Racist American Airlines Prank Call? (Mystery Solved)

Racist American Airlines Prank Call? (Mystery Solved)

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There’s an interesting update regarding the racist phone call that an American Airlines customer claims to have received from the airline.

Alleged call from American Airlines employee

Two videos have been posted to social media, and it’s claimed that they’re calls that were received from two American Airlines employees. Here’s the customer’s version of what happened:

  • The customer (an Asian man, which I mention given the racism involved here) was supposed to fly with American Airlines from New York to Orange County on August 18, 2021; he was booked on AA676, scheduled to depart at 4:30PM
  • He checked in at the airport kiosks on time, per the check-in cutoff guidance published on American Airlines’ website; the picture he posted on Twitter suggests he checked in at 3:45PM, exactly 45 minutes before departure, which is the cutoff (he was cutting it close)
  • He claims to have been denied boarding and that his seats were given away; in reality it appears the issue was that he couldn’t check-in at the kiosk exactly at the 45 minute mark, and then by the time he could get help from an agent, it was within 45 minutes of departure
  • Two days later, and after two unsuccessful standby attempts and one canceled flight, JetBlue “saved” him from being stranded
  • Since getting home, he has been seeking a response, but the airline “stopped responding” (it’s my understanding that the airline has now reached out to him)
  • Then at 12:44PM PT on August 21, 2021, he received a “shocking phone call” from two people who claimed to be American Airlines employees

Whether or not the passenger was “denied” boarding or his seats were given away is something I’m not sure of. He obviously cut it very close, and it’s anyone’s guess who was in the right here. But that’s also not the key part of this story.

Rather what’s noteworthy is the phone call that has been posted to social media, allegedly from two American Airlines employees. First of all, the audio is not at all suitable for work or children, so listen at your own discretion.

Among other things, one of the people on the phone call says:

  • “You moron, you stupid f*cking pig, you idiot, you crackhead, you dipsh*t, you wanker, you loser, you twat”
  • “You stupid rice eating c*nt”
  • “No wonder you’re named after a d*ck, I should just call you d*ckhead” (his last name is Wang)

I don’t think I need to keep going, because the whole thing is horrifying. The language is so bad I won’t even embed the audio, but you can listen to the first part of the call here, and listen to the second part of the call here, should you want to (again, use your discretion).

What really happened here?

Suffice to say that if this were real, it would be so beyond horrifying, and the worst way I’ve ever heard an airline employee act. This also made me instantly skeptical, since I’ve never heard of any story of anyone on a recorded line being this blatantly racist towards a customer. Ever. In any line of business.

Listening to the call, a few things immediately stood out:

  • Calls are generally recorded, so an airline employee would almost certainly not act this out of line
  • It’s strange how there seem to be two people on the call, which doesn’t happen often
  • While the caller ID shows American Airlines’ number, that could easily be modified, and for that matter I’m not sure outbound calls from American Airlines show as that number
  • While there are some call center agents with British accents, the combination of the one person having a British accent, and the other person having a fake-sounding Texas accent makes me suspicious

An American Airlines spokesperson states that the airline has launched an investigation to better understand what happened, and to determine the authenticity of the calls received. What I’ve heard suggests that the phone number on which the man was called wasn’t even in the reservation. To me, everything pointed towards this being a prank call.

And that brings us to an observation from a reader, who points out that the voice in the video sounds mighty similar to this JetBlue prank call posted on YouTube, which took place several weeks ago:

The circumstances are very similar — the guy claims to be from corporate, and he was calling in regards to a Tweet someone posted towards an airline.

The person behind this seems to be someone from “The Macron Show,” which doesn’t actually seem to be anything legitimate (and I won’t even link to it, because he doesn’t deserve the traffic). If the guy actually did this, his actions are deplorable. It’s one thing to make a good-natured(ish) prank call, while it’s a completely different thing to go on a racist tirade that’s really just hate speech.

Now, we still don’t know how the guy got the passenger’s number. Clearly he was made aware of this through Twitter, just as he was with his JetBlue prank. Perhaps he could find the man’s number on Google. However, since this wasn’t even the number on file in the American Airlines reservation, I don’t think this can in any way be pinned on American Airlines.

