Frustrated American Airlines Crew Rants About Rude Passengers

Frustrated American Airlines Crew Rants About Rude Passengers

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Flight attendants have hard jobs to begin with, and they’ve become even more difficult during the pandemic. Flight attendants have to enforce mask requirements, and on top of that we’ve seen an unprecedented increase in air rage among passengers.

I’m sure there are lots of things that flight attendants would like to say to passengers at times, but they bite their tongue. As reported by Snopes, one American Airlines flight attendant didn’t bite his tongue, and there’s now video of it online…

American flight attendant addresses rude passengers

This incident involves American Airlines flight 2511 on June 7, which was scheduled to operate from Los Angeles to Charlotte. The flight ended up diverting to Raleigh-Durham due to bad weather at the destination. As you might expect, this was an unpleasant experience for everyone, as the flight ended up being delayed by several hours.

Apparently some passengers were misbehaving horribly, and took that out on flight attendants. It’s reported that one passenger called the flight attendant a “fat gorilla” and told her to suck his you-know-what because he was asked to put on a mask.

After enough misbehavior from passengers, a flight attendant got on the PA and said the following:

All we’ve done is [be] flight attendants the entire flight. We really did [experience] the delay just like you. We have not eaten also. We’ve been delayed here. We’ve catered to you the entire flight and we do it because we love this job.

But the fact that we get insulted and mistreated by passengers over things that we cannot control. It is disgusting. We’re just going to go to Charlotte because we do not want to escalate this, but shame on the passengers who have made this flight a living hell for the flight attendants.

Here’s the video of this:

@brentunderwood

Flight attendants on @officialamericanairways are done with your b.s.! From our flight 6/7 LAX-NC. #americanairlines #facemask #dumbcustomers

♬ original sound – Brent Underwood

After all of this, a passenger calls the flight attendant a “drama queen,” at which point the flight attendant says they’re going back to the gate (though I’m not sure if that actually ended up happening):

https://www.tiktok.com/@brentunderwood/video/6971878560957041926

Were the flight attendants justified?

While I’m sure some people will say “how unprofessional of these flight attendants,” personally this is a situation where I think the crew was justified. We’re all human, and we all deserve a basic level of respect, regardless of who the customer is. You can hear the sincerity in the flight attendant’s voice, talking about how they do the job because they love it, but that this passenger behavior is crossing the line.

It’s apparent that it was a small minority of passengers causing the problems. The flight attendant makes it clear in his announcement that he’s only addressing certain people, there’s applause after his announcement, and you also hear passengers saying “we’re sorry” and “he didn’t mean it, it’s the hunger talking,” in response to what’s going on. Clearly most passengers recognized that other passengers were acting out of line.

People like to give flight attendants a hard time, but the reality is that in any other business you’d be kicked out if you call an employee a “fat gorilla” or tell them to suck your genitalia simply because they tried to enforce a federal law.

Sure, the crew could have just immediately brought the plane to the gate and offloaded those passengers, but in that sense they were doing passengers a courtesy by letting them get their act together so that they didn’t delay everyone. But then those misbehaving passengers continued to misbehave, calling the flight attendant a “drama queen.”

Bottom line

A transcontinental American Airlines flight was forced to divert due to bad weather in Charlotte, which made for a long day for both the crew and passengers. Unfortunately some passengers decided to take their frustration out on the crew, addressing them in ways that no one should have to endure.

At some point the crew could no longer ignore it, and one flight attendant took to the PA to share his opinion. Personally I think he was justified, and frankly his address seemed more constructive than just having the plane immediately go to the gate and have passengers offloaded.

What do you make of this American Airlines flight attendant’s PA?

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  1. Miami Flyer

    Planes need to return to the gate to unload unruly passengers and they can explain their side of the story to law enforcement. The new FAA fines, plus bans on flying will help fix the behavior where people think they can treat airline staff and every other passenger on the plane how they please.

    These are the types of passengers that start fights in the air and lead to re-routing, further delaying everyone.

  2. AndrewP

    100% with the crew here - they were treated disgracefully and gave out a measured message when they would have been justified in offloading the offending passengers thus delaying everyone.

    There is no way I could work in a customer facing role - I just don't have the patience!

