Flight Attendant Wouldn’t Tolerate Feet On The Bulkhead, Now A Celebrity Passenger Is Suing

A former NHL hockey player wanted to put their feet up on the bulkhead. A flight attendant wouldn’t have any of it. Matters escalated, and now the player is suing American Airlines.

Jean-Francois Jomphe is a former ice hockey player for the Anaheim Mighty Ducks and Phoenix Coyotes. He was taking a flight home from Kansas City to Phoenix on July 22, 2021 on AA2005, the morning departure. He claims he needed to place his feet on the bulkhead to elevate them as a result of leg surgery. Although he also says he’s regularly placed his feet on the bulkhead without incident. So he’s that guy.

In his lawsuit, seeking $100,000, he says a flight attendant hit him on the shoulder and told him to take his feet off the bulkhead. (Cue cheers of joy from frequent flyers, everywhere.) He says he followed the crewmember’s instructions but was kicked off the flight anyway for being disruptive.

He likely wasn’t so cooperative, though, because the suit also relays that he argued the point about the bulