American Airlines passenger: Pilot took his girlfriend’s first class seat

An American Airlines plane. Nik Oiko/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

  • An American Airlines passenger claims his girlfriend was kicked out of her first class seat.
  • In an X post, the man wrote that the crew initially said his girlfriend’s seat was broken.
  • He added that a pilot was sitting in first class instead.

An American Airlines passenger claims his girlfriend was fired from her first class seat so a pilot could sit there instead.

In a contribution to X On Tuesday, passenger Jake Williams wrote that a gate agent had upgraded the couple to first class. The couple were then told the friend’s seat was broken and she had to move “to the back”.

Then, the passenger says, a pilot took her place.

“You all are terrible,” the man’s post read. “They (gate agent) promoted my girlfriend and I to first class. They throw her out because the broken seat puts her backwards. Then the pilot sits in the broken seat.”

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The video shows a man wearing what appears to be a pilot’s uniform settling into the seat. It is unclear what day the flight took place, where it took off or where it landed.

American Airlines and Williams did not respond to a request for comment outside of regular business hours. However, a customer service representative commented on Williams’ post on Tuesday and asked for a “closer look” into his claim.

Sometimes off-duty pilots sit among other passengers because they are “deadheading,” or are paid to fly to another location for work but are not actively working.

Industry publication View from the Wing reported in August that other airlines’ employees typically sit in economy class while they fly, while American Airlines pilots get first class priority thanks to a new union contract.

Pilots in front of an American Airlines plane. Mike Stone/Portal

According to the blog, American Airlines’ canceled pilots are given priority over passengers for upgrades. The idea is that the larger, more comfortable first class seats will help pilots get better rest before operating a passenger aircraft.

Williams’ situation is not the first time this year that a passenger has been kicked out of first class so a pilot can take his place. In September, a 78-year-old man was demoted to make room for an off-duty pilot.

The man was flying with Qantas and was moved to economy class because there were no seats available in business class.

“As part of its corporate agreement, pilots flying to another city to operate flights there are expected to receive a seat in the business section,” the airline said in a statement to Insider at the time.

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Originally posted 2023-11-11 21:24:22.