Video Of Lady Getting Kicked Off Flight After Crew Power Trip

Filed Under: American, US Airways

On Sunday I wrote a post entitled “Why Are Some Airline Employees So Damn Hostile?”

The post was specifically about a gate agent I witnessed who went out of her way to make her job difficult and be rude to a passenger. But it’s a trend I see overall in the airline industry. Don’t get me wrong, there are some amazing people working in the airline industry, but also some of the most hostile people out there.

In a way, the hostility is supported by the airlines, given that they give employees so much latitude to remove passengers from flights in the name of “safety” and “9/11.” I can’t think of a single other for-profit industry where employees can get away with being so rude to the people paying their bills.

Which brings us to today’s viral story, of a lady who on Sunday was booted from a US Airways flight between Phoenix and Portland.

Why was she given the boot? Supposedly the flight attendant yelled at her (because she didn’t understand something he said), she apologized to him, and then she complained to another flight attendant about the other flight attendant being rude to her. Then she got removed from the flight.

The person seated behind the lady in question took a video, which can be found on The Washington Post.

And here’s the description of the video:

This poor girl didn’t hear Tim (in aisle) the flight attendant ask her to move to let someone else by. Tim then yelled for her to move and it upset her, yet she still apologized to Tim. After sitting, the girl mentioned to a different attendant Tim was rude to her. Next thing we know, the girl is thrown off the plane. After the flight about 20 of us grabbed the pilot at the gate and complained. That sheer number proves Tim was just being an ass. USAir/American flight 408 (Phoenix to Portland) Oct 11, 2015.

KATU News did a story about the incident, which can be found here:

I tend to think the people seated around the person in question are the best judges of what went down:

  • The passengers around her are in disbelief when she’s removed, they “boo” as she is taken off the plane, they say they’ll never fly American again, etc.
  • The lady is even calm when she’s being removed from the plane… based on the above clip she doesn’t seem to have a mean bone in her body

There’s only one reason a passenger should be removed from a plane — does the passenger pose a “real” threat to the safety of the plane? If the answer is no, they shouldn’t be removed. But post-9/11 the question seems to have turned into “does an airline employee like the passenger?” And if the answer is “no,” that seems to be enough reason to get the boot as well… because 9/11.

Seriously, in what other industry is service like this tolerated? When you complain about service at a hotel, you get a sympathetic manager and probably some sort of compensation on the spot. When you complain on an airline, you get removed and they threaten to call the cops on you.

There’s only one other business I can think of where complaining about a bad experience leads to the cops being called:

Bottom line

Ultimately we don’t know everything that transpired here, but it sure seems like the flight attendant was out of line. And the worst part is probably that nothing will be done about it, under the guise of “security.”

What do you make of this incident?

  1. If you click on the video, go to view in on youtube, and check the comments section… Looks like there is more insight into what may have happened. The passenger that was kicked off allegedly called the flight attendant a f***ing f***ot. ( who knows about credibility on the internet) Looks like both sides may have been in the wrong here.

  2. That is what happens when you make airlines employees “authorities”. They feel empowered to make your life miserable. They have the power to be rude, treat customers like trash and you have to put your head down and not say a word or you will end up in the “no fly list”. Unbelievable!!!! Customer service is a word that disappeared from the training guide or airlines and respect was never heard by these folks. Here is an example on how they treat customers: Yesterday I got to the airport a little earlier for my flight and saw that the earlier flight was delayed and just started boarding. I ran into the gate and asked the agent if I could get in. Her first response was:”The flight is full and even if I had a seat you would have to pay $50.” Well, I then had to tell her I was a Platinum with Delta. She changed her attitude immediately!!! She looked at me and said:”I am so sorry I don’t have more first class seats but I can offer you an Economy Comfort seat if that is OK.” WTF!!!! Why didn’t she treat me like hat when I first asked and she did not know I was a Platinum member? Unfortunately I have to travel by air but by the time I get into an airport until the time I leave the next one I feel very uncomfortable since I feel like I am stepping on eggs and I am being watched all the time and anything I do that may bother someone can be seen as a threat. The times when flying was a fun experience are over.

  3. Seriously embarrassing for AA. Hope this goes viral and someon gets reprimanded or fired. “Tim” needs to go for some remedial customer service training where it should be made clear to him that he is a glorified waiter.

    But what is much worse IMO, is the female flight attendant heard talking in the background – who one assumes is the cabin director – actually forcing this woman off the plane. What has happened to common sense? What a wet noodle of a supervisor!

    Another example of the Peter Principle in action. It is so sad that we see so much of that these days.
    Some US airline employees – such as these – surely must rate among the worst anywhere in the world!

