Bizarre: American Executive Accused Of Lying About Inflight Service

Bizarre: American Executive Accused Of Lying About Inflight Service

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Relations between American Airlines management and flight attendants aren’t good at all at the moment. Flight attendants are seeking a new contract, but are making little progress, and have been refused the right to go on strike.

@xJonNYC now shares the details of a truly bizarre controversy, whereby a company executive reportedly accused a crew of not providing the proper service on a flight he took. However, the crew claims he’s lying.

American SVP accuses flight attendants of not providing service

Brady Byrnes is American’s Senior Vice President of Inflight and Premium Guest Services. He recently flew with his family on a flight from Dallas (DFW) to Denver (DEN). According to the flight attendants who worked the flight, he lied, and reported the crew to the company, claiming they didn’t provide inflight service. According to the crew’s version of events:

  • Prior to the flight, the captain told the flight attendants to first stay seated after takeoff due to turbulence, and stated that there would be light turbulence throughout the entire flight
  • After takeoff, the captain called the flight attendants to tell them to start the service
  • The flight attendants made an announcement, saying that they wouldn’t serve hot beverages, but that they would serve juice, mixers, Coke products, etc.; the crew was reportedly following the light turbulence procedure for onboard service
  • When the crew got to Byrnes’ row, he and his family asked for Coke Zero and cranberry juice, and he asked the crew to pour the cranberry juice for his daughters
  • After the flight, he reportedly contacted the company, saying that the crew didn’t provide an inflight service; all the crew members received an email early the following morning about this, with the company requesting an explanation
  • A crew member concludes, “from what I know and experienced, he lied about us and tried to get us in trouble when we SERVED him and his family”
  • A crew member also comments that “he was so nice to our faces and thanked us for our service,” and that “during the flight we talked among ourselves that he seemed so nice, but boy, were we wrong”

@xJonNYC further shares the correct inflight procedure for situations where there’s light turbulence, whereby hot beverages aren’t supposed to be served.

What a bizarre controversy

This is no doubt going to be a big controversy internally at American, though I can’t help but wonder if there might be more to this story, because the circumstances here are so strange. On the one hand, I assume this crew isn’t just completely making this up. On the other hand, I also don’t see what American’s executive who oversees inflight service has to gain by lying about what happened on the flight?

I’m curious if we end up learning more here regarding the circumstances:

  • Do the flight attendants know with certainty that Byrnes was the one who complained? Or is it possible that someone else on the flight complained about the lack of service (maybe because they’re not familiar with the service procedure when there’s turbulence), and the crew is just assuming it was Byrnes?
  • Was the accusation against the crew really that they just didn’t provide any service, or was it that they didn’t provide the correct service, per the company policies? I don’t see any mention of serving alcohol, so did the crew maybe not serve alcohol, even though they were supposed to?

The crew is making some pretty serious accusations here, outright saying the person who oversees inflight service lied and reported them, so I’m curious what comes of this.

Byrnes has become quite the controversial figure among flight attendants, and in October 2023, the flight attendant union issued a vote of no confidence in him. This became even more controversial when the union hand delivered this message to Byrnes at the company’s headquarters in Fort Worth.

Following this, the company told security at headquarters to be on the lookout for people in union t-shirts, suggesting they were banned from entering the building. However, the company quickly clarified that this was an error.

https://twitter.com/xJonNYC/status/1712609873777590581

Then the next big controversy became how Byrnes was wearing Gucci shoes when they delivered the letter to him, so he has gotten the “Gucci” nickname among some flight attendants.

As you can tell, there’s a lot going on here. I don’t know Byrnes personally, so I don’t have a strong opinion on him one way or another. I do have to say that he’s probably in a pretty unenviable situation, overseeing premium service at American (American isn’t trying to be a premium airline!), and also managing an understandably frustrated work group (he’s not responsible for negotiating the contract for flight attendants).

Bottom line

An American executive recently took a flight with his family. The crew claims he was friendly onboard, but then complained internally that the crew didn’t provide any service. The crew claims they provided the standard service for a situation where a flight has light turbulence.

