American Airlines Isn’t Racist. Jason Derulo Is Just Entitled.

Filed Under: American

Singer Jason Derulo seems to have had an unpleasant experience at Miami Airport a few hours ago, which he’s going off on a tirade about. He started by Instagramming a picture of an American employee with the following caption:

.@americanair I spent millions on your airline throughout the past ten years between myself and my entire staff but have still experienced racial discrimination today at miami airport!!! Called 15 police officers on me as if I’m a criminal!
It’s not ok that when you find out who I am the gears change!
Fuck that!! I want answers #conciergekey#conciergekeymember#thecaptainneedstoshowrespecttoo cause he could #cashmeoutsidehowboutdat#notypo#ifiwasanyoneelseiwouldhavebeenarrested

So, what did American do to racially discriminate against Jason?

Well, according to TMZ, Jason is an American Concierge Key member, which is their invitation only status. He was traveling with his crew of eight people from Miami to Los Angeles, and allegedly they showed up too late to check bags. Unfortunately he had 19 bags to check, which would have been fine if he showed up on time, since his companions traveling on the same reservation can take extra bags as well.

However, since they arrived late, he left one person on his team behind with all the bags. As you’d expect, when one person has 19 bags, they’re going to be charged a lot of money. Baggage limits don’t “transfer” in the way Jason imagined. That’s where the incident started, where Jason claims to have experienced racism:

That’s when all hell broke loose. By this time, Jason and his team were on the plane and it had pulled away from the gate. His cellphone rang, and the guy he left with the bags said AA wanted to charge him $6k for the excess luggage. Jason was outraged and demanded that the plane go back to the gate so he could get off.

He says the pilot went nuts on him, and the cops were waiting as he got off. And, he says, if he wasn’t Jason Derulo and instead just a random black guy, he’d be in jail.

So Jason demanded that the plane return to the gate and presumably didn’t follow crewmember instructions, and then the flight was met by the police. It doesn’t sound to me like this has anything to do with race. Demanding a plane return to the gate and presumably not following crewmember instructions is a huge violation of FAA regulations, and a flight will be met by police in such a situation regardless of what race you are or who you are.

It sounds like he’s playing both sides here — he wants special treatment because he spends “millions” on American, but then claims the airline is being racist when they don’t make an exception.

Now, all that being said, I do think American could have made an exception and checked his bags, given his status and the situation. If he is in fact spending a lot of money on the airline and has their invitation only status, then accommodating the bags on the next flight shouldn’t be a big deal. It seems short-sighted not to. But that doesn’t in any way warrant his behavior, and that’s not something he’s entitled to.

Here’s a video of Jason explaining his side of the story:

Even by his account he comes across as a grade-A jerk. He says he told the pilot not to talk to him like he was on a lower level than him, and then says the situation is above the pilot’s “pay grade.” He says “don’t speak to me like I did something wrong.” Uh, dude, if you forced the plane to return to the gate, you did do something wrong.

What do you make of this Jason Derulo & American Airlines situation?

  1. Never heard of the guy, but he is obviously a scumbag. Logic is not his strong suit, and baseless invocation of racism is always disgusting. Sponsorships should be pulled (assuming he has em).

    On a lighter note, as a frequent flyer via MIA, my initial reaction to the headline was, “How could anyone ever accuse AA MIA employees of racism? They make a concerted effort there to ensure everyone is treated dismissively, regardless of class, color or creed.”

  2. Sounds familiar. Certain ethnic groups immediately play the race card if at some point they do not get what they want. Same here in Europe. Quite sickening.

    Too late is too late. Quite simpel.

  3. Even if Jason Derulo is 100% wrong, I have zero sympathy for American Airlines. The requests of a VIP customer should be accommodated, even if they contravene policy, unless said requests are illegal or immoral. Otherwise, what’s the point of being VIP?

  4. a) never heard of him, but then again the last two celebrities Ben has written about I have to Google them as well.

    b) I am pretty sure that demanding a pilot do something with the plane is called attempted hijacking. I am surprised he wasn’t put in jail, even if he is concierge key. Totally uncalled for an entitled, if he would have been to the airport 30 min earlier he would have avoided all of this so I blame him and not AA.