    1. Miami305

      I disagree. While I agree the passenger appears to be 100% wrong, escalating this is not helpful, nor professional. Quietly return to the gate and boot the passenger. Professionally.

  3. Jay

    Incidents like these make me think of those commercials where there's a round table of evil corporate execs. And when one of them says something foolish, the head exec pushes a button and the floor underneath the foolish exec opens and they fall presumably to some terrible fate. Imagine if flight attendants had such buttons that ejected individual passenger seats out the roof (with a built-in seat parachute, of course): "Oh, you want me to...

    Incidents like these make me think of those commercials where there's a round table of evil corporate execs. And when one of them says something foolish, the head exec pushes a button and the floor underneath the foolish exec opens and they fall presumably to some terrible fate. Imagine if flight attendants had such buttons that ejected individual passenger seats out the roof (with a built-in seat parachute, of course): "Oh, you want me to suck what? (pushes eject button) Bye, Felicia!"

    1. Pences

      there's an old James Bond film with a scene like that

  4. Endre

    Donna is applauding her — after all, she hates passengers as much as that AA drama queen

  5. shoeguy

    100% in support of the crew here. These types of passengers start fights, cause diversions, and make the experience unpleasant for everyone else. Flying isn't fun but don't blame the low paid cabin crew for issues beyond their control. Passengers that cause diversions, assault crew, etc...should simply be banned for life from flying. That would end the problem.

  6. Morgan

    Yeah I agree well done to this FA and AA should ban these passengers that said these things!

  7. JDAventura

    While I am 100% in support of the flight attendants, I am also 100% against the manner in which this was handled through the announcement. Passengers need to understand when they misbehave like this, the flight will be interrupted (either by taxiing back to the gate or landing), they will be removed from the aircraft, and then federally charged/fined. In the end, the penalty of an announcement like this does nothing for anyone, and certainly...

    While I am 100% in support of the flight attendants, I am also 100% against the manner in which this was handled through the announcement. Passengers need to understand when they misbehave like this, the flight will be interrupted (either by taxiing back to the gate or landing), they will be removed from the aircraft, and then federally charged/fined. In the end, the penalty of an announcement like this does nothing for anyone, and certainly does nothing to support the flight attendants in the long run. The misbehaving passengers exited in Charlotte without penalty.

  8. Morgan

    Also @Ben I think its a stretch to call this a rant and from the title I thought the FA misbehaved inappropriately but in actual fact he gave a measured honest announcement

    1. Malc

      Yeah, I agree. If a rant means "speak or shout at length in an angry, impassioned way," then it's not really accurate to call it a rant.

  9. Bladeclubber

    Agreed, they should have gone back to the gate and offloaded them, that sends a message to everyone on that plane that behavior like that will not be tolerated.

  10. D3kingg

    Offload that rude passenger. Where was the captain ? They were in Raleigh not like it’s in the middle of no where. That must’ve taken a lot of restraint on the FAs part. She doesn’t deserve to be treated like that.

  11. Sir Walter Raleigh

    AA should stop selling basic economy. The brutes from spirit are comint onboard as a result

    1. Jerry

      It's not being sold on domestic flights at the moment

  12. Creditcrunch

    At the beginning of the vlog I think other flight attendants were telling him not to do what he did over the PA, Everyone is entitled to respect either as a passenger or flight crew, I hope he doesn’t lose his job over this.

  13. Eskimo

    I feel bad for the crew and any customer facing position for this matter. But it's part of the job. A mean person would always be mean even without a delay.

    So many people wanted to offload this offender, I agree. But is it justifiable?

    A JetBlue flight got diverted because a junkie was threatening people with feathers.
    A Southwest flight attendant got assaulted, losing 2 teeth but flight continued to destination.

    I guess a feather is mightier than losing 2 teeth.

  14. David

    I wouldn't say this is a rant. It was a fair and accurate response to passengers who stepped way out of line. I think the unruly passengers should get kicked off the plane though, I believe there is a fine now for that kind of behavior? Perhaps that'll teach them a lesson.

    I wish all American Airlines crew were so patient and professional.

  15. John

    God help AA if they give this FA a hard time, or worse.. I’ll back him up 100%. I’m tired of employees being punished, it’s time to stand up and speak out, just like he did

  16. NYGuy24

    Title is misleading. This was hardly a rant. If someone is just scanning the headlines they would come away with a negative impression about AA crews. I think the FA could have tweaked his language some but this is hardly some shocking rant.