  4. I hope the passenger did not call the guy a f**** f****. As despicable as that is, it’s not grounds to kick someone off a flight. She did not interfere with the crew nor did she pose a security threat.

  5. Flight attendant needs to be fired, AA fined (tens of thousands of $), and passenger should receive 1M miles, at the least. Bast4rds!

  6. The airlines pay the staff peanuts and in exchange allow for this absurd “empowerment” – power trips all across the board. Too many such examples all the time – what will it take for these people to come to their senses and treat paying customers with respect? Disgusting

  7. As an ex-flight attendant, I can 100% confirm that most incidents like this are due to power trips. They almost never have anything to do with passenger safety. And they are almost always committed by F/As who have burned out from the job long ago, but can’t leave because they know they could never get the same pay and benefits package that they have now.

    I would also like to call out airline management, who (a) were stupid enough to give these people the right to throw people off the flight based on some vague security concern, and (b) simply won’t fire these people on the spot for abusing this right because they’re afraid of union retaliation.

  8. American needs to issue a public apology and take the appropriate action against this Flight Attendant before I even consider booking my next flight. The merger with US Airways is definitely making the service go downhill.

  9. @Benjamin – I highly doubt that her fellow passengers would be booing her removal and telling the FAs that they won’t fly AA again atb the end of the video if she had called the guy a F***ing F****t.

  10. I can’t believe how terrible the laws are in the US. When I see videos like this I understand why the EU is a larger economy than the US. If they won’t change the way the country works then they will be in a much larger trouble than where they are now. Terrible, unbelievable.

  11. Flight attendants should be fired for this kind of behavior. More than this, they should be subject to fines and jail time for abusing the law. Passenger safety is one thing, but passenger abuse is entirely different.

    BTW, I’m surprised no one is calling out the pilots here as well. They are in command of the aircraft and the crew. This type of FA behavior only happens when the pilots empower them.

    I feel particularly sorry for the good flight attendants out there an who can still make flying special.


  12. Key line in the long judgmental post: “Ultimately we don’t know everything that transpired here…”

    If she did call the FA a slur as alleged, she should be kicked off. No employee should be faced with a few hours in a hostile work environment because of a bigot.

    And all those booing passengers who say they will never fly American again? Yes they will.

  13. Hopefully AA will conduct a fair investigation and publish the results. The question to Ben: what passenger should do if we asked to leave the airplane by the Flight Attendant on the power trip? Should passenger wait for police/security to show up? What is our course of action after passenger was wrongly removed from the plain and miss his/her flight?

  14. I would have to say the way she acted and what she said at the end does not seem like someone who would be throwing out a slur. If she had I would think she would be cursing at them while she left the plane etc. Plus the passengers would not have been so against it.

  15. @31583 It’s not usually my style to reply to comments as inane and off-base as yours, but this one is just too special to ignore. What do US laws and the size of the EU economy as compared to that of the United States have to do with this situation at all? The US economy is roughly 95% the size of the EU economy as a measure of GDP–with the US having roughly 64% as many inhabitants as the EU. So if you’re saying the EU economy is “stronger”–well, that’s a tough pill to swallow. It may be LARGER in absolute terms, but it’s certainly far less productive. And the laws of the EU as compared to the US have what, exactly, to do with the particular situation in this video?

    I know, I know, don’t feed the trolls. Just wanted to refuse his idiotic argument with actual facts. You (the royal you) may be entitled to your own opinions, but you are NOT entitled to your own facts.

  16. To the people saying, “we don’t know all the facts” , GET REAL! You are part of the problem here! The only reason to remove someone from a flight is if they pose a danger to the crew or other passengers. The woman was in tears and pleading to stay on the plane. Is anyone really going to argue that posed a threat and there was cause to remove her? Yeah, sure. That’s EXACTLY why the passengers booed the flight attendant and indicated that they won’t fly American again.

    Where has common sense gone these days?

    The law is clear (14 C.F.R. §§ 91.11, 121.580, 135.120.). The flight attendant was way out of line. HER actions contributed to a hostile environment that affects passenger safety.

  17. Gay people are crazy. They are also often very mean and hateful people. Maybe the rise of low level employees acting unilaterally and unfairly is directly related to the culture of today which includes people acting vindictively, and the rise of the hate filled gay rights movement. It’s infantile to target one person and carry out a little vendetta against him. That happened to me by a gay guy at Delta in Vancouver about absolutely nothing.
    Gay people are also not afraid to step out of line and make an ass out of themselves in public. Gay people are very self centered, and they don’t have any morals or values.