I feel awful for the racism that this passenger endured. Nobody should have to be treated this way. In light of these latest findings, I do think it’s probably time for the customer to give the airline the benefit of the doubt, and stop Retweeting every single negative Tweet about American Airlines (hundreds have been posted in the past few days), accusing the airline of everything from giving people coronavirus, to losing bags. American often isn’t a great airline, but in this particular incident it doesn’t appear the airline can be blamed for the racist phone call.

Bottom line

Someone took to social media to share a horrible, racist phone call that they received from a number that’s made to look like American Airlines. The audio is beyond disgusting.

American Airlines has been getting a lot of backlash for this, and has been called out for being racist. However, everything points to this being a prank call from someone who also recently did a prank call claiming to be from JetBlue corporate.

It’s one thing to make a good-natured prank call, but this is crossing the line, to put it mildly. Assuming this audio is from the person who I think is behind it, he should be called out for this. I’m not sure the practicality of this, but I think American should try to pursue legal action against the guy, given that he claimed to be from the airline.

What do you make of this situation? Do you think the two prank calls are from the same person?

(Tip of the hat to @jae6478)

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  1. krloach

    I left a pubilc complaint about AA with my name attached. My phone number is pretty easy to find. As soon I heard the voice of the caller I recognized it. The same guy called me pretending to be from AA. He spoofed AA number and therefore I thought it was legitimate. He was nowhere near as vile to me as he was to you however he did use profanity which arose suspicion. I contacted...

    I left a pubilc complaint about AA with my name attached. My phone number is pretty easy to find. As soon I heard the voice of the caller I recognized it. The same guy called me pretending to be from AA. He spoofed AA number and therefore I thought it was legitimate. He was nowhere near as vile to me as he was to you however he did use profanity which arose suspicion. I contacted AA and after some investigation they confirmed it was a spoof. There isnt anything they can do. The same guy called me Aug 19.

  2. Bill

    What's the point of this article? Come here for travel info not Jerry springer content.

  3. PDS

    Wanker, dickhead etc. are very British slang swearing terms not used ordinarily in the US. Combined with the accent, very likely not a AA employee…

  4. ChrisC

    So it wasn't a call from AA yet the headline still mentions AA and only a 'mystery solved'

    Ben you are better than this cheap and nasty click bait headline.

  5. MRL

    "other race" - the point here is that it was fake and clearly so...yes, I agree if it were someone "B" we would have fallen all over ourselves to condemn AA without any actual verified evidence, but rest assured, their overplayed hand on calling everything racism will soon lead to eye-rolls and the realization of the general public that except in pockets where you would expect (think small towns in Alabama) racism is hardly an...

    "other race" - the point here is that it was fake and clearly so...yes, I agree if it were someone "B" we would have fallen all over ourselves to condemn AA without any actual verified evidence, but rest assured, their overplayed hand on calling everything racism will soon lead to eye-rolls and the realization of the general public that except in pockets where you would expect (think small towns in Alabama) racism is hardly an issue in the US - especially compared to the rest of the world.

    All that said, the real annoying thing here is that we still get reports on these stories without any proof of their accuracy. Remember the day when no self respecting news organization would publish without vetting and verifying every aspect? We seem to just immediately trust a random person who has no accountability and who nobody knows. This story never should have made it to 'print' anywhere! When are sites going to learn that almost every time we get one of these "passenger claims" posts within a few days it is retracted? They are not worth posting at all. Let's stick to things that are relevant to travel.

  6. SMR

    When Lucky started out, it was just trip reports and rich content. Now that he has been so successful (and he is very ) he can take advantage of the click bait process...awful to see. This is pure click bait.

  7. Morgan

    Get the police onto this, its deplorable

  8. Alex Conway

    Frankly it's the British accent and the word "Wanker" that does it for me. That word is not often used in American English. Therefore, this MUST be a prank. No other explanation.

  9. D3kingg

    Man shows up late for his flight therefore it is racism. Blame the victim. 45 minutes for a transcon is late in my opinion. Seats are given out to standby passengers 60 minutes before departure.
    Americans are stranded in Afghanistan therefore some Americans don’t want to leave. Blame the victim.