  5. I think there’s a lot of speculation going on here especially on the part of TMZ (not exactly my most respected news source), but I would like to see the full video and not just this TMZ edited one.
    1. If he did arrive in time initially as he says in the video, but eventually passed the deadline because the AA check in agent did not know the baggage rules and had to go verify them, then AA should accept some responsibility for the fees. Some people might say he could easily afford it being a singer/celeb, but I still think that a principle should apply.
    2. It’s not really a good reason to have a plane turn around so on this part I agree he’s being unreasonable. That being said if a passenger is strongly asserting that they would like to get off a plane before takeoff and they are being aggressive, I’d rather have them disembark now than cause problems in the air.
    3. I don’t know how aggressive he was being on the flight. He claims they tried to get him to stay on the plane, AA might say otherwise. I would not underestimate the police and staff treating him aggressively until they realised who he was. He makes a valid point that if it were anyone else it may have gone very differently. I also never underestimate the role race can play when dealing with the police but there is nothing to suggest that it played a strong role here. Rather his celebrity status did.

  6. If you are such a bigwig and you are CK, you tell your guy to just front the $6k and you will straighten it out with your rep and/or Customer Relations later. And then you enjoy your flight. And after that you probably get your money back.

  7. Racism may not be present in the staff, but plenty evident in this thread.

    Baffled by the baggage charge, $6K for 19 bags is $315 a bag. Wow!

  8. Sorry if any of this is answered in the video. I don’t have the patience to watch it….First of all, they may not have been flying on the same ticket. My office usually books flight separately even if we’re all on the same flight. We also don’t know if the check in person with the guy who was left behind was the same person who checked in the rest of the crew and knew all the bags belonged to a concierge key member. Finally customer service in Miami sucks. No matter who you are. And I say this as a Miami native.

  9. When you screw up and you are black, that’s when you toss out the race card. He’s a child, nothing more. Charles Oakley is a much more famous black man than Jason Darulo ever will be and he just got locked up. So, no. Nobody cares who you are. Sorry, but the word “racism” or “racist” is so overused and primarily by minorities that are caught acting ugly and use that as a defense. They should ban him for life to be honest.

  10. Where is Melissa?

    We need her take to understand how this is Obama’s fault before we judge it.

  11. Just another unknown… he won’t be around in 2021 or we won’t know or be talking him by 2027… AA CK to be revoked immediately, and let’s hope DL’s 360 and UA’s Global services bar and Ban him also, this behaviour isn’t acceptable

  12. well , firstly, i have nt seen the video, so assuming the report is some what correct, whilst AA may be correct in refusing the bags to go on, and in their rules , on a later flight the bags should be paid for! sometimes commen sense can be used, He is a VIP member, pays a lot to AA, . Its the rule of AA, that bags can,t go on late, because of plane delay? so use your sense, Let them go on the flight, bags, can be checked in, to one person(I think rule is they have to go with , one person on the flight, although my bags have more flown miles than me, ha ha ) charge no extra,as AA would,nt have had extra had he been on time, Tell him , this is a one off, Now to Jason, silly of him to play the race card, as sometimes ,calling the rape card,(which is a terrible issue) in which I mean, if not true, it causes problems, for people, who truly suffer these terrible events, , so even if you are annoyed, and mad, don,t use silly statements, as people remember , what you say, not what actually happened, The plane had to be turned around, which I think is wrong,The moral turn up early,and if not pay your monies, then take it up with customer services, later,as you have discriminated against,the passengers, ha ha

  13. While I agree with most comments above, having been in miami 4 times in the last 4 weeks I can say the Miami ground staff is lazy and arrogant. The premium check in lines are grossly understaffed and the agents are usually held up with complicated customers. And I have first hand watched people in the premium line have to wait 20 min to check bags and then be denied for being “late.” Finally the agents in the premium line don’t know policy. I had a major issue with SWU… As an executive platinum they treated me rudely and with zero consideration of status. So while I have little sympathy for the situation above… I can see how one could be pushed over the edge at MIA.