  18. This is the reason the EU economy is larger than the US? That was so funny, I snorted lemonade out my nose when reading it. (Which for the record, wasn’t fun at all…)

  19. Ben, so according to Johnny Mac you are 1.Crazy and 2. Mean. Hmmm I guess I missed that tone in Ben’s blog. @Johnny Mac seriously dude?

  20. @Kirby: I shouldn’t have said this for sure because I should knew that Americans like you will be upset. The problem is I’m upset also because you, as a citizen, as a consumer, as a customer, as a human does not have rights in the system where you live. This is what we can see in this video. For me, as a European tourist is terrible to see because if they can do this to their citizens then what should I expect?

    [Off: since you took it so personal, you should check the facts also. Most important and largest financial center? London. Largest GDP? EU. Highest GDP per capita? Mix of Arab and EU countries. So, yes 15-20 years ago US was an awesome country and trust me, I absolutely loved it! The American lifestyle, the companies, the people and everything was just better than anywhere else on the planet but this has changed. A lot. The way they handle situations makes everyone worried. Probably this is the reason why China decided to open their Yuan clearing system in Europe and not in the US.]

    Ps: I don’t like the EU, just to let you know, but at least this can not happen to you here. So don’t take this personal, I just hate to see what can happen to a citizen in the US. It’s like when the guy was required to go to a TSA check AFTER he landed because his name was similar to someone else’s. It’s not normal. There must be a level when the law enforcement says stop to these companies.

  21. @Benjamin I saw that comment in the youtube section as well and it linked to a blog of a woman claiming to be a stewardess which seems to have a lot of articles bashing passengers. The article does not identify the passengers nor does the author appeared to have interviewed anyone of verified that account. Since those allegations aren’t being reported in the media I kind of doubt there is any merit there, since the media did interview actual witnesses to the event and none of that was mentioned. Sounds like someone got worried about their job for over reacting and then made up a story to justify their actions after the fact.

  22. I experienced my version of “tim” on Southwest airlines which my husband routinely calls Nazi airlines. It sucks that the party line is the f/a is always right. Heaven forbid that there be a requirement to treat customers in a pleasant fashion. As they say – absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    The only thing that will start to change this is for all “20” of the passengers to organize and write in to complain about Tim. This “organization” should be done at the end of the flight so they don’t get kicked off as well. Problem is this takes time and effort from people who had nothing to do with it which is hard.

    Another poster called f/a’s glorified waiters – I have always corrected my husband who has called them wait staff – but as incidents like these power trips keep piling up – I am starting to agree.

  23. I agree that airlines shouldn’t be given the authority to boot passengers without just cause. If the airline unfairly boots a passenger, paying the passenger $10,000 – $20,000 seems like fair compensation for a short hop like PHX-PDX.

  24. @ Johnny Mac

    Johnny, your myopic and bigoted view of reality is sad. You generalize an entire subset of society based on your own ignorance and then, somehow, link to an article about known intellectual Azelea Banks to “prove” your point.

    And, stupidly, you did this on a blog post by an openly gay man!

    Do you know what a Venn diagram is? Of course not, you are a nitwit, but it’s that chart you see of two circles that overlap and supposed to show two sets that show a few similar characteristics. Well, of a Venn diagram with one circle showing “people who pre-judge an entire section of society due to ignorance” and another circle saying “important people who’s views matter to anyone” they, obviously, do not overlap. I think we all know which circle you are in.

    Well, maybe you don’t get it, intelligence usually does not rate highly in bigots- you are the first circle.

    And I am not a gay guy but am against idiotic ignorance and bigotry.

  25. @31583 – Typical EU blinders. At least AA employees don’t physically attack their management and rip off their clothes like a pack of savages.

    @Stephen “I highly doubt that her fellow passengers would be booing her removal and telling the FAs that they won’t fly AA again atb the end of the video if she had called the guy a F***ing F****t.” But, but, but, as the likes of 31583 and probably most on the debate stage tonight will tell you the US is a racist and homophobic nation, so they were booing BECAUSE she said “fucking faggot” then got taken away!

  26. The passenger could have been instructed by the purser to write her complaint to corporate and explain that any further verbal interactions would be met with an escort out of the aircraft. This would have been a fair handling given the time constraints to prepare the cabin for departure. It is irrelevant who called who what.