  10. Widerightv

    Check one of the morning shows on FM radio. Someone just got punked with a fake telephone call.
    Good thing that he wasn't stranded in Afghanistan. Neither Biden or Blinken have a clue on how to save a stranded American.
    Lucky, will you ever learn to vet these stories before you publish them?

  11. Aussie

    Good to see Jussie Smollett Wang now identifies as an Asian.

  12. AA WAS Right

    It seems that the guy who posted the original video tried to check-in at 3:45:xx PM. The cut-off time is 3:44:59 PM, 45min before the departure time of 4:30:00PM. Now I do understand why the AA CS said 'scammer, you were late', although any type of racism cannot be justified.

  13. Claudia Davis

    There is absolutely NO way these two calls are real.

    What’s more, why post this if there is no response from AA? Of course AA will deny it though. No one here can prove otherwise anyway.

  14. Brad

    I was a concierge agent for Amex VIP for years, and I can tell you that in a call center, EVERY call is recorded. Every key stroke is recorded. I also noted the accents and as someone who speaks 4 languages fluently...USA based speakers and fake accents.
    And Lucky, I get why you fly AA, MIA Hub. I fly from TPA and avoid that horrible airline like yje plague...

  15. Icarus

    Sounds 100% fake. Sadly people will believe anything if it’s online. You can’t id someone’s nationality from the accent, however “ wa—er” is a very British word. AA did have a Call Center in Dublin although it’s a third party and not their staff.

  16. Joseph

    He must be executive platinum.

  17. Eskimo

    Jussie Smollett got away doesn't mean you can get away.

  18. stogieguy7

    There has to be more to this. Either it was some sort of racist vendetta from an AA employee whom this customer may have treated badly out of frustration or.... it's fake.

  19. Reno Joe

    The customer might well have checked in on time. BUT, if the customer did not board at least 15 minutes prior to the flight, the customer's seat would be released. This is the rule. And, my sense is that this guy attempted to board after the cut-off and after his seat was released. If this is in fact the case, that's his fault. I can't imagine any other situation that a customer with a boarding...

    The customer might well have checked in on time. BUT, if the customer did not board at least 15 minutes prior to the flight, the customer's seat would be released. This is the rule. And, my sense is that this guy attempted to board after the cut-off and after his seat was released. If this is in fact the case, that's his fault. I can't imagine any other situation that a customer with a boarding pass who is at the gate on time would be denied boarding.

    As for the inbound calls to his phone, it sounds staged. Who in a call center would even be aware of the gate incident? On any given day, there's probably hundreds of gate-released seats. When does any call center person have the time to make such a call. And, the airline would have a record of the call.

    It would be quite sad if this was a spiteful stunt aimed at getting money out of the airline for something that was in all likelihood the customer's fault.

    Best not to have given this guy any mileage with an article. Best to stick to points and review. Forego the jerk customer stories.

    1. Read

      You really need to learn to read. The post has all the info.

      1)This person made complaints to AA over gate situation, and AA called him back. Hence, it can't be a prank call. The person from AA knows this alleged incident. I've received plenty of calls from Airline CS myself from confirming reservations, delayed reservations, and more.

      2)The customer insists he was on time. Says he has proof and CCTV can back it up....

      You really need to learn to read. The post has all the info.

      1)This person made complaints to AA over gate situation, and AA called him back. Hence, it can't be a prank call. The person from AA knows this alleged incident. I've received plenty of calls from Airline CS myself from confirming reservations, delayed reservations, and more.

      2)The customer insists he was on time. Says he has proof and CCTV can back it up. Hence, making a claim that it was bad on AA's part.

      3)If anything, this could be a prank call. This person is unlikely to make huge ass of himself with his photos/identities up on the internet. He opens up to lawsuits from AA if this is false.

  20. Tom

    How on earth can you actually give this airtime? That makes you as bad as the person who said these horrible things. Feels like just another opportunity for you to bash American.