Admittedly labor relations at American aren’t good right now, but this is just incredibly strange. I’d like to think that Byrnes wouldn’t falsely accuse a crew of something for no reason, so I’m curious if there was a misunderstanding here, if we’re not getting the full story, or what…

What do you make of this incident?

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  1. Karina Hargrove Guest

    It seems that there’s a significant oversight among some here regarding Byrnes background. Not everyone knows that he was once a flight attendant—and notably, not an exemplary one. His tenure was marked by frequent issues, necessitating regular union intervention at every base he operated from. Surprisingly, despite his firsthand experience with the challenges of the job, he now harbors a vendetta against flight attendants.
    It’s crucial to acknowledge the rigors of being a flight...

    It seems that there’s a significant oversight among some here regarding Byrnes background. Not everyone knows that he was once a flight attendant—and notably, not an exemplary one. His tenure was marked by frequent issues, necessitating regular union intervention at every base he operated from. Surprisingly, despite his firsthand experience with the challenges of the job, he now harbors a vendetta against flight attendants.
    It’s crucial to acknowledge the rigors of being a flight attendant. Our job entails long hours, often working through the night or the entirety of the day, facing 16-hour duty days but only being compensated for 6 hours of flight time. We’re also frequently understaffed, adding to the challenge. Moreover, post-service protocol dictates that we should not disturb passengers only to do walk around ; if they need anything, they can approach us at the back of the plane. It’s possible they weren’t using their phones but tablets, which, incidentally, can function similarly to phones.
    Before making hasty judgments or conclusions, it’s important to fully understand the nuances and realities of a flight attendant’s job. Knowing the full story sheds light on the complexity and demands of our role, highlighting the need for empathy and understanding rather than baseless criticisms or personal vendettas.

  2. Watson Diamond

    This should be easily verifiable. They always send out those stupid surveys after flights, which people mostly don't fill out. But if there was no service on the flight, you can bet the response rate would be higher.

    They should also be keeping track of inventory on the plane and would hopefully notice if 100 cans of soda, 20 beers, and 20 snack boxes needed replenishing.

    As usual, the truth is probably somewhere in the...

    This should be easily verifiable. They always send out those stupid surveys after flights, which people mostly don't fill out. But if there was no service on the flight, you can bet the response rate would be higher.

    They should also be keeping track of inventory on the plane and would hopefully notice if 100 cans of soda, 20 beers, and 20 snack boxes needed replenishing.

    As usual, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle. It was probably a woefully inadequate service, which the SVP might exaggerate as "no service at all" but give the FAs enough grounds to call him a liar.

  3. Greg Guest

    Ironically Brady was previously a flight attendant for AA, so not some ivory tower exec who has no idea what happens on the front line.

  4. UncleRonnie Guest

    I won’t be surprised if this incident leads to a FA union walkout next week.

  5. A220HubandSpoke Member

    Are we not supposed to believe the story that AA has bad FAs?

    American has some of the worst FAs in the western (and I guess Asian) world.

    Just because your boss smiles and is nice to you doesn't mean you did a great job.

    No wonder AA underperforms UA and DL. No one wants crappy service.

  6. Franklin Guest

    I'm so glad this has come up. I fly lga-ord round trip every week. I have found that in recent times well over half my flights require the FA's to "take their seats" for half the flight or more due to "turbulance" that I never seem to feel. This is constant, and its a real problem.

  7. Bob S Guest

    I worked for a major airline years ago and my last role was in HR supporting Inflight Services. The VP of Inflight may not negotiate the contract, but he was involved in every detail of the negotiations as it was his budget he had to negotiate within those parameters. So he wasn't at the table, but he called the shots when the negotiators briefed him daily. Also, why would the VP of Inflight report the...

    I worked for a major airline years ago and my last role was in HR supporting Inflight Services. The VP of Inflight may not negotiate the contract, but he was involved in every detail of the negotiations as it was his budget he had to negotiate within those parameters. So he wasn't at the table, but he called the shots when the negotiators briefed him daily. Also, why would the VP of Inflight report the crew when the crew ultimately reports to him? He couldn't wait to get back to work and then talk with his leadership team? Very weird.

