American Airlines Flight Attendant Directs Furlough Rage At A Passenger – Who Used To Be CEO

Former American Airlines Chairman and CEO Don Carty was traveling in first class on Thursday. He left the airline 17 years ago, but some flight attendants still hate him. One crewmember took out their anger that he’d fly American the day 8000 flight attendants were losing their jobs.

Carty ran American from 1998 to 2003. He was in charge at the airline on 9/11 and its aftermath, and as the carrier struggled along with the rest of the industry he executed what was the largest corporate restructuring outside of bankruptcy in U.S. history. The airline struggled mightily to avoid a Chapter 11 filing for a decade. Carty was known for recording a regular message to employees that could be heard dialing 1-800-AA-CARTY. (Under his successor, this was replaced by an e-mail.)

While employees at American may have done better than at some of their competitors going through bankruptcy and discharging pensions, Carty’s American paid retention bonuses to top executives. This angered employees who were forced to take pay cuts, and he was ultimately forced out over this.

As a former airline CEO he isn’t just flying first class, he’s a Concierge Key. And I believe that his wife, traveling with him, appears to have brought an emotional support animal (“ESAN”) on board based on the record being shared to social media.

The cabin crew member complains he didn’t say hello or thank you. And one of the flight attendants on board was being furloughed – these didn’t all happen “midnight September 30” as commonly believed. Some trips for furloughing employees (like this one) lasted through the week.

Of course Carty, who after leaving American became Chairman of Virgin America and of Porter Airlines and Vice Chairman of Dell, has been gone from the airline for 17 years. He’s hardly at fault for current employee furloughs Fewer people traveling in response to Covid-19 is what’s responsible for furloughs, even though neither Delta nor Southwest are currently letting any cabin crew go. Still, at United the pilots union still harbors resentment after 35 years so this a 17 year grudge nothing new.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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. AA should fire this flight attendant. [redacted] What this FA did must be against AA’s privacy policy.

  2. @OneXMarine – All of your points are true. I joined the airlines as a second career with a large pay cut at the entry rate with no seniority. The entitlement is real, although there are also some who care about doing a great job. It seems to escape most, that may industries have gone through mergers, downsizing, etc. over the past years. Many have lost jobs, incomes, the connection to a long term employer, etc. but eventually move on. No job should be belittled, but the job of a flight attendant is probably comparable to an entry administrator or wait staff in other industries, which does not involve the same skillset as a piolet or
    neurosurgeon. Most salaries, with seniority are more than teachers or nurses. Most industries change. A job which was once high paying for most – even as a lawyer, or an accountant has changed with technology. It is a new day and most have had to adapt.

  3. To the individual calling out the other guy. Yeah you KM. You take that step first, hateful pos.

  4. Get the facts. Please let me clarify a few points.

    The flight attendant who had this experience is NOT the one who sent this out.

    Cadet Bone Spurs agreed to the airline bail out (really short term help) because he managed to understand for once that if the airline business collapsed, it will hurt the economy much worse than he made it with his failure to attack Covid when he knew about it in January. Remember he said around March, “its going to disappear when it warms up”. LMAO!

    There is a Federal agency called the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC). It operates like the FDIC. It guarantees ONLY a FRACTION of the original pension. The American people via the federal budget become responsible for it. After companies like Continental, Eastern, TWA, United, US Airways to name a few, dumped their employee’s pensions while mismanaging the company. American tried to do the same but were rejected. Someone finally got smart. American negotiated changes to their employees pensions to try to save their company.

    No employee takes a seat before a revenue passenger with very few exceptions i.e., to operate a flight, repair an aircraft or some other critical company need.

    The flight benefits of a current or retired/furloughed employee are SPACE AVAILABLE. That means only after revenue passengers board. Most aircraft are full with few options for an occasional trip. This is a primary motivation for employees to want to work at an airline. Nobody is getting rich in these positions. Except for the top management maybe. It’s very over rated.

    Flight attendants do the in flight service as to what is dictated by the company. The South West airlines model has shown in flight services are not a major deciding factor on which airline we choose, with a few exceptions. The major deciding factors are price and frequency. We really should also be interested in staffing and training. At this point EVERYTHING, including safety is at a bare minimum. What is required by the FAA. Most of us have no clue to what is happening here.

    For those who denigrate the flight attendants as glorified waitresses. I hope to God, for real, you never see what a flight attendant is REALLY trained to do. Even though you may be an ignorant bully, they will still save your ass when things go horribly wrong. If you survive, you will thank them – if they survived.

    The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) screwed over the TWA flight attendants in the merger of seniority dates. There were many more reasonable options for seniority integration available to them. You have to educate your members and make a plan forward. Many other airlines have integrated seniority lists in a fair manner and all have survived life. For example US Airways was made up of many mergers, buy outs or whatever you want to call them. To the best of my knowledge, ALL of the mergers were done by seniority order. In this business seniority is a major factor in your quality of life. APFA stapled them to the bottom, creating life long animosity. Karma is a bitch when she comes back around. Greed comes in all shapes and sizes. American Airlines flight attendants would be better served by the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA).

