Actor Marlon Wayans Banned From Traveling United Airlines On Friday

Marlon Wayans – known for In Living Color, The Wayans Brothers, Scary Movie, White Chicks and more – was kicked off of United Airlines flight from Denver to Kansas City, and banned by the airline from making the trip.

Wayans was called out during the boarding process for having too many carry on bags. He consolidated into a single bag, but then a gate agent flagged that the bag was too large telling him he’d have to gate check it. Wayans told the agent, “see now you’re just [f’in] with me,” he took his boarding pass off of the counter and “allegedly slamm[ed it] on the counter” then bypassed the agent and boarded the aircraft.

Eventually – and this took half an hour – he was taken off the aircraft and given a citation by police. Wayans

According to United Airlines, Marlon Wayans was banned from taking this trip on the airline.

In Denver on Friday, a customer who had been told he would have to gate-check his bag instead pushed past a United employee at the jetbridge and attempted to board the aircraft. The customer won’t be flying on United to his destination.

The feeling, it seems, was mutual.

Though he missed performing standing up Kansas City Friday night, he ultimately rebooked travel on American, where he reports he’s a ConciergeKey member.

It sounds like Wayans was probably wrong – first for having more carry ons than permitted, and then perhaps having a carry on that was too large.

Then the United agent handled things aggressively, rather than with good customer service, as they rushed to try to both enforce rules and get the flight out on time.

This wasn’t a case of being told there wasn’t enough bin space when there was, and being allowed down the jet bridge with their carry on. Wayans got more aggressive in not just ignoring the gate agent but pushing past them defiantly to board the aircraft.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I was with him until he dropped the race card. His aggression together with an aggressive gate agent was a bad mix. If he had three bags and he stuffed them into one, maybe he should have created two bags instead. I’ve got no sympathy for him or the airline.

  2. No sympathy. Been asked to consolidate bags before and been forced to gate check a bag.

    I’m a senior white female.

    It happens but I didn’t alert the media.

  3. I have no sympathy for this guy. While customer service is paramount, so is safety and respectful treatment of passengers and crew. If the consolidated bag did not meet the size AND WEIGHT requirements, then the bag must be checked. Most airlines have a sign with a “measuring frame” that indicates size and weight. The FAA dictates how many and what size carryons are allowed…not the agent nor the airline. What ever this passenger may think of the agent’s demeanor, he should have complied and kept his mouth SHUT. Instead, he chose to escalate by arguing with the already harried and poorly trained gate agent. Then to have the audacity to pull the race card…I am no longer in sympathy with him. I’m sure that United won’t blink an eye. If this guy wants to move to another airline, don’t expect that they will accommodate your extra and oversize bags either. Take AMTRAK or Greyhound.

  4. There are Karens in all races and sexes. On top of that, celebrities are especially susceptible to feelings of entitlement.

  5. Personally had him on a flight from Lax to JFK. His legit a diva. When asked if he wanted to dine, would whisper vegan. Not I’m a vegan do you have any options. But simply said vegan. When approached again if he wanted to dine same response. Makes job especially difficult for service workers if you don’t tell us what you want and you reading off the provided menu and still can’t decide. Dismissive to crew members, absolute joy to be around honestly for a B grade celebrity

  6. Was he traveling in first class on this trip? (not clear from the article)

    While there are the official rules for carry-on luggage, I’ve often seen those rules bent or ignored for travelers in F and J.

  7. Sounds like poor customer service on United’s part. Happy ending that this millionaire won’t be flying United and since he’s a Concierge Key He’ll pay AA and he’ll act better.
    United keeps the customer service agent. Everyone is happy.

  8. So it’s all Marlon’s fault?? OK
    If he had so many bags how/why was he allowed to get passed security or get his boarding pass (presuming he got his boarding pass from a ticket agent).
    It’s weird to read so many people defending an airline, especially one like United.

