American Airlines Passengers Brawl Over Who Gets Off Their Plane First

A passenger on board an American Airlines flight to Phoenix shared video of what happened when they landed and arrived at their gate. A fight broke out between passengers over who would disembark first. Another passenger can be heard saying “they’re calling for law enforcement.”

This is the latest installment is ‘every airline’s passengers are Spirit Airlines passengers now’ with low low fares and little business travel to speak of.

The striking thing here though is that the passengers were so anxious to get off the plane that they fought over who would get off first. Yet the fight delayed their getting off the plane.

There’s no question that flying American Airlines domestic with tight seating and no seat back entertainment, on what looks to be a completely full flight, is an experience you want to flee quickly. And it’s perfectly-designed to raise tensions between everyone who is experiencing it.

Still a more orderly deplaning process is actually better for escaping domestic coach as quickly as possible. If you must flight, do it once you’re off the aircraft, and once you’ve cleared the jetway so you’re not obstructing other passengers in the process too.

In fact, if the combatants would clear the way for other passengers, why even call the police? Let them fight it out! That would make for much better social media.

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. Deep discounting – a byproduct of flying too much capacity – contributes to the problem of people flying that otherwise could not afford to do so.

  2. @TimDunn: deeply discounting price fares AND too many people with too many airline miles to burn.

  3. In Miami, the first ones to jump up and sprint off the plane are the ones that were boarded first in LGA because they were in wheelchairs…

  4. I’m lifetime Platinum on AA and have flown them a number of times since COVID. On every flight I’ve taken, including 2 weeks ago, there was an announcement asking people to remain seated and allow more space as people deplane. It was very orderly on every flight. This isn’t an AA issue (although Gary just can’t resist is jab at inflight entertainment – like 95% of the people really care dude) but an issue with a couple of idiot passengers.

  5. AA and NK should merge into “American Spirit Airlines”.
    Their services and customer behaviors had already aligned.
    American behaviors, American spirit,
    Perfect match!!!

  6. “Please remain seated until the row in front of you clears.”
    No. Why should I. I just sat within 4 inches of a complete stranger for the past 3 and a half hours. Enough with the “safety” theatrics.

  7. If this is really a video from March 2021, surprised to see that AA has not removed the inflight magazine as one of the COVID “hygiene” steps. UA and others have done this and thought it had become an industry standard.

  8. great line: ” If you must flight, do it once you’re off the aircraft, and once you’ve cleared the jetway so you’re not obstructing other passengers in the process too.”

  9. Scraping the bottom of the barrel picks up the crap left over. This is what they get with too much capacity and a cheap/no-frills product.

  10. What this is clearly a case of is failed basic economy seating assignments. AA in its infinite wisdom wants to make you pay for seat assignments. The group 9 Spirit crowd simply refuses to pay and, guess what, end up in 8D and 9E on crowded flights after those seats are held for elites who aren’t flying. The schlubs who actually paid for seat assignments but not MCE end up in 13D and possibly further back.

    If you are elite or stupidly do pay for MCE the chance you have a group 9 Spirit flyer seated next to is quite high…

  11. Sorry state but it isn’t AA fault, they have to sell tickets. It is the parents that didn’t teach their kids any manners. There is no excuse for this type of behavior anywhere. Hopefully AA presses charges. While I don’t think lack of seat back video screens (IFEs) caused this I do think it could have helped prevent it by keeping people focused on something other than exiting. The AA(USAir) Maintenance group is driving the removal of the IFEs against objections from the Marketing group. The Maintenance group doesn’t want to have to deal with IFEs yet Delta doesn’t seem to have an issue adding them to all their aircraft. After the New USAir I mean New American figures out it is a competitive advantage I expect them start to reappearing.

  12. Even with the aircraft parked at the gate, the passenger’s disruptive behavior of fighting in the aisle makes evacuating a plane during an emergency on the tarmac more challenging for the flight crew. Does American Airlines have published safety advice for the other passengers seated next to an aircraft aisle brawl?

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