    The executives in the USA need to rethink their management approach in many cases. They could learn some lessons from their counterparts in Europe or Asia. Their employees will make or break the company, especially the front line employees. Don Carty is a jack ass by most accounts.

    When I am a passenger on a flight I sit back and observe both the crew members and passengers. Most of the passengers and flight attendants are nice. Remember, there are always a few bad apples in every bunch. Not the case here. When passengers, mostly men, are bullies I offer my card to the F/A incase they need to respond to some over inflated letter to the airline from the bully. Usually looking for a free flight or something. These employees among many others these days are stressed to the max. A little encouragement goes a long way.

    And to the sexist bullies making derogatory comments about flight attendants here, you would never hear this crap in the IT dept,, although you are probably thinking it. I’m a man standing with other men in this f’d up world, standing up for our sisters. Think about someone saying those things to your daughter, sister or mother. As long as they can drag your ass out of a burning plane, nobody gives a sh1t what you have to say.

    I’m thinking about over 200,000 DEAD, their families and the millions of people out of work. It’s an unprecedented disaster caused IN GREAT PART, by Cadet Bone Spurs. Hopefully this country will stop voting against their best interests. Try to be a little nicer to each other. We all deserve it.

  5. Get the facts. Please let me clarify a few points.
    The flight attendant who had this experience is NOT the one who sent this out.

    Cadet Bone Spurs agreed to the airline bail out (really short term help) because he managed to understand for once that if the airline business collapsed, it will hurt the economy much worse than he made it with his failure to attack Covid when he knew about it in January. Remember he said around March, “its going to disappear when it warms up”. LMAO!

    There is a Federal agency called the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC). It operates like the FDIC. It guarantees ONLY a FRACTION of the original pension. The American people via the federal budget become responsible for it. After companies like Continental, Eastern, TWA, United, US Airways to name a few, dumped their employee’s pensions while mismanaging the company. American tried to do the same but were rejected. Someone finally got smart. American negotiated changes to their employees pensions to try to save their company.

    No employee takes a seat before a revenue passenger with very few exceptions i.e., to operate a flight, repair an aircraft or some other critical company need.

    The flight benefits of a current or retired/furloughed airline employee are SPACE AVAILABLE. That means only after revenue passengers board. Most aircraft are full with few options for an occasional trip. This is a primary motivation for employees to want to work at an airline. Nobody is getting rich in these positions. Except for the top management maybe. It’s very over rated.

    Flight attendants do the in flight service as to what is dictated by the company. The South West airlines model has shown in flight services are not a major deciding factor on which airline we choose, with a few exceptions. The major deciding factors are price and frequency. We really should also be interested in staffing and training. At this point EVERYTHING, including safety is at a bare minimum. What is required by the FAA. Most of us have no clue to what is happening here.

    For those who denigrate the flight attendants as glorified waitresses. I hope to God, for real, you never see what a flight attendant is REALLY trained to do. Even though you may be an ignorant bully, they will still save your ass when things go horribly wrong. If you survive, you will thank them – if they survived.

    The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) screwed over the TWA flight attendants in the merger of seniority dates. There were many more reasonable options for seniority integration available to them. You have to educate your members and make a plan forward. Many other airlines have integrated seniority lists in a fair manner and all have survived life. For example US Airways was made up of many mergers, buy outs or whatever you want to call them. To the best of my knowledge, ALL of the mergers were done by seniority order. In this business seniority is a major factor in your quality of life. APFA stapled them to the bottom, creating life long animosity. Karma is a bitch when she comes back around. Greed comes in all shapes and sizes. American Airlines flight attendants would be better served by the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA).

    The executives in the USA need to rethink their management approach in many cases. They could learn some lessons from their counterparts in Europe or Asia. Their employees will make or break the company, especially the front line employees. Don Carty is a jack ass by most accounts.

    When I am a passenger on a flight I sit back and observe both the crew members and passengers. Most of the passengers and flight attendants are nice. Remember, there are always a few bad apples in every bunch. Not the case here. When passengers, mostly men, are bullies I offer my card to the F/A incase they need to respond to some over inflated letter to the airline from the bully. Usually looking for a free flight or something. These employees among many others these days are stressed to the max. A little encouragement goes a long way.

    And to the sexist bullies making derogatory comments about flight attendants here, you would never hear this crap in the IT dept,, although you are probably thinking it. I’m a man standing with other men in this f’d up world, standing up for our sisters. Think about someone saying those things to your daughter, sister or mother. As long as they can drag your ass out of a burning plane, nobody gives a sh1t what you have to say.

    I’m thinking about over 200,000 DEAD, their families and the millions of people out of work. It’s an unprecedented disaster caused IN GREAT PART, by Cadet Bone Spurs. Hopefully this country will stop voting against their best interests. Try to be a little nicer to each other. We all deserve it.