  14. Jason what???? If he feels so important and spend millions in AA tickets why doesn’t he get his own private plane?

  15. He should’ve just shut up and paid those measly 6k.

    I would’ve been embarrassed enough by simply causing any stress.

  16. Racist. That is the word to use if things don’t go your way.

    Why was he on the plane pulling away from the gate if all his crew members aren’t on the plane?

    Did he get to board before first class because of his status?

    Isn’t using your cell phone once the plane leaves the gate against the rules?

    Who is this person?

  17. Dude needs to learn how to pack a carryon….Believe lucky has had a post or two on that- maybe we can send him the link.

  18. The normal response would have been to pay the fees and deal with the matter civilly after the fact. This entitled jerk should have been arrested, charged for highjacking a plane (which is essentially what he did), tossed in jail, and charged for the costs entailed in returning to the gate, off-loading and delaying the flight, plus the cost of police. A real piece of work!

  19. Lucky, you’re better than this. Even though I agree with you that this was a diva celebrity moment, please don’t give the racist trolls out there an excuse to justify their false beliefs that racism doesn’t exist.

  20. 1). Who is Jason Derulo?
    2). It doesn’t matter who he is, one person doesn’t get to order a pilot to do anything because their luggage wasn’t checked and inconvenience 150 other people. The plane left the gate – deal with it when you land. If you such a huge VIP then put it on your credit card and dispute the charge later.
    3). There are so many actual issues of Racism in this world that it disgusts me when someone cries wolf over not getting their way. This is abusing a serious problem we have in our culture and compounds the problem.
    4). American Airlines gate agents/counter agents treat everyone with equal rudeness and incompetence. As a lowly Exec Plat I am still treated awful and end up frustrated almost every other trip. FYI – no other U.S. based airline treats you any better or has de-escalation / problem solving skills in place.
    5). If you have 8 people and 19 bags to check then maybe you should arrive early – cutting it too close to checkin when you have that many people and checked bags is begging for a problem.

  21. @Wes. Best comment of the day! My wife had the misfortune to experience “customer service” at MIA. It left her in tears. Thank God travelers helped her.

  22. Sad, most of the comments read exactly how I expected them to. Tiffany has claimed in other posts that offensive comments are not always blocked in order to foster open dialogue but, in this instance, I fail to see how comments stereotyping ALL black people as using the race card encourages dialogue and understanding. From my perspective, it rather alienates your readers of “certain ethnic groups”. I guess because Jason Derulo carried wolf, we have to ignore racism when it is blatantly obvious.

  23. I agree with most comments here he is entitled and he played the race card to save cash. but the average age of your readers must be like 40 Bec idk how you can’t know who Jason Derulo is listen to marry me and touch the sky

  24. Jason Derulo has a history of airline issues. I remember something similar happened with him and Southwest recently. Once again he’s the issue not anyone else here.

  25. It isn’t clear that this had anything to do with racism.

    I’m kind of with him on the rest of this though. AA could have handled this a lot better.

  26. This post is pretty disingenuous and seems calculated to provide red meat to bigots trolling the internet. From the video Jason Derulo wasn’t claiming that AA’s actions in refusing to check the 19 bags, wanting to charge him $6k, or even in being met with officers upon the plane’s return was racist. He felt that the way the pilot addressed him and the fact that 15 officers arrived on scene and initially addressed him in the manner that they did was racially tinged. As I wasn’t there, I don’t feel equipped to comment on that, but that does seem like an extraordinary amount of force needed to deal with the situation.

  27. A. Who is this guy?
    B. I feel all the more sorry for the Korean nuts lady who (correct me if I’m wrong) went to jail for making the plane head back to the gate……

  28. Amazing how many people don’t know who Jason Derulo is. Over 30 million singles sold. Love his music, but anyhow, this is the same guy that had some trouble last year at Reno airport, I believe, and you posted about it here. So maybe fame has gone to his head?

  29. Really, not a single one of you folks leaving comments has ever heard of Jason DeRulo? I’m a white, female senior citizen (certainly not his target demographic) and I not only know who he is, I know and like many of his hit songs. That being said, he shouldn’t have done anything to mess with the flight and he should have dealt with the issue later. As for the alleged racism, you don’t have to be black to be treated badly by an airline, but it helps!

