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American Airlines

First Class Passenger Removed From Flight for Smuggling Drinks

First Class Passenger Removed From Flight for Smuggling Drinks
Jennifer Billock

American Airlines kicked a first-class passenger off a flight recently for trying to sneak drinks back to his friends seated in economy—after several attempts of sneaking past flight attendants and lying to them in order to break the rules on the sly.

Over the weekend, a first-class passenger with an entitled streak got kicked off an American Airlines flight for trying to get some drinks to his friends in economy. Katie Genter, a writer for The Points Guy, was in first class on the same flight and detailed the experience.

Apparently the trouble started when the man first boarded the plane; he was in the first class line with two friends – the economy passengers – who had too many carry-ons. Not only did he insist the economy passengers board with him, but he also bullied the gate agents into letting them bring on their excess baggage.

After they boarded the plane, the first-class passenger was offered a welcome drink. He had his and then ordered two more, and when the flight attendant objected that he can only order one at a time, he ordered one for him and one for the stranger next to him – who didn’t even want the drink.

Then the man took both drinks and headed back to economy to try to get them to his friends. A flight attendant stopped him, saying that he and the drinks had to stay in first class. He told the attendant he was going to the bathroom, and the attendant pointed him to the first class lavatory.

Not to be defeated, the man returned to his seat and texted his friends to come up to the bathroom and meet him. But again, the flight attendant stopped the group. Shortly after, an airline representative had the man removed from the flight.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

View Comments (14)


  1. nearlysober

    May 16, 2018 at 3:52 pm

    I’m guessing, by the description, that this guy and his friends were just being jerks in general. If he had been friendly & charming, he probably could’ve talked his way into getting free drinks either sent do his friends, or served to them. If you’re having a good time with the staff, not having a good time at their expense, they’re more inclined to help.

    I once gave my first class seat to a friend who had never sat in 1st before, I took his seat in coach. When the attendant called him by my name, he told her what had happened and asked if he could send a drink back to me. She put it in a coffee cup with the lid on, but she sent it to me 🙂

  2. vsevolod4


    May 17, 2018 at 4:08 am

    Agree with nearlysober … while I can understand what this guy was trying to do, you should cooperate with engage the crew, and not try to thwart them. He got his comeuppance.

  3. Marathon Man

    May 17, 2018 at 4:35 am

    I rarely drink anything anymore except really good IPAs and stouts from breweries where beer snobs hang out and rate stuff so this would never have happened to me because you cannot bring full beers onto a plane and no plane serves them. (Treehouse, Hill Farmstead, Trillium Alchemist, Monkish, Modern Times, etc)

  4. giniemae

    May 17, 2018 at 5:50 am

    I fully support the airline on this one, the passenger was running a scam plain and simple. And I say this after being grumpy because the TSA agent made me throw out my tube of toothpaste. For years I have traveled with a mostly empty large tube of toothpaste, well under 3.4 ounces. They never hassled me, yesterday they made me throw it out. Twenty five cents worth of toothpaste, just wasted. Burns me up all out of proportion to the loss. I guess I am a bit nuts.

  5. arcticflier

    May 17, 2018 at 6:08 am

    Sounds like he was already drunk.

    I don’t think a FA should allow this behavior since there is zero chance that one of the other Coach Class customers would not see these two friends drinking the alcohol and make complaint.

    Travel is so easy when you follow the rules. Rules which are in place equally to benefit all.

    All of these ‘incidents’ occur when some traveler decides to be a knucklehead and break those rules.

    I am guessing that this first class flier was white since there was no accusation that they were harassed because of their ethnicity?

  6. MimiB22

    May 17, 2018 at 6:33 am

    These days, you can’t change seats, even if a generous friend tries to make it happen. It’s partly security, partly arseholeness by airlines. As for sending drinks to the back, it might happen during a flight, maybe, discretely, but this guy in the story was doing it prior to take off. Bad, boorish form.

  7. jimaleg

    May 17, 2018 at 7:15 am

    Very stupid to order multiple drinks before take off then piss off flight attendants prior to takeoff…..He probably could have got them each a drink over the flight if he played it cool…..serves him right. I wonder if he lost his ticket? I assume he got kicked off for being disruptive and usually the airlines don’t cover. Opinions?

  8. drazin

    May 17, 2018 at 10:24 am

    Associating with commoners in economy?! The horror! He should be banned until he completes cotillion.

  9. TheBarron

    May 17, 2018 at 11:12 am

    Right on!
    What a jerk to cheat the system.He should have just slipped his friend some cash for a few drinks. Gimme a break!

  10. donaldsc

    May 17, 2018 at 11:15 am

    They should have also kicked off his friends for going along w his boarding scan and boorishness.

  11. Berniecfc

    May 17, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    The passenger must have really been over the top. Doug Parker and his Management team have done a great job in developing a “Who Cares” culture within American I \’m surprised an employee took the trouble to worry about it. And yes mixing with the Great Unwashed in the back is a crime in it’s self.

  12. jetsfan92588

    May 18, 2018 at 8:44 am

    Going to go against the consensus here. First, the passenger does sound like a [insert your word choice here]. Second, the passenger sounds like a moron for not waiting until the doors closed if he wanted to really get a couple drinks to the passengers in coach. Third, it sounds like the passenger was trying to show his friends how cool he was – “I can do whatever I want.”

    Many of the things he did – bringing his friends into the FC boarding lane – I’ve done this with my wife and never experienced any issues. I haven’t even thought twice about not doing it. Possible that makes be a bad passenger. Not sure why this should contribute to his being kicked off. And “bullied” the GA into letting them? I’ve never seen a GA submit to a “bully” so I don’t really buy that.

    However, kicking someone off of a flight is a big deal. I’m worried about the precedent. But it all depends on the facts and the interactions with the crew. Just doing what is described above doesn’t really seem to me to necessitate removal from the aircraft.

  13. eng3

    May 18, 2018 at 9:33 am

    While the passenger was a jerk should not have been behaving this way, who really cares. Let’s take a step back and look at what is really gained from the FA withholding a drink or kicking him off the flight. AA Pros: Cost of two extra drinks (wait, the FA actually made the extra drinks and threw them away, so no Pros. AA Cons: Potential loss of a premium customer forever, Added workload for FA to block him and his friends and call the GA, Cost of flying an empty seat, Cost of having to accommodate him on another flight, Potential customer service voucher depending on his status level and how much the agent is paying attention, Potential delays/missed connections of all the other passengers. Now I dont know the details, maybe he was already drunk, who knows, but just based on the story, if the FA just let the jerk give his friends two drinks, the flight would have proceeded normally and you would have had 3+ happy customers.

  14. kbelyeu

    May 25, 2018 at 5:01 am

    This sounds like a bunch of adults acting like children, good on the airline for kicking him off!

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