    1. Realize

      Why is this a bad thing? Americans need to realize that hate crimes against Asians exist, even more so than towards other races. Just because Asian Amercians(and Asians) have high education, work hard, and relatively keep to themselves, it doesn't mean that they can't complain about these idiotic incidents. There are more colors than just white and black in America. If a company does shit-like events in society(think United), it is justified.

  21. kay_elemeno

    I think you should have waited for a response from AA. If this is fake, you're giving unnecessary attention to an internet troll and, honestly, it would be unfair to AA (who does often deserve heat for *actual* misdeeds).

  22. Chris

    One explanation could be that the callers actually are AA employees, but they are making the calls from a non-work telephone (with faked caller ID).

  23. Snoozed

    @Henry J & @Never In Doubt,

    Stop reading the blog if it's such a waste of your time.

    1. Never In Doubt

      Who said it wasn’t worth my time?

      Ben asked a question. I gave an answer.

  24. If the subject was the other race

    Imagine if the subject was black person. The media would've gone nuts. The double standard imposed in the society is just beyond my comprehension.

    So many Asian hate crimes are overlooked by the media. People simply do not care about the Asians.

    1. Ben Schlappig

      @ If the subject was the other race -- There's no doubt Asians also face a lot of discrimination. I can't speak for others, but I don't think there's a double standard here on my end. If the equivalent racism would be happening to a Black person, I'd also think that something fishy is going on. You just don't ever hear stories like this from people working on a recorded line.

    2. Yup

      I totally agree. I still agree with some of the comments that we should wait for more information and confirmation from AA, but this would have gone beyond of controls if the passenger was black and made headlines every media.

    3. MAD

      It’s interesting how several ‘Asian’ people on here have resorted to blaming Black people for the supposed lack of reporting of hate crimes against Asians.
      Black people don’t own or control the major media outlets in the US. So perhaps your anger should be redirected towards the other, other race!

    4. rofl nuff said

      Rofl. No one is blaming black people for this or any hate crimes here. They are merely pointing out how people act differently based on the color of the victim. Just the fact you feel like this was blame on backs explains a lot.

    5. Joke

      Lol, look at the comments saying this is fake, prank, client's fault. This is the society that we live in. My guess is that they don't understand the hate crimes toward Asians.

      If the subject was a black person, those comments wouldn't even exist whether this is fake or not. Liberal media like NYT and Washington Post would be posting this all day long for a month.

  25. Ben L.

    "I have a hard time imagining the traveler would fake this and essentially set up a hate crime against himself, especially since he has shared this with real life friends and colleagues; if this was faked, American will be able to figure it out pretty quickly, and on top of that, who would subject themselves to this kind of harassment?"

    Back in 2008, Ashley Todd carved a letter B on her own face, then told...

    "I have a hard time imagining the traveler would fake this and essentially set up a hate crime against himself, especially since he has shared this with real life friends and colleagues; if this was faked, American will be able to figure it out pretty quickly, and on top of that, who would subject themselves to this kind of harassment?"

    Back in 2008, Ashley Todd carved a letter B on her own face, then told the media a Black man had done it to her after he saw a McCain bumper sticker on her car.

    1. Ben Schlappig

      @ Ben L. -- I'm not saying it doesn't happen (the case you cite isn't the only one either, there are a couple of others I can think of), but it's extremely rare. There are exponentially more "real" hate crimes than "faked" ones, so I think it's at least worth giving the traveler the benefit of the doubt on that. I think it's much more likely that the "faking" was happening on the other end, with the person calling.

    2. Ben L.

      I think you and I are in agreement that the probability of this being a genuine AA call is much lower than the probability of it being either a malicious prank or a self setup. There are just so many bizarre elements to this one that I think the self setup seems the more likely of the two. I say this in full agreement of the fact that the vast majority of reported hate and bias incidents are genuine, and that there are even more that are never reported.

    3. Widerightv

      You cannot prove that EXPONENTIALLY MORE "REAL" HATE CRIMES THAN "FAKED" ONES...
      Show me that data. That is a statement that cannot be backed up. Exponentially or otherwise.