  8. Sara Smith Guest

    I am not making a value judgment here, I am just observing: everyone basically agrees AA flight attendants deserve *everything* that's coming to you.

    You're so lazy, so entitled. You should all be fired. There's 1000 people (literally) ready to replace every last one of you.

    1. Jeff Sinclair Guest

      I feel like there's more to the story here, but Brady's relations with flight attendants and the Inflight team in general is notoriously bad so the incident as described doesn't tax the imaginaton. His leadership style is described as elitist at best, imperious at worst, and known for smiles and platitudes to your face and then a knife in your back as soon as you turn around.

  9. jallan Gold

    We're flying AA from LAX to HNL in August, mostly to try to burn up some points so I can shift loyalty to ab better airline, and the comments here definitely lower my expectations. Have to remember to bring food and water onboard with us! Although I'll take getting there without a wheel falling off.

  10. csongor Guest

    You're a Senior VP and you don't address the problem when it happens or after your family and the masses depart the plane ?
    4am emails are not how you fix problems that you witness.

    1. digital_notmad Diamond

      Lol these are people who would allege he was a safety risk if he tried to address the issue in-flight. How exactly do you propose he do it?

  11. dander Guest

    Fly american alot out of PHX. I have noticed if I engage with the flight attendants, simple words like please and thank you, or agree that some passengers are jerks, I get pretty good service out of them. Granted the good service I get isn't on a level with delta's average service. I find that being polite works

  12. Bplace Guest

    Just today, flight flight from IND to Philly, approx 5:40am departure. Same, captain said zero service due to turbulence. Minor turbulence through a little of the flight until the end when it was moderate.

    Flight attendant drew the curtain in back and we didn't see her again until the plane landed.

  13. LOVETRAVELLING New Member

    I was surprised to see very prompt FA's serving Meals on Flight from DFW to SFO. Is that an anomaly?

  14. JustinDev Member

    I flew AA from Belize City to Miami in "Business Class" late December 2023. Flight left around 2PM. I was expecting at least a sandwich or salad. All I received was a glass of water and a choice from that gawdawful snack basket.

    In that same month, I also flew from London/Basel on BA and Frankfurt/ Budapest on Lufthansa. Both BA and LH provided meals. There was no turbulence on the AA flight and...

    I flew AA from Belize City to Miami in "Business Class" late December 2023. Flight left around 2PM. I was expecting at least a sandwich or salad. All I received was a glass of water and a choice from that gawdawful snack basket.

    In that same month, I also flew from London/Basel on BA and Frankfurt/ Budapest on Lufthansa. Both BA and LH provided meals. There was no turbulence on the AA flight and there was a little on the BA flight. All three flights are roughly clocked at the same 2hrs.

    While I was not on that flight, I have been hearing of FAs not providing any service even when there is no turbulence. It has been said that FAs have been using this no service as a pseudo walkout.

  15. Anna Guest

    Well if these allegations are false then by all means wouldn’t he make an effort to clear his name or rectify this situation? His silence as a leader speaks volumes.

  16. Alex Guest

    Why would he lie? I'm an AA frequent flier and I've seen all kinds of awful behavior from the FAs. Hostile attitude, skipping service, dropping bread in the galley and tossing it back on a first class tray (gag). Anyone who flies AA with any regularity can see how shamelessly awful most of them are at their jobs.

  17. Leroy Hughes Guest

    Another fat-cat at the trough. Disgusting.

  18. Joe Guest

    Are these ppl. for real and expecting Asian hospitalty and service from AA? LOL!
    If SQ is allowed to serve domestic service within the US, you know exactly in which airline these ppl. will be flying with...in a heartbeat!

  19. avidtraveler Guest

    @Brandote: Agreed

  20. Notaaflyer Guest

    Another way to look at it: Does anybody believe FAs would cut corners knowing who’s sitting in their F cabin?

  21. Never In Doubt Guest

    This falls into the “We really don’t know what happened, but AA FAs are a hot button topic, so let’s drive some ENGAGEMENT.” OMAAT category.