  30. There are plenty of certain types of people, who exhibit behaviors like this, that assume everyone else in the world, or of other races have “privilege” – but from the perspectives I’ve seen based on my own personal experiences, what others I know who share their personal experiences, as well as viewing what the media has forced into people’s mind that they have this entitlement and “right” to protest, to claim racism, to talk about perceived privileges, and racially attack others, solely because they are being asked to follow the rules and laws by a person of a different demographic. Let’s be real – that right there is a privilege if I ever saw it. The fact remains, the LAW is the LAW – Policies are policies for a reason. Just because you are a singer, spent millions with a company, does not make you privileged over anyone else trying to get where they need to go. You got bags? Ship them. Take a private jet if you got millions. Don’t sit and spout off racism, because you’re asked to abide by the law and rules. That only makes you the racist and look stupid. But what do I know, I’m just a privileged majority demographic that abides by the laws and policies, spends only thousands of dollars with American, doesn’t get ANY bags checked for free or with charge, and sits in the back of the plane. That’s my privilege.

  31. smh at commenters not knowing who jason derulo is. his music plays all the time at the gym!

    it’s like proudly posting, “i’m an old fatty!”

  32. Alot of Airline employees have a shoot first and ask questions later mentality. I Like some of his music but I would not recognize him and I am sure no one else did.

  33. @wm – finally a sane comment based on the facts of the story.

    I’m sure most of the other people commenting here are doing so without understanding what Jason Derulo is saying (pretty normal for most online blogs including OMAAT).
    Surely, forcing the plane to be brought back for non-emergency situations is completely inconsiderate and entitled behavior, but he didn’t bring race into what happened to him. All he is saying is that if he wasn’t a famous person, things would have gone very differently for a black person. And that is 100% correct. There is no way the cops would have let him go without arrest.

  34. $6,000 for 19 bags? That’s $115 per bag, probably more $ than a coach ticket on the same flight.

    Talk about being entitled — American taking advantage of delays in getting to the airport. Shameful: they deserve the bad press.

  35. Congratulations to American Airlines for NOT making an exception to this “very famous person”. Doing that would only encourage this baby to expect royal service in the future.

    Now, American should revoke the Concierge Key status from Jason Derulo. Then he will become the “random black guy” that he is ashamed to embrace.

  36. Although I don’t know the whole story, Jason Derulo has always seemed like an arrogant, no-talent shithead to me.

  37. Did he ask the American Airlines agent for permission to leave 1 person with the bags to go on the next flight?
    Was he told it would be free of charge ?

  38. Just to William Diaz’s comment re: “Just because you are a singer, spent millions with a company, does not make you privileged over anyone else trying to get where they need to go.”

    Airlines privilege status members over other passengers in many ways, and the more you spend, the higher your value to the airline. We now live in a world where the amount you spend with an airline is more determinant of status than miles/segments flown. Thus programs like Concierge Key are usually by invitation only. In fact, BA’s highest tier (concierge key equivalent) even delays connecting flights on purpose so that their Executive Premier clients can make the flights in event of an initial delay.

  39. All of the people I know in the music industry that travel with lots of luggage usually have their manager or assistant go to the airport ahead of time to check their bags.

    That’s pretty common in the entertainment industry. I once saw rapper TI’s manager checking about 30 bags curbside between the 8 people traveling in their group. TI of course wasn’t there, and their flight I’m sure wasn’t for hours. It takes time to check that many bags

  40. Q. Who the **** is Jason Derulo?
    A. Clearly Grade-A, #1 a$$hole . . . and a disgrace not only to fellow members of his own race (in trying to play it both ways), but — more importantly — a disgrace to all fellow humans named Jason.

