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Advice: Kicked Out of First Class Seat By a “Celebrity”

Advice: Kicked Out of First Class Seat By a “Celebrity”
Jeff Edwards

A Flyertalk member who gifted a first-class transatlantic British Airways ticket as a birthday present for their 81-year-old father is at a loss for recourse after a “celebrity” on the flight ordered the octogenarian out of his rightfully assigned seat – allegedly with the tacit approval of cabin crew members.

Flyertalker Killian_S describes the circumstances of a recent transatlantic British Airways flight as equal parts “sad and anger-inducing.” In a post seeking guidance from British Airways frequent flyers, the dejected customer explained his plight after purchasing a first class ticket as a birthday gift for the user’s globe-trotting 81-year-old father, only to learn the elderly parent had been bullied out of his seat by a minor celebrity.

“He was seated in 1A on the 744. He doesn’t travel that often now because of age, and very rarely in [first class], so this was one of those occasions where he was truly excited about his trip,” the Flyertalker near his wits’ end wrote. “Anyhow, upon boarding the aircraft and then nicely settled, he was approached by another passenger: ‘Excuse me, I always sit in this seat when I fly, 1A, so kindly take my original seat (5E). You should know that I’m an important customer for BA, with all respect, likely much more than you. Therefore, please could you move.’ He then called a cabin crew member to ‘kindly escort’ my dad to 5E. The cabin crew lady first checked the boarding passes and said that his seat was 5E, what’s he doing here, but he repeated the line and to my surprise, the cabin crew member then did as asked. Dad then complained to the cabin manager, but was met with indifference from that lady. To not cause a fuss (and of course age being an issue), he moved to 5E.”

The unidentified premium cabin oppressor is described as a “political celebrity” often featured as a panelist on British news programs. The advice-seeking poster chose not to reveal the boorish celeb by name out of fear of legal repercussions.

“Worth complaining to BA, or wasting my time?” the despairing poster wrote. “I think the latter but wanted to check to see if anything could be done. Still can’t believe that in this day and age this sort of behavior is tolerated.”

As requested, elite British Airways Executive Club members on Flyertalk weighed in on the bizarre episode. Many of the forum posts equally faulted all parties involved. While it was generally agreed that the entitled television star and flight attendants involved acted inappropriately, the fact that the mild-mannered passenger voluntarily agreed to relocate, completely negates any responsibility on the airline’s part.

“No, your relative should not have moved, and in a way, it makes it worse when he acquiesces like this,” corporate-wage-slave offered in response. “He shouldn’t have been asked, and the crew should not have gone along with it, but as you can see for yourself it was the path that actually gave the least resistance. If he really was of big net worth to BA, then BA would have resolved this well before your father boarded. ‘Not cause a fuss’ tends to do exactly that, and complaining afterward is too late.”

It is perhaps noting the television pundit and minor celebrity Piers Morgan once took to Twitter to brag that he was assigned the coveted Seat 1A on a flight in which actual movie star Brad Pitt was assigned seat 6F. Morgan presented the arrangement as proof he is a bigger deal than Pitt.

“So Brad Pitt got on my @British_Airways plane to London,” Morgan wrote in June 2016. “He’s in seat 6F, I’m in 1A. This settles my celebrity status once and for all.”

When the airline wrote a tongue-in-cheek response to Morgan’s tweet, the onetime CNN host decided the situation was no laughing matter. In fact, he made clear in no uncertain terms that seat 1A was his seat.

“Ooops, It seems like we made a mistake there Piers!” the airline responded. “Any chance you could swap with him?” Morgan replied with a curt “No!” and the carrier was forced to make clear the suggestion was only in jest, writing, “We are only joking, of course, Piers – enjoy the flight!”

It seems it may be entirely possible, according to clues currently available, that the British television presenter may be a serial abuser who thinks he owns a specific seat on a commercial airliner. It is also possible that the original poster, in this case, Killian_S is actually one of Brad Pitt’s children, justifiably concerned about their elderly parent’s mistreatment at the hands of Piers Morgan.

[Image Source: Shutterstock]

View Comments (13)


  1. BF263533

    March 18, 2019 at 9:24 pm

    Was the minor celebrity Piers Morgan?

  2. drvannostren

    March 19, 2019 at 1:22 am

    I just don’t care about seats that much, and while I thought Piers was joking, it almost seems like he wasn’t by the fact that he didn’t seem to get that THEY were joking.