  22. rjb Guest

    Based on my experience last week, the exec is probably spot on. In a 5 hour 16 minute smooth as silk flight, the F/A's were only able to squeeze in one beverage service before retreating to the galley for the rest of the flight. AA wants to be Spirit, they should charge like Spirit.

  23. Brandote Guest

    Might the FA be lying? Yes. Might AA management be a collective gaggle of jerks with zero strategy other than to run every single flight through DFW? Also, yes. Two things can be true at the same time. I’m no fan of AA FAs. But it’s also very likely that this guy and everyone else in AA management is a clown.

    1. Bob Guest

      I think it's pretty easy to prove. For one, if there was no service passengers would fall over themselves to complain to the airline. Second, there would be no used cups, wrappers etc. Parts of the plane are monitored so you can see some of the activities. The captain would know unless you believe the pilots are involved in a elaborate conspiracy to get rid of the guy. People off their meds or have early dementia does and says crazy nonsense.

  24. Mantis Gold

    Can you imagine being a junior employee at a company, being called out by an exec while on the job, and instead of being apologetic and embarrassed, having the gall to accuse the exec of lying? Wtf is this circus of a company? The inmates are truly running the asylum. Lock out this union and get your company back.

    1. A220HubandSpoke Member

      Perfect way to describe AAs soft product.

      The FAs destroyed the old (pre-merger) legacy American and now they want to do it again.

      Truly no shame

  25. George Romey Guest

    Why would this executive lie about this? He would have everything to lose if caught. Maybe there's a different story here. And yes there are a small number of flight attendants that will do anything to get out of work. A few months back on a PHX/MIA flight while seated in coach the FAs made an announcement they could only do a water service because of turbulence awhile the seatbelt sign WAS OFF. When someone...

    Why would this executive lie about this? He would have everything to lose if caught. Maybe there's a different story here. And yes there are a small number of flight attendants that will do anything to get out of work. A few months back on a PHX/MIA flight while seated in coach the FAs made an announcement they could only do a water service because of turbulence awhile the seatbelt sign WAS OFF. When someone complained the FAS claims that even doing a water service was "very dangerous for us."

  26. digital_notmad Diamond

    The really striking thing, IMHO, is that there's a reason why *even if this happened exactly as the crew claims* no one believes them at all. That should be cause for reflection.

  27. Pacific traveler Guest

    On Wednesday's flight from SYD-LAX, the flight attendants who all were very senior did the bare minimum. Hours would go by without seeing one, and once when I searched for one, I found them on their phones..

    1. D3kingg Guest

      @Pacific Traveler

      Im flying SYD-LAX next week as well. Hit the call button if you need something in J on a long haul flight. And I report FAs all the time on international flights . Instead of eating noodles at 4AM for Instagram in an exotic place they should be at their hotel resting during stopovers so they can be ready to work the turnaround flight.

    2. Pudu Guest

      I assume you go out of your way to report employees who aren’t white men based on the deranged bigotry evident in many of your posts here. You should just stay home seeing as you’re so triggered by the mere existence of people different from yourself.

    3. Flyer1 Guest

      Dripping with jealousy. Not a good look on you.

    4. Flyer1 Guest

      And my above comment was meant for D3kingg.

    5. Albert Guest

      That's a good reason for not having Wifi on 'planes!

  28. Super Diamond

    The crew's response reads exactly like Ben's experience with the bad Oman Air flight. Delusional FA caught red-handed tries to blame everything else and make you feel guilty for even suggesting they did something wrong.

  29. Tim Dunn Diamond

    The facts of this specific flight don't even matter and is possible the whole complaint was fabricated to drive an larger wedge between the FAs and the company.
    The real issue is that labor relations at AA are so broken that no contract is going to be able to return AA to an acceptable level of in-flight service.
    AA mgmt very well might be moving toward breaking the union and starting all over.

    1. JustinDev Member

      So why did management employee relations reach such a state. I simply do not understand how some companies operate.

