currency and then they imposed ridiculous taxes up to 35% for people who bought tourist products and they prosecuted people who spend money outside of the country. Now not only does he fly to the country he used to hate so much but also he does it in an american company. Hope that helped. Keep the great posts!

  12. Argentinian here too. Basically +1 to EVERYTHING Nacho said above.

    It’s sad. If you as an American citizen came to Argentina during Fernandez’ Government (while Zanini was in office) with TWO MacBooks, or two of any Apple product, that would be considered importing. Why? Because you’re allowed only 1 personal item. One laptop. One cellphone. Even as American citizen. It doesn’t matter. So you would get charged 50% of the price of the item. That means, $500 in tax when you enter the country with two macs, just because. It’s nonsense to get charged as Argentinian, given the items show clear signs of usage, now think as being American… EVEN MORE NONSENSE. Why would you have two laptops? Well a lot of people have a personal and a business laptop. I even have 2 business MBP that I travel with.

    Also for Argentinians, ANYTHING NEW that you buy “outside” you have to pay 50% taxes. Including unused clothing or any type of gifts. There was only a $300 limit (yes. Three hundred dollars) above which this tax occurs. That means if you buy a macbook in US because they’re not sold (used to) in Argentina legally, you’d pay $500 in tax for a $1000 laptop. Funny thing, paying the trip to MIA + taxes + mac used to be cheaper than buying it locally still in the “ebay” equivalent (mercadolibre.) How is that promoting national jobs? It’s not manufactured in the country at all… and still we were importing from the Chinese.

    Those are the kind of politics behind all this hate. If I were on that flight, I’d kept protesting and motivating everyone to get that passenger off or until it got cancelled.

    Another one? You can only receive 2 international packages per year, with a value no more than $25 inside on each one. That means buying books off Amazon, or gadgets, anything (dealextreme included) was pretty much for the government to consider you importer. There were issues on hospitals not being able to bring the machines necessary. A whole mess. So now you get, if people literally died because of their bullshit politics, why so much hate.

    I can give you more examples like this. Funny thing, most “kirchneristas” (those who were affiliated with their party) used to travel and bring a ton of stuff and just “know someone in customs” to avoid paying. Justice, huh?

  13. +1 to Nacho
    To all that question whether this guy is corrupt or request that justice determines whether he broke the law, please consider that this government, and this guy is believed to have organized everything from his position, systematically allowed civil rights to be violated such as allowing extreme left -really left not like what you consider Obama- to picket streets and highways impeding free circulation as permitted in the constitution, and to violently threaten society and the opposition by sending these same thugs to manifest at their works or homes in a really violent way, much worse than what you saw in the plane.

    What you see is a society that is fed up with corruption and lack of justice, and is manifesting itself. Do you moralist Americans reject movements such as your civil rights or even the independence because they were against the laws of the moment?! This is a society fighting to become more equalitarian and striving for a better future. While the images may ‘shock’ it would behoove anyone to do a bit of research before taking a position, thank you.

  14. In Brazil its happening the same. Every week there are news here about socialists politicians being offensed and put to run by the ordinary people in airports or Restaurants. They(left) are being sweeped away from Latin America. And in my particular opinion, these people deserve much more than this, we just have to look what they done in Venezuela and Bolivia, both countries that share the same ideology that Mr Zanini.

    P.S I im deeply happy to see the argentinians doing the same we are doing here in Brazil….

  15. @Norman

    Nobody claimed that he was any more competent at corruption than he was at running a government.

    Also if he was stupid enough to keep the money in Argentina he will have lost a lot of money due to the currency falling

    From wikipedia he went from having just shy of having 200K ARS in 2003 to 7 million ARS in 2011 which would have been around 1.7 m USD in beginning of 2011. To day that is under 500K USD

    Keep in mind that private sector job wages in Argentina seems to be around 12K ARS/month at the moment, but averaged 3841.72 ARS/Month from 2003 until 2014 after starting to rise fast after 2008 you do start to wonder where a humble civil servant got the money from.

    So it seems he know the jig is up and is try to save money by flying Y.

    Surprised the fucker got a visa to the US personally.

  16. I don’t have any sympathy for this idiot, given his association with Kirchner, but acting like a bunch of rioting thugs is inexcusable.

  17. Btw, was sitting in Business class and later moved all the way back to coach. The issue with these guys is that they supposedly hated the US of A, called most people who traveled there or bought dollars “cipayos” and proclaimed their love for everything National and Popular yet they went to Miami, Orlando and NYC on vacation and bought anything Apple related, flew first class and wore expensive clothes and jewelry.

  18. Ya want to know what is Argentina politics?
    Castro’s plan for socialism to take over LatAm.

    Look at Brazil, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Argentina…. in all of them, leftism is falling, and good riddance.

    I want my toilet paper, I want my electricity.

    I better submit this, my electricity will go for four hours shortly

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