  17. Miami305

    "I think the crew was justified"

    No Ben they were not.
    Seems - from the story - some passengers were complete a-holes. Given.
    However, the FA's need to defuse situations. They escalated the situation. Shame on them. VERY unprofessional.

    FA's are "there for your safety". They need to be above this. It sucks they had to take this abuse - and by all means return to the gate and boot the bad passenger(s) - but do it professionally.

    1. Commenting Commenter

      What they did was not unprofessional. They're just being honest and trying to have a heart-to-heart for passengers to understand that they're also human beings.
      And if they were unprofessional, who cares. People need to stop being weak snowflakes who get triggered by everything and get traumatized and need therapy and now can't function because someone was unprofessional with them. Stop being so weak.

  18. Commenting Commenter

    This what happens when there are no severe consequences for this or anything, for that matter. Ban people like this for life. That'll teach them a lesson. If they did that in mass, they'd clean out flights from these people and only leave deserving customers.
    This is what happens with this new culture of "everyone deserves 20,000 chances," and "consequences are cruel and mean," and "you have to be understanding." Children may need chances,...

    This what happens when there are no severe consequences for this or anything, for that matter. Ban people like this for life. That'll teach them a lesson. If they did that in mass, they'd clean out flights from these people and only leave deserving customers.
    This is what happens with this new culture of "everyone deserves 20,000 chances," and "consequences are cruel and mean," and "you have to be understanding." Children may need chances, etc., as part of developmental growth, but not grown a$$ adults.

  19. UA-NYC

    Haven't seen any discussion on this point - was this a racial angle too, with the "gorilla" comment? Wouldn't surprise me given a distinct segment of the US population these days.

    1. Eskimo

      No offence anyone, but this is the problem today of ignorant Americans who only sees what they wanted to see.

      If you're going to bring up the racial issue here, please bring up the body shamming issue too.
      It should be too hard to spot it right, since it preceded right before the word you bring up.
      The entire word was “fat gorilla”.

  20. Jakob

    The alternative would have been off-loading in mid-air. Alas that is not possible, but imagine if it was. That would really change the game!

    1. Commenting Commenter

      Well… It is possible! It just, unfortunately, would be against the law. It would a game changer for sure!

  21. MIchael R Karpiel

    Kick the A**hole off the plane and ban them from flying at least on AA.

    I'm with the FA's on this one.

  22. pences

    Lots of uncivil, coarse trash in this country.

  23. Jacob

    Yes, we're all human. But we're also adults, and the FAs are being paid to do a job, not to offer their opinions or vent their frustrations. Do the job, smile, be pleasant and represent the airline professionally. If you are unhappy with the treatment from the customers, find another job. We don't want to hear your whining.

  24. Steven E

    Obviously this is behaviour that steps over the line, the Flight attendants frustration is clearly heard in his voice - People just have no respect these days for other people and the job they are doing, I’m sure the company would be calling him in for an explanation, I can only hope that he retains his job !!! Hello FAA

  25. Ryan

    People have no idea the level of stress flights attendants are under right now. While many rode out the pandemic by working remotely or with financial assistance from unemployment, flight attendants were working through all of it, right in the middle of situations that were compromising to the health of themselves and their families. They're are already exhausted. Now people are returning to the skies with a literal vengeance. It is as though some people...

    People have no idea the level of stress flights attendants are under right now. While many rode out the pandemic by working remotely or with financial assistance from unemployment, flight attendants were working through all of it, right in the middle of situations that were compromising to the health of themselves and their families. They're are already exhausted. Now people are returning to the skies with a literal vengeance. It is as though some people are actually looking for a fight at every opportunity. What little civility people had before the pandemic is gone. I quit flying at the beginning of the pandemic because of the anxious dread I felt every time I went to work. It is literally 50 passengers to every one flight attendant and when you are at 30,000 feet, you can't just step outside and separate yourself from a bad situation. There is no break from the tension of EVERYTHING that can go wrong during a flight. My flight attendant friends are literally breaking down and many are looking for ways to get out of the industry. As much as we all loved the "idea" of being a flight attendant, that idea doesn't match the expectations and reality of the job any longer. The things they are expected to deal with while working 12-16 hours days on little sleep is untenable.

