Airlines get a bad rap, often deservedly so. According to USA Today, in 2018, two of the twenty most hated companies in America were airlines, with United coming in at number 19 and Spirit, not surprisingly, getting the number 9 slot. I think this comes from many customer unfriendly policies airlines implement, ranging anywhere from non-refundable tickets, excess baggage charges, Basic Economy tickets and charging for everything from Wi-Fi to blankets and even sodas while onboard. I’ve read post after post of Facebook friends who have been treated horribly by airlines. But here’s a question – if airlines are willing to treat celebrities, sports figures and national icons horribly, what makes you think you’re any different? Please know that I’m writing this knowing that these celebrities are complaining about #firstworldproblems.
Stories about how badly airlines have been treating “important” people are nothing new. NASA Astronaut Buzz Aldrin had to deal with being told that he was too late to check in for his flight on Delta.
Buzz Aldrin Goes Off On Delta After Missing Flight https://t.co/ZZ9zU3IN6H
— TMZ (@TMZ) January 17, 2018
If you identify more when sports heroes have problems with airlines, here’s a series of Tweets from Manchester United footballer (soccer to those of us in the US) who was kicked off a British Airways flight.
.@British_Airways you are an absolute disgrace !! Overbooking flights and not getting people on …. worst airline I’ve ever seen!
— Gary Neville (@GNev2) February 5, 2018
I love this one because of the textbook reply from British Airways to send a DM (and get the rant out of public view). Even sports heroes get the same treatment as us. I also enjoy when anyone calls a company “a shambles.”
Hi Gary, we're concerned to hear this. Could you DM us with some more information? We'll certainly see if there is anything we can do. ^Sophie
— British Airways (@British_Airways) February 5, 2018
Mayim Bialik Tweeted her displeasure with United about her treatment over the size of her carry-on bag. We feel you Mayim.
To the @UnitedAirlines flight attendant who shut the boarding gate in my face. I made my connecting flight in Houston. it was a tight squeeze but You said there were plenty of open seats. when you saw my carry on suitcase you said there was no room and shut the door in my face.
— Mayim Bialik (@missmayim) February 11, 2019
Pink’s husband, Carey Hart also had some problems with United.
This it, I will never spend money on @united ever again. You are so unprofessional it’s out of control. To N. Ayala in San Francisco, your patronizing of a customer is repulsive. Save your money people, this airline isn’t worth the headaches.
— Carey Hart (@hartluck) September 11, 2018
It’s nice to see he gets the same Twitter response that any of us should expect. A request to take the conversation off of Twitter and onto DM.
This is extremely concerning to hear, Carey. Can you please DM your confirmation number and further information on your experience? We would like to assist right away. ^BK
— United Airlines (@united) September 11, 2018
These celebrity Twitter rants about airlines aren’t new. I mean, how badly did American Airlines have to be to aggravate Geordi La Forge from Star Trek (or the Reading Rainbow guy or Kunta Kinte).
.@AmericanAir after paying for two 1st Class seats and being unceremoniously, bumped back to Business, I'm in NO MOOD for disrespect!
— LeVar Burton (@levarburton) June 12, 2017
It’s not just on the airplanes that celebrities get poor treatment. It also happens in the airline lounges.
— will.i.am (@iamwill) May 10, 2014
If will.i.am had free passes from the United MileagePlus Explorer card, this never would have happened.
Who can forget when Alec Baldwin was kicked off of an American Airlines flight because he wouldn’t stop playing Words With Friends.
Flight attendant on American reamed me out 4 playing WORDS W FRIENDS while we sat at the gate, not moving.#nowonderamericaairisbankrupt
— HABFoundation (@ABFalecbaldwin) December 6, 2011
Lastly, here’s a Tweet from Kevin Smith back when he was kicked off a Southwest plane because the flight crew decided he was too large for a single seat.
Dear @SouthwestAir – I know I'm fat, but was Captain Leysath really justified in throwing me off a flight for which I was already seated?
— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) February 14, 2010
So I ask you this – if airlines aren’t afraid to treat celebrities with hundreds of thousands of followers on social media like nobodies, what makes you think they’re going to care about you? For the airlines, it’s all about the bottom line or their metrics and if that means they’re willing to leave some people at the airport because they got there two minutes late, then so be it. I guess it can be said that airline travel is the great equalizer of our society. No matter how much money you have, how important you are or how much you paid for the ticket, airlines will treat everyone with the same level of indifference, and you have to respect that level of consistency.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary