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Family of Dead Serviceman Booed by First-Class Passengers

The Perry family were en-route from Sacramento to Philadelphia to receive the remains of their son, who had been killed in Afghanistan.

The father of an American serviceman killed in Afghanistan has told of his hurt at being booed at by first-class travelers as he and his family flew from Sacramento to Philadelphia in order to receive the remains of his son earlier this month.

Stewart Perry told Stockton’s The Record that he was traveling with his wife and daughter when the incident occurred. From Philadelphia, the family’s ultimate destination was Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, where they would collect the remains of Sergeant John Perry. Sergeant Perry, of Stockton, California, had been killed in a suicide bomb attack in the early hours of November 12 at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan.

Mr. Perry told the paper that he and his family had been traveling on an American Airlines flight from Sacramento to Phoenix on the evening of Monday 14, November, where they were due to make an onward connection to Philadelphia.

However, as the first leg of their journey was delayed by 45 minutes, the crew of the flight was concerned that the family would not be able to make their connection. In order to expedite their journey, as they landed in Phoenix, the flight’s captain made an announcement, asking for passengers to remain seated to allow a “special military family” to disembark before all travelers.

It was at this point, Mr. Perry told the outlet, that a number of first-class passengers began to complain and loudly boo. He said that, “Some people were saying ‘This is just baloney,’ and ‘I paid for first-class for this?’ ”

Mr. Perry added that, “It was just disgusting behavior from people in first class; it was terrible to see. You could see the disappointment from the flight crew.”

He said that, under the circumstances, American Airlines did all they could to accommodate his family and they were able to make their onward connection to Philadelphia.

Speaking of his son, Mr. Perry told the paper that, “He made a decision that saved a lot of people … He didn’t get to live a full life, but he lived.”

[Photo: Ted S. Warren/AP]

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19 Comments
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chinatraderjmr November 28, 2016

The problem is that so many people in the military ask for extras these days,.....upgrades, pre board, free drinks that we (non military passengers) have become numb to the words "military". In this case, not only did the family DESERVE special attention but a standing ovation as well. It was no ones fault. The crew may have felt it was out of bounds to say more about why these people needed to deplane early. The war is over.......its time to stop the early boarding for military & the other extras they feel they are entitled to. If this was done, people would (or should) know that in the rare instance the crew asks for people to give way to a military family, its for a good reason and I doubt anyone would dare even roll their eyes

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AlwaysFlyStar November 27, 2016

This just doesn't sound realistic. I am not overly supportive of military and don't agree with letting military members board planes first, and had I been in such a situation, I may well have rolled my eyes, but to 'boo loudly'? I just don't really buy it. Probably one couple travelling together made those comments, and this guy went straight to the media. Far be it for me to tell a man how to grieve, but it just sounds like this guy is in a bad place and wanted some attention and sympathy.

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patch8 November 27, 2016

absolutely disgusting behavior.... even if the Captain didnt make a more detailed announcement, booing ? because first class didnt get to deplane first? 3 people got to deplane before you? is this what we have become?... sick... really sad, entitled behavior.... get a life...........

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Guy Betsy November 23, 2016

True. By announcing the 'special military family' would have enticed 'boos' from people who don't like being side swiped by 'military personnel' which was what they thought it was. Simply by saying that a family that needed to be up front because they needed to make a connection would have sufficed. If the boo's continued, then maybe the crew could have worded it then.

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trm2 November 23, 2016

I've been on a plane where people complained because we had to turn around after takeoff because someone was having a heart attack. Some people just suck.