A passenger was forcibly removed from an American Airlines flight because he referred to a flight attendant as "waiter."
On July 18, 2023, American Airlines flight 2557 was operating a regularly-scheduled flight from New York John F Kennedy Airport (JFK) to Georgetown Cheddi Jagad Airport (GEO) in Guyana. The flight was operated by a Boeing 737 MAX 8.
Prior to departure, the "disruptive" passenger, Mr. Joel Ghansham — a media influencer — had asked one of the flight attendants to assist him with storing his bags because of his back and neck issues.
The flight attendant reportedly told Mr. Ghansham: "I don’t get paid that kind of money but if you don't like it there is always another flight." This was only the beginning of the altercation between the passenger and the crew member.
The second altercation arose once airborne from New York.
While the exact situation is still somewhat unclear, Ghansham reported that the same flight attendant who had snapped back at him on the ground now abrasively asked him what he would like to drink, doing so by leaning forward from the row behind.
It's Ghansham's answer to this crew member which prompted the return to JFK for AA2557, as Mr. Ghansham reportedly told the flight attendant, "No thank you, Waiter".
A few minutes later, it was announced that the flight would be returning to New York-JFK, and once the flight arrived safely back in New York, Ghansham was removed from the aircraft.
This situation is notable as it marks yet another instance of a passenger causing disruptions on a flight in 2023. These types of incidents are sadly more common than before and need to be handled carefully to avoid negative press toward the airlines.
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