  27. Lucky – can you please make sure to let us know any follow-up on this matter?

    I have not flown a lot in the US, but each time I have always been treated well by flight crew. Ground crew can be fairly “short” but in the air I’ve not experienced any problems at all. I’m a little nervous now because I am flying AA NYC-LAX in December. Will make sure to keep my head down …

  28. @Johnny Mac – Gay people are perceptive.. They have to be to pick up on clues as to weather another person is gay so they can flirt, or weather another person will be homophobic towards them.

    The reason you find gay people mean is because they are perceptive enough to know you’re an a******.

  29. I got kicked off a PS flight in LAX for asking about channel 9 availability.

    It was clearly a power trip for the one flight attendant and the captain backed the FA without investigating on his own.

    On that day I truly received personal service.


  30. Whenever we have a reasonable choice, let’s just boycott American, at least until a public apology is made and strong compensation provided to the lady. It’s the only language the company understands – revenue and market share.

  31. This kind of behaviour by the flight crew will never happen in Asia and most likely not in Europe ( as well with Arab Carriers)
    I dont understand Lucky why you are not pointing that out.
    Its a US issue period.

  32. I agree with Max above. It is a USA issue. There are so many people today trying to assault other people and say that they are victims.
    I was at 66 John Street the other day at the Manhattan financial center where there was a guy with a really deep like trucker voice dressed as a woman, and when the woman in charge innocently asked him to move a seat over by addressing him as “Sir.” He went crazy and said “EXCUSE ME! I am not a Sir, I’m a MAM!” hahaha in a deep trucker voice. Like seriously, and then he was extremely abusive to everyone in charge and everyone around him and everyone was on eggshells in case they offended him, because anyone challenging his conduct is automatically the bad guy. And the funny thing is, even though he wanted everyone to read his biography or psychiatric chart before interacting with him, he had no problem assailing other people as mam or sir or what they looked like and including unprovoked offensive slurs and conduct on top of that. I’m sorry, but he was no angel. If you are trangendered in America, you are supposed to be an angel. A poor unsung hero, angel, but I’m sorry, he was no angel. I know that someone claiming a transgendered immunity pass benefits from the automatic bullshit in people’s heads, just like if you say something about US soldiers or 9/11 or whatever. People don’t care about the facts or what’s going on. They will just go off…
    I also think that if you are going to pretend you are something else, you might try to do a better job impersonating whatever it is you are trying to impersonate.
    This guy was there for the same reason I was: to get a NYC ID card instituted by de Blaisio and available to all New Yorkers regardless of citizenship. If you apply by the end of the year, you also get free admission to a bunch of museums and stuff too, and getting it is free until next year.
    The point is the culture in America today is promoting people to pretend they are victims or have some how been victimized. The end result is that it is more elaborate and smarter way for assholes and unhappy people to carry out what they might have had to do more unimaginatively before, and that is to do hateful and unfair things to other people. They can say that it isn’t because of themselves that they are angry and unhappy. It is because of everybody else. It’s not them; it’s you. You have to change.
    It’s diabolical.
    And that my friends is why America sucks today, and I actually think that if the country got taken over by Muslims, it would be awesome!
    There are a whole bunch of benefits, but some good ones would be no more women voting and no more women drivers. And this guy…forget about it.
    The whole transgendered thing is a lot like Black lives matter and the attacks against cops. For sure….there are a ton of terrible cops in America. That I am not going to deny at all, and there are a lot of laws that if you get to know, you realize what a joke it is when people say that America is the land of the free,
    but seriously, for a lot of black guys in jail…it is their fault 100% and if we had a better criminal justice system, they would have been executed before they got to the point of having multiple life sentences.
    I didn’t even bother reading a lot of the nasty comments assailing what I said, but I think what was said and the tone of the speakers proves my point.
    I also do not know that Ben is gay as one commenter wrote, and just because he said that doesn’t mean I believe it or that it is true. Also, I think it is pretty gross of someone to write that here, because even if it is true, it has never been shoved in my face in this blog.

  33. I don’t put much stock in any YouTube comment, let alone this one about the slur. This woman doesn’t seem like the type and even if she were I can’t imagine a cabin full of people booing and jeering the FA’s if the woman had done that.

  34. I wonder what would have happened if all the passengers got up and left in solidarity with the bullied woman. I may be wrong, but I think Airline Safety code states that all checked bags must be removed too, for obvious reasons.

  35. If you can not keep a civil tongue in your head when dealing with your fellow passengers, you need to be booted off the flight, banned from flying again on that airline for at least one year, and be placed on the TSA’s no fly list for a period of six weeks.

    GOOD that she got the boot. She deserved it.

  36. Heres the answer. BEHAVE on a flight. This has never happened to me because I behave. Something is missing in this story. Im sure if someone is removed, they deserve it.

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