  9. United is of course well known for their customer service. He’s luck he wasn’t beat up.

  10. @Jim Warren—- Wait. what? “…until he pulled the race card.” Where in Mr. Wayans’ quoted comment did he pull the race card? —-I missed it. —-Now, if you are referencing the comment he made about “now you’re just fuc*in with me”, that IS NOT pulling the race card. —-That comment could be called: (depending on to whom you are asking): sarcastic, offensive, snarky, challenging, aggressive, etc. But responding in the manner that he did was anything BUT pulling the race card. —-Actually, your response is racist. Stating, presuming, assuming, projecting, that his mere response was erroneous. Unless his comment was edited, there was not a mention of race in his comment.—-Speaking up, right or wrong is not “pulling the race card.” —-Any person of any race could have used the exact words and it would not be considered “pulling the race card.”—-pulling or using the “race card” is always overt and specific; usually resulting in something of the following, e.g., “you’re making me do this because I am, race XYZ.” —-What is accurate is what others who have commented referenced; consolidating bags, size constrains, number of approved carry-on articles.

  11. Someone, please explain to me, us all, when and where in this article did Mr. Wayans, “pull the race card?”

  12. Unless the gate agent was enforcing the sizer on everybody, he should have let Wayans carryon slide after he consolidated his stuff into it.

  13. C. Jones

    Try reading the 2nd instagram post by him. Your question will be answered

  14. C Jones, in his own comments “Black people all kinds of racism and classism. I won’t allow this. ” He did pull the race card. The incident probably didn’t have as much (if anything) to do with that as the classism he also called out. I know I personally am not looking to dote on any celebrities and that they’re well known to exhibit entitlement. I’m also pretty sure he meant that he as a lower/working class person he was experiencing classism. I read it differently though, he’s a very rich celebrity dealing with an airport functionary, it’s pretty clear who belongs to which class.

  15. I wasn’t there and I have no great sympathy for celebrities, but I will say it would not be out of character (in my experience) for United agents to go on a power trip and when outwitted (combining bags) to double down with new rules (“oh, uh, also that bag’s too big”) to ensure they “win” against the customer.

  16. C. Jones
    Please read the Instagram post—I used his own words. So yes, he definitely pulled the race card.

  17. Airlines selectively enforce the rule which is the main problem. Either enforce it or don’t.

  18. @Jim Warren. I just read it. Thank you for directing me to more information. Unfortunately, in the View From The Wing article, the quotation (s) were incomplete.

  19. This is where the problem lies, “selective enforcement” of carry-on luggage. How many times have you seen passengers boarding with 3-4 pieces of luggage, how many times have to seen luggage larger than 22x9x14, how many times have you seen the “shared” overhead bins FULL only to see passengers with 2-3 pieces inside them? This is abused by Groups 1-3 on United, you are lucky if they are not “gate checking” bags for Groups 4-5.

    @Baron … It’s not TSA’s job to monitor and regulate the number of pieces a passenger carries.

  20. It is our duty as flyers to follow the rules. I don’t care how selectively enforced the rules are, frequent flyers should know the rules and follow them. Race may or may not have been a factor as to why the agent chose to enforce the rules. Regardless, being a first class passenger or a frequent flyer doesn’t give you your own set of rules.

  21. C. Jones

    You should probably consider an outright apology to Jim after calling his his response racist, now that you’ve read beyond what Gary has presented to you….there’s always more to the story, you have to go digging these days beyond what is shown to you BEFORE you form an opinion, let alone defend it with casting aspersions of racism.

    Let this be a lesson to everyone, what is posted on here and in the news today is specifically designed to evoke emotion and have us at each others’ throats, don’t let it, if something truly sounds outrageous the way it’s presented to you 75% of the time there’s more to the story that would make things make more sense!

  22. Gate agent here. It is a FAA rule that you are only allowed to carry 2 bags o to the aircraft. We have to enforce it or risk our jobs. Almost anyone in first class who has to be separated from their bags complains about it even if they are literally the last person inboard with no overhead space remaining. If your bag is too big it is too big and if you fly frequently then you should be aware of the policies and size requirements.