  41. Wow… I have to agree with the comment about a quarter of the way down-plenty of racism in this thread.
    As an airline captain I’ve turned the plane around plenty of times for much stupider reasons than having all of your traveling companions baggage being left behind. How about, “I left my laptop in security and without it there’s absolutely no reason for me to go!” Or, “Dallas? I’m going to Dulles!”
    Perhaps they screwed up on the fee for the bags? Perhaps AA has agents greeting passengers who are not aware of AA’s ultimate status classification? Perhaps the only smart people in this equation where the 15 cops who showed up at the captains request? Just FYI my kids in their mid 20s and just about anybody under 40 knows who Jason Derulo is. And the only unknowns are the people on this thread who claim that the race card is overused. So, entitled? Perhaps he is but it comes with being the captain!

  42. @Halsey Taylor —> Sadly, there has been a good deal of racism expressed within this thread, I agree.

    I cannot speak to the authority you had as a commercial airline captain, but it would be nice to know from you what — exactly — ARE THE RULES when it comes to you turning a plane around prior to take-off and returning to the gate. Is “I left my laptop in security” a valid excuse? Is “Dallas? I’m going to Dulles!” a valid excuse?

    On the one hand, it’s not the fault of the airline, the flight crew, nor the other _______ passengers that one individual left his or her laptop behind. Does that make it OK to cost the airline $xxxx in delays and (I presume) fees, not to mention the inconvenience to all of the other passengers? And how does an individual booked to Dulles board a flight bound for Dallas? Isn’t that why boarding passes are scanned a final time at the gate?

    On the other hand, clearly I wouldn’t want to be flying to the wrong airport, or heading off to a business meeting without any of my materials — it’s certainly easy to understand the plight of the individual, but where is the consideration of the other hundred(s) passengers?


    I once left my laptop on board an Iberia flight when deplaning at LHR — not discovering its absence until I had checked into my hotel in London. Instead of turning over the laptop to the lost-and-found at Heathrow, the jet returned to Madrid and turned it in there. Several telephone calls between myself and Iberia — both at Heathrow and Madrid — and there was NO WAY Iberia would return my laptop to LHR so I could retrieve it there (even though British Airways, through which the flight was ticketed, told me they should). So I had to waste a day of my London stay, and pay for a last-minute r/t flight to go to Madrid, travel to their warehouse on the backside of the airport — where I was denied entry for security reasons (despite showing the guards the email that told me where to go!) — had to talk the guards into at least calling someone at Iberia to let them know I was waiting at the gate, finally have my laptop brought to me, and fly back to LHR . . . then entire process took from 6:00 am (the time I left my hotel) until 7:00 pm (the time I returned), and cost me close to $750!

  43. Ben, AA may not be racist, but there sure is a lot of bigots who visit your website, some pretty ugly comments here ” that’s what happens when black people get some money” are you kidding I thought this was ONEMILEATATIME not a white supremacist site. Jason is obviously a spoiled immature punk. But some of the comments here really show how bad off this country is with regards to race. It’s depressing. Some of you say his falsely accusing AA OF RACISM. and in the same comments you show how racist you are!! I follow your travels Ben often, now I’m wondering what kind of person you are !! And I’m black and have a great deal of money.

  44. I know who JD is I’m not a fan however there are two sides to every story and what you’ve written here does not seem to line up with what Jason said occurred. Is he entitled? Maybe, but if his statement of the events is correct all he is guilty of is arriving late (15 minutes before departure)

  45. Funny, I didnt know who this guy was, but googled him and found this article after reading this story about him:
    I was working as an Aviation Screening Officer (same thing as TSA) in a major Australian airport. A colleague of mine pulled over a guy for a random explosives check (I can assure you that they are 100% truly random).

    I heard all this commotion, with this American voice yelling out, ‘This is racist!

    I hate this country! Australia is racist! I’m never coming back here again! You’re just picking me because I’m black!’

    My colleague kept his cool for as long as possible, but the moment the black comment came out, he started arguing back, saying to the guy, ‘You don’t know me, I’m far from racist, you’re just saying that because I’m white.’

    I can tell you that my colleague is definitely not like that. Anyway, I realized the guy who was going off on this tirade was Jason Derulo. I used to enjoy his music, but after seeing what I saw, I’ll switch off his song if it comes over my radio.

    Absolute jerk.”

    Sounds like he has a history of causing scenes at airports and playing the race card when things dont go his way. What an entitled jerk!

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