  26. Ryan

    In response to those that are saying they should have just removed the person - I agree it's always better to simply remove the person causing the problem, if you can. This flight diverted due to weather. They were likely not in a position to simply return to the gate. I've personally been in situations where we were "locked" into our position for hours. When an airport becomes a diversion point, sometimes the planes that...

    In response to those that are saying they should have just removed the person - I agree it's always better to simply remove the person causing the problem, if you can. This flight diverted due to weather. They were likely not in a position to simply return to the gate. I've personally been in situations where we were "locked" into our position for hours. When an airport becomes a diversion point, sometimes the planes that divert are stacked into a holding area where they are out of the way until they can take off again, so they don't interfere with the regular traffic at that airport. And even if they could get to a gate, that would mean they were pulling themselves out of line for a clearance slot to take off and get to their intended destination. Another issue in this situation was likely crew legalities. They had done a transcon, diverted, and sat on the tarmac for hours. Their duty day may have been nearing it's limit. Once the plane returns to the gate, if the plane cannot get in the air and to it's destination within their legal duty day, the flight is cancelled or further delayed until another crew can be found. Sometimes it is not as simple as just return to the gate. There are consequences for everyone when that happens in situations like this. While a PA may not be the most professional sounding action, it does alert everyone on the plane that there is an issue. Sometimes that helps put pressure on the people that are misbehaving to get it together. When situations become volatile, flight attendants often need the support of passengers to back them up. It's not like they can just call the cops to handle an unruly person. A PA can be an effective tool to get that support.

  27. lpana Ivion

    All these trump supporters claiming "freedom" to misbehave. They should be banned for life.

  28. Gntx

    It’s not always the passenger. This Friday, June 18 flight from Fresno to Phoenix an attendant named Karen (really!) was taking drink orders. After she served the gentleman on the window seat I was anticipating her asking mine, I pulled my mask away from me briefly so she could hear me. I though I was being courteous. Wring. I get this darting look and I couldn’t understand what she was saying. Then she said in...

    It’s not always the passenger. This Friday, June 18 flight from Fresno to Phoenix an attendant named Karen (really!) was taking drink orders. After she served the gentleman on the window seat I was anticipating her asking mine, I pulled my mask away from me briefly so she could hear me. I though I was being courteous. Wring. I get this darting look and I couldn’t understand what she was saying. Then she said in a very stern tone, ‘ don’t pull your mask down..I can hear you fine. ‘ I was stunned. The state from her was burning and focused. I held both hands up and apologized. Then followed, ‘ it’s so that you are informed sir.’ Minutes later overhead she reiterated the federal mandate of mask wearing and further passengers are to dawn the mask ‘ in between chews’ (to be fair, this exact same language was used on my following AA flight. A few minutes later I overheard her attending yo passenger behind me and said, ‘ I can’t hear you.’ (??), but she said she could hear me fine with the mask on.

    I was under impression she was looking for someone just to lay it on.

    Passenger next to me on the next flight shared a similar experience w baggage personnel. He and his friend were traveling together. There was some disagreement w his friend and AA employee. They were both threatened w travel bans !! They have been empowered and given the authority on who should fly!

    It’s not sided. Not just rude passengers. There are RUDE American Airline employees. GET OUT…plenty of jobs are opening !!

Featured Comments Load all 35 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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Morgan

Also @Ben I think its a stretch to call this a rant and from the title I thought the FA misbehaved inappropriately but in actual fact he gave a measured honest announcement

Commenting Commenter

This what happens when there are no severe consequences for this or anything, for that matter. Ban people like this for life. That'll teach them a lesson. If they did that in mass, they'd clean out flights from these people and only leave deserving customers. This is what happens with this new culture of "everyone deserves 20,000 chances," and "consequences are cruel and mean," and "you have to be understanding." Children may need chances, etc., as part of developmental growth, but not grown a$$ adults.

D3kingg

Offload that rude passenger. Where was the captain ? They were in Raleigh not like it’s in the middle of no where. That must’ve taken a lot of restraint on the FAs part. She doesn’t deserve to be treated like that.

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