  23. Could have been easily resolved one way or another. Did the bag fit in the overhead bin or under his seat? Did they even let him try before getting into a confrontation. If they had let him try, even he might have realized it didn’t fit or the agent would realize it did. He was in first class so it wouldn’t have been a big issue to check the bag if it didn’t fit. Too many agents don’t use good sense.

  24. @Chad—-Not certain or not if my original response to you was approved so, I’m resubmitting it. —-Actually playing the race card is the last thing. There’s an official handbook for reference that is in its 400th printing. —-No counseling necessary. —-Yes, it is funny because it’s so sad.

  25. Serious, though, this is just another story of a passenger/airline employee encounter getting out of hand because neither chose to de-escalate. Usually, GAs don’t pay too much attention to the size of carry-ons in first class because bin space isn’t an issue; a customer-friendly approach would have been, “this is over the size limit. *If it doesn’t fit* you may have to gate check.” That said, as a pax with “over 15 million miles,” you should know that you do as told unless you want to be delayed. Always best to complain AFTER arriving at your final destination.

  26. sad part of airline travel these days – you are entering a semi military rule zone when you step in on an aircraft. you better behave or else…true there are rude and unpleasant flyers – BUT, there are also power hungry flight crews. airline can charge any fees they want and squeeze in as many people they want. oh, and we are forgetting the bail outs during crisis (your tax dollar at work). now – we dont have the right to complain, or you wont fly even when you paid them more than necessary. consumers are really screwed – sorry and sad 🙁

  27. Why is it that the entire scenario of a “celebrity” (rather real or self identified) acting rude and entitled fairly predictable? Mr. Wayans seems to be confused about “People taking advantage of their “power.” An airline employee attempting to require compliance with the procedures contained in the FAA approved Operations Manual is NOT a power trip Mr. Wayans, it a responsibility of their job.

  28. What you folks here don’t realize is until nothing is racism everything can be racism. You have the privilege to not have to wonder after every negative scenario “was that guy being a dick to me because I’m of colour”. Having to constantly wonder that is tiring.

    And sometimes (and more frequently than you think) it IS because of the color of their skin. It’s not “I hate black people” that level of overt racism is apparently only saved for the View from the Wing and One Mile At A Time comment sections.

  29. @A. That is not an FAA rule; it’s your carrier’s rule which is only enforced when the gate agent dislikes a passenger for whatever reason. Several intl carriers allow more carry ons especially for first class passengers.

  30. All this can be traced back to the ridiculous checked bag fees. Now everyone is trying to fit a week’s worth of clothes into their carry ons. Airlines are making the flying experience so horrible it’s bringing out the worst in people from both employees and customers. Creating a stressful environment in a aluminum tube at 30000 feet is sheet stupidity. But profits rule.

  31. So a C list “celebrity” threw a tantrum because he overpacked and was asked to check his bag. He tried to force his way onto an aircraft angrily. If he wasn’t a celebrity, everyone would be saying the airline did right to protect the safety of all other passengers by preventing a non-compliant passenger to board. Good on United for not granting him any special treatment. As an airline pilot, I don’t need an unruly passenger who isn’t willing to comply with basic rules. Being asked to consolidate items and check an oversized carry on is standard practice on most airlines. I hope I never see this guy on my flight.

  32. He had every reason to play the race card. I’ve flown millions of miles on United and not once been asked to check a suitcase, particularly when in F. Sometimes I even travel with 3 carry-ons…

    If he was caucasian flying F I guarantee you he would not have been hassled by the GA and the FA’s would have “found space” in an overhead, or in the coat closet,

    Of course it was foolish to escalate, but he never should have been stopped (as is also true for many of the pretextual stops of people of color by LEOs)

  33. What’s the big freaking deal. Gate check the bag and be done with it. The one thing you never try to do is to get on a plane without approval. Anyway, how does having too much luggage become race related? lol

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