    4. tda

      Tens of thousands of reported hate crimes in the US each year, only dozens of which are determined to be false (these things are generally investigated, you know). Unless law enforcement is completely and utterly incompetent, Lucky's statement is almost certainly true.

      For some data, and the perspective of one person who things hate crime hoaxes are more common:
      https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/are-hate-crime-hoaxes-on-the-rise-along-with-real-hate-crimes/2019/12/05/de339302-0a44-11ea-97ac-a7ccc8dd1ebc_story.html

      Tens of thousands of reported hate crimes in the US each year, only dozens of which are determined to be false (these things are generally investigated, you know). Unless law enforcement is completely and utterly incompetent, Lucky's statement is almost certainly true.

      For some data, and the perspective of one person who things hate crime hoaxes are more common:
      https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/are-hate-crime-hoaxes-on-the-rise-along-with-real-hate-crimes/2019/12/05/de339302-0a44-11ea-97ac-a7ccc8dd1ebc_story.html

    5. Ben L.

      Credit where credit is due, Ben. You called this one exactly right. Thanks for updating the post. What a bizarre and hateful attack.

  26. Dublin

    Come on really? This is really stupid clearly not real and certainly was not worth an article

  27. Shawn

    I bash AA as much as anyone but there is no way, none, that this is legit. From a diversity perspective AA has a great culture. Just absolutely no way someone would call him and start hurling insults. I’m sure a few have lost their cool after being screamed out.

    Why would someone post self hate? For their 15 minutes of fame and the hope AA will just throw a million at him to shut him up.

    1. David

      You really think AA will just throw a million at him if he planned this himself? It's more likely AA will throw a lawsuit at him, which is all the more reason I'm inclined to believe he didn't plan this.

    1. You sure?

      How would a prankster know he missed the specific flight and his personal info?

      Or is this another story of the company getting hacked and a hacker obtaining the personal info of clients?

    2. GUWonder

      A technology hack? Way less likely to be relevant to a situation of being pranked liked this than a social "hack".

      Could be easily done: from using info gleaned from social media postings; from the passenger leaving/dropping/showing something at the airport; from an airline employee getting non-airline employees to play along to harass a customer in a way that may give the airline employee plausible deniability about being involved.

      Maybe the subject of the calls...

      A technology hack? Way less likely to be relevant to a situation of being pranked liked this than a social "hack".

      Could be easily done: from using info gleaned from social media postings; from the passenger leaving/dropping/showing something at the airport; from an airline employee getting non-airline employees to play along to harass a customer in a way that may give the airline employee plausible deniability about being involved.

      Maybe the subject of the calls has some bad jokers in his friends and family circle who decided to take him for a bad ride?

  28. MikeL

    I'm with you... This has to be a prank call.. No employee could possibly, not even the worst employee actually do this.

    The 2nd person on the line at the same time is a dead giveaway... I feel I've spent 1/2 of my life on the phone with airlines for one reason or another... And never have 2 agents been on the phone at the same time. Transferred from one to another yes, same time.. Nope... And "a kid with cancer" comment.

    This is HORRIBLE...

    1. Naive?

      Hey, it's Murica after all. All strange things seem to happen whether you believe it or not.

      Remember the Asian male getting dragged like that on United? That would not happen anywhere in the world(and never happened), only here. Why do you think customer center from a mediocre company would be any different?

  29. Henry J

    There was no point in posting this stupid story without a statement from American saying this is all a lie or that they are taking action against an employee. A new low for this blog, certainly.

    1. David

      And if American goes radio silent? Posts like this put public pressure on American to give people an answer.

  30. Never In Doubt

    “ I’m not sure where exactly that leaves us, though:”

    With yet another click bait post?

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Henry J

There was no point in posting this stupid story without a statement from American saying this is all a lie or that they are taking action against an employee. A new low for this blog, certainly.

Never In Doubt

“ I’m not sure where exactly that leaves us, though:” With yet another click bait post?

If the subject was the other race

Imagine if the subject was black person. The media would've gone nuts. The double standard imposed in the society is just beyond my comprehension. So many Asian hate crimes are overlooked by the media. People simply do not care about the Asians.

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