  6. This idiot is referring to the greatest President of the United States since Abraham Lincoln, Donald J Trump. MAGA 2020

  7. I dont understand why it is such a big deal for the American flight attendants that he did not say “Hello”. 90% of the flight attendants don’t say hello to the passengers, they are not polite, not pleasant. They don’t make any effort during the flights.
    I fly long hauls every months and it is like that on every flight.
    All they want is to serve you (or actually, hand you out the food trays) so that they can go sleep and rest for the rest of the trip. I flew back last week from Europe and it happened again!!!! There were only 20 people on the flight due to Covid19 and they could not make the effort!
    My second meal was still frozen when they served it!!! They probably overslept. So what is all this fuzz about???

  8. Bone spurs Cadet is awesome: very well stated & informative!
    James.Maga Idiot’s wife’s name is “Karen”… had a bit too much kool aid this evening or over dosed on his daily chloroquine huh? Dat “Maga.hat” is fading to a worn out pink color right?
    Remember it’s made in China where Don.da.Con produces all his failure products…
    Especially dat bone.spur cream he applies to his butt every night after gobbling down his burgers & fries in bed … all for now 3 cheers for Bone.Spur.Cadet!!!
    for Mr. James.Maga & wife “Karen” !
    Btw Mr. James.Maga try taking a chill.pill with kool aid instead of your nightly dose of chloroquine!☠☠

  9. @flowerj you make some very good points. I wonder how many people posting here have ever met a payroll, reached into their pocket to invest hundred of thousands or millions of dollars to start or buy an existing business? I agree with you that the senior F/A’s make more than nurses and teachers. Probably most of the junior F/A’s make more than teachers. I read some of these comments and just shake my head, like the one about a F/A pulling you from a burning plane. There are 6-7 F/A and they are going to pull 200 passengers from a burning plane? Must be a small fire. Through out my life from the Marine Corps forward I’ve been trained in first aid and CPR. As a combat vet I’ve seen things that would sicken most people. I suffer from hearing loss and PTSD. I’m reasonably certain that in an emergency I can get myself and others off of a plane. When I came home from Vietnam I couldn’t get a job because we were despised as baby killers. Back in the late 70’s the congress passed a law that allowed companies to purchase an annuity from the pension funds and pocket what was left. So my pension from that company today is based on if I had retired in 1979. Fortunately I’ve been able to invest wisely, invest in my own companies, and maintain good health and the ability to continue to work. Not everyone has been that fortunate. Regardless of the things that have happened to me in the past if I were to encounter any of these folks today I wouldn’t treat them the way Don Carty was treated. You have to remember that the CEO’s don’t set their salaries or perks. It’s the Board of Directors. While the CEO has some latitude for the most part they are restricted by the BOD. I agree with other posters that attacking the F/A’s for their appearance is wrong at every level. That being said they need to be agile enough and of height and weight to be able to perform their duties. There are many that I would suspect could not do that. There was one lady who posted here that she was a young 78. Could a 78 year old female, or male, move a 250 pound person if they had to? Possibly but I am doubtful.

  10. Can anyone offer some insight on the other codes on the printout? ADM PCC CLUB vs ADM CLUB, OB, the SC ET LF RCK?

  11. Everyone that worked at American airlines in 2003 hates Carry. He took tons of money and gave bonus to top brass while destroying the lives of all the real workers. if you weren’t there, you wouldn’t understand

  12. When he was CEO I sent him e-mails and he replied to them. I have fond memories of his term as CEO. I can’t imagine he wasn’t polite to the crew.

  13. Stop blaming TRUMP for airlines problems. Want to blame anyone blame China for lying about the virus – how bad it was abd how wide spread AND a whole lot of other issues. Do you in your right, rational mind think another politician would have done better?? Think again. Remember – how many other viruses have hit but burned out quickly. You are expecting POTUS to be a clairvoyant?? No president – should be expected to see every contingency. Overreacting is as bad – if not worse than no reaction – look at dem run NYC and NYC. Some have become big whining babies who demand to be taken care of ALL THE TIME. Having been with Delta for decades – go look up their history during many administrations – you have to change – roll with the punches and prepare for the worst. If capitalism and/or business is not flexible or prepared for the change that is inevitable – it will die.

  14. @Tom Hansen you are so correct. Everyone wants to make everything political. At the start I thought Trump was over reacting and now I see the wisdom that shutting down travel was. How quickly he got the companies making masks, ventilators, etc. I think he did a much better job than Obama/Biden on the H1N1. Trump’s tariff’s on China has cost my business money, but it had to be done. We roll with the punches and prepare for these times but staying debt free and managing our businesses and having cash reserves to survive these uncertain times. The problem I see, with not only airlines, but many companies is that when times are good they spend like there is no tomorrow and when things get difficult they collapse or go begging to the government for a handout. Airlines are notorious for having a race to the bottom for market share. I’d rather have a $10 million company making 30% than a $100 million company making 3%. Your net is the same but your headaches are 100 times greater. LA Fitness has reported $1.7 Billion in debt. That is crazy and they probably won’t survive. One of the things that has always makes me shake my head about AA is all of the west coast carriers they have acquired but then abandoned the west coast. Makes no sense to me.

  15. From my perspective too, the President has done everything he should have done. Look at the restrictions on life in so many other countries, with no better results in combating COVID-19 than we have here. When, G-d willing, he recovers, this will be a very important morale boost.

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