    I would’ve loved to see Brad Pitt buy the damn plane just so he could kick Piers Morgan off.

    As far as the OP in the story goes, it sucks, and honestly I would complain. I thought this was gonna be an upgrade gets downgraded situation, but being on a PAID first ticket means no one should be kicking you out of that seat. If BA wanted to, they would’ve assigned the seat to Mr DYKWIA like the night before. So while the old man did the “polite” thing even when faced with an impolite prick, that doesn’t negate the fault imo. Maybe the complaint goes nowhere, but there’s no harm in writing it, that said IN that complaint the “celeb” MUST be called out by name, otherwise it just seems like a reach to begin with.

  3. tcollins33

    March 19, 2019 at 10:57 am

    Lost in this is that the FA was already going to move him – so it wouldn’t have been a voluntary move. I would complain.

  4. Counsellor

    March 19, 2019 at 12:09 pm

    And according to the facts presented, after the crew member tried to escort him to the other seat, “Dad then complained to the cabin manager, but was met with indifference from that lady.” so rather than cause a fuss he moved. I see his complaint as indicating this was not a “voluntary” move to 5-E.

  5. amanx

    March 19, 2019 at 3:06 pm

    Complain, Name and Shame

  6. Annalisa12


    March 19, 2019 at 11:01 pm

    Is 5 E business class?

  7. quicky

    March 20, 2019 at 9:18 am

    Some arrogant big shots always want something special. It happened to me that I was sitting in bulk head seat of an Austrian Airlines flight from Vienna to Beijing that a flight attendant asked me an my neighbour if we would change our seats to a regular ones because passenger who are members of the Vienna Synphonie Orchestra wanted to sit there. We both refused and that was it except of some angry looks. I several times swapped seats when families, couples or injured people needed a good seat but not if someone thinks he is a big shot.

  8. Captain ZZ

    March 26, 2019 at 10:20 am

    How far we have come from common sense.? If someone say 53 years old moved an elderly man 30 years older from the front seat on a transit bus, he might get pelted with fruit or worse… but to do it on a plane with a seat the man had paid for, c’mon! I personally recommend that “minor celebrity” buy the gentleman a 1A seat to any destination he chooses, pay for the hotel and food, and return flight …or deal with the woodshed of the public opinion that won’t be kind. So called “celebrities” sometimes forget that they get that name because they have a gift of talent, kindness and compassion that elevates them to being socially celebrated. It has to be earned…every day.

  9. chavala

    April 4, 2019 at 7:54 am

    Meh. The old man should have stood his ground and not moved.

  10. ricport

    April 4, 2019 at 10:22 am

    I say complain and do it loudly. Name the offender, and the FA, as well.

  11. scubaccr

    April 6, 2019 at 2:36 am

    Sounds more like pseudo-celeb was only in the poorer 5E f-class seat, due tro booking J and receiving F-class gate upgrade.

    That being the case, even poorer and ruder form to demand a prime 1A/1K seat from a paid for F passenger.

    Shame on cabin crew, left the pseudo-celeb alone with elderly gent to bully gent after gent said no. Crew should always have made celeb return to their allocated 5E before leaving elderly gents seat area, which was not the case here. Crew found reasons to go elsewhere leaving celeb to continue to bully the elderly gent Totally unacceptable

    I will not give up my good pre-allocated at booking time seat unless for equally prime seat. Very rare, the offered swaos are 95% of time to a worse seat.

    Personally only happened to me once, CE Europe, when my 1F occupied despite early boarding by me, by some self-entitled c-list celeb, who whilst initially refusing to move was made to move by crew.

  12. fahrradman

    April 15, 2019 at 4:50 pm

    Meh. You know what the recourse is, name and shame the celebrity. Is the OP asking for advise on how to extract some form of compensation from B? None is due. He paid for his dad to fly in first and he did. No airline guarantees seat reservations. A letter to BA (from his dad, not the OP) would not be inappropriate if for no other reason than to discuss the incident with the crew on how it could be better handled in the future (assuming the incident transpired exactly as related by his second hand account). Tell your dad next time to man up and simply state “I would prefer not to”. I’ve had numerous requests for seat swaps to an inferior seats and always politely declined with no issues. I even had had one request to self downgrade so their teenage son did not have to endure business class. Of course I politely declined. It’s not hard to do.

  13. Sydneyberlin

    April 16, 2019 at 4:54 pm

    The shame here really should be on BA if you ask me.

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