  30. D3kingg Guest

    The FAs should start doing their jobs and stop fantasizing about pipe dreams of big raises and profit sharing. Profits are for shareholders who have invested and lent money to American. FAs do not own a stake in the company.

    1. Flyer1 Guest

      And this is why you are a troll. Have you looked at my portfolio lately? I think not.

    2. JustinDev Member

      Is this comment meant to be sarcastic? Surely, you can't be serious.

  31. Steve Guest

    The newer crop of FA's, for the most part, are terrible at service. Most have their heads buried in their smart phones during the flight. The 50+ YO FA's are GREAT! What flying used to be like.

  32. CHRIS Guest

    Do you really think this guy is lying? I don't.

    1. rjb Guest

      Have you been on an AA flight in the last two years?

    2. CHRIS Guest

      Constantly....and I would absolutely trust Brynes over the flight attendant. Inflight "service " on AA is nonexistent....and when it is existent, it's abysmal.

  33. Eskimo Guest

    Gucci shAAmming?

    Can't imagine what other Flagship customer are being called behind the galley.

    Heck, if the SVP of Inflight and Premium (Tim Dunn disagrees) Guest Services is using Gucci products, as a passenger I would believe he resonates to the customer better. I'd take the Gucci guy over a crappy Someone Somewhere any day.

    1. Entitled Executive Guest

      Why would anyone trust a person with a name like Brady Byrnes who probably couldn't manage a McDonalds properly? If he has a problem he should address it, but really as a passenger it would be preferable to see him replaced so someone else takes the job. The experience can't get much worse, and he's not helping. He should bring his own drinks and drink bottles for his kids or open the cans himself like everyone else. What a dweeb.

    2. red_robbo Gold

      Ah, so now you have to have a "good" name to be trustworthy?
      Wow.

    3. Samo Guest

      I agree that Gucci products aren't a problem per se, but I would be very hesitant to put my trust into someone who thinks the shoes on the pic are a good idea to wear, irrespective of brand that made them. Lack of taste can be surprisingly useful to read a person.

  34. Hans Guest

    The flight attendants are playing right into American(UsAir) hand. After the election the NMB will release the FA’s to strike shutting down the airline. American(UsAir) will take advantage of the strike by filing for bankruptcy thus lowering their debt. As well as cleaning up their balance sheet, they will replace as many of the FA’s as possible. Right out of the UsAir playbook.

  35. René Guest

    No matter how bad the turbulence I am sure the crew always made time to:
    1) Mention the great Barclays AA offer pre-departure
    2) Pitch the poor offer and lie what you can get for a long time
    3) At landing mention again to take lots of the offer home to friends and family

    Having just flown 4 legs in AA 1st I can say AA is so bad from FAs to food to seats.

    1. Bob Guest

      And you think they get a bonus for hocking the product? You think they came up with this task for themselves? Sure.

  36. Michael Guest

    Honestly after you’ve been flying business class in Europe EVERY service in the US is just shit. Don’t worry

    1. Thomas Guest

      I disagree with you about business class in Europe. Every flight I’ve taken in Business was just a coach seat with the middle seat blocked, so you have no one sitting next to you. And when I’m flying in Europe, I do not eat or drink other than maybe a coffee, because I’m usually on my way to my next destination where I’ve already booked my dinner restaurant.

    2. Bob Guest

      Yeah I don't think so. Short haul business on ba, air France, klm, sas are nearly as bad as aa, ual and delta. Though I will say you get more food on the European airlines and Europe has better flyer rights. But don't make it sound like it's a dream experience. It is not.

    3. Albert Guest

      Short-haul business:
      Hard Product: vastly better in US
      Soft Product: usually much better in Europe.

  37. AA FA Guest

    Under Brady’s leadership, punishment has become the standard practice. There is no longer any relationship between crew members and their individual manager. There is no grace. There is no opportunity for crew to explain themselves. His administration has taken all of the humanity out of our profession. Based on every interaction I’ve had, I wholeheartedly believe the crew here. I’ll dance on his proverbial grave the day he gets fired.

    1. Antwerp Guest

      The other narrative is that you are all lazy, entitled, and looking to do as little as possible for absurdly high salaries. And he is just trying to restore sanity into the service aspect that was long ago thrown out by clog wearing Union militants who barricade galleys with seatbelts.

      As my late father used to say, “Perspective depends on whether you’re buying or selling.”

    2. AAnon Guest

      “Absurdly high salaries”… new hire flight attendants qualify for food stamps in many states, as their starting salary is about 26,000 a year working full time and don’t recieve any “substantial” raises until 5 years into service. Service levels and staffing have been gutted by the company to the bare-minimum and cheapest crAAp quality products and catering providers possible in most cases. The company doesn’t care about any kind of premium offerings and wants to...

      “Absurdly high salaries”… new hire flight attendants qualify for food stamps in many states, as their starting salary is about 26,000 a year working full time and don’t recieve any “substantial” raises until 5 years into service. Service levels and staffing have been gutted by the company to the bare-minimum and cheapest crAAp quality products and catering providers possible in most cases. The company doesn’t care about any kind of premium offerings and wants to compete with Spirit and Frontier, so why not expect that level of service??

    3. A220HubandSpoke Member

      And who fought for that senioriy based pay system? APFA!

    4. Chris Guest

      As someone who flies with a lot of different airlines all around the world, I can absolutely assure you that - on average - AA flight attendants are among the laziest and least engaging bunch on the planet. The best thing AA could do would be to send their crew to experience training at Cathay, Qatar, Emirates or even one of the European majors (or even probably Delta….), and perhaps they might then gain a...

      As someone who flies with a lot of different airlines all around the world, I can absolutely assure you that - on average - AA flight attendants are among the laziest and least engaging bunch on the planet. The best thing AA could do would be to send their crew to experience training at Cathay, Qatar, Emirates or even one of the European majors (or even probably Delta….), and perhaps they might then gain a bit of a sense of perspective. As things stand, the degree of entitlement they are displaying is extraordinary, and it’s damaging the airline because the people who are suffering are passengers. You know, the people who actually pay money to be provided with a service…

      Last week, I got off a Singapore Airlines flight at JFK and then took AA to DFW. Being greeted by a scruffy looking FA wearing a “WAR” lanyard was - to put it mildly - a bit of a shock to the system after a Singapore Airlines flight!

    5. Tim Dunn Diamond

      Asian airlines are capable of using the "do your job or your fired" line and it works because FAs are well paid.
      Unionized US airlines can't use that line because so few FAs are fired.

      Given that US airlines are increasingly using profit sharing as an incentive for employees to embrace what the company wants but AA - and now WN - sits well below DL and even UA in profits - the problem...

      Asian airlines are capable of using the "do your job or your fired" line and it works because FAs are well paid.
      Unionized US airlines can't use that line because so few FAs are fired.

      Given that US airlines are increasingly using profit sharing as an incentive for employees to embrace what the company wants but AA - and now WN - sits well below DL and even UA in profits - the problem is that there are no incentives which AA can use to get AA FAs to do their job.
      At some point, the company has to just toss the whole status quo out the window and start all over.

    6. Mantis Gold

      You're unskilled labor, not a profession. Be grateful for getting above minimum wage and free flights, and get over yourself.

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

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rjb Guest

Based on my experience last week, the exec is probably spot on. In a 5 hour 16 minute smooth as silk flight, the F/A's were only able to squeeze in one beverage service before retreating to the galley for the rest of the flight. AA wants to be Spirit, they should charge like Spirit.

9
Pacific traveler Guest

On Wednesday's flight from SYD-LAX, the flight attendants who all were very senior did the bare minimum. Hours would go by without seeing one, and once when I searched for one, I found them on their phones..

7
George Romey Guest

Why would this executive lie about this? He would have everything to lose if caught. Maybe there's a different story here. And yes there are a small number of flight attendants that will do anything to get out of work. A few months back on a PHX/MIA flight while seated in coach the FAs made an announcement they could only do a water service because of turbulence awhile the seatbelt sign WAS OFF. When someone complained the FAS claims that even doing a water service was "very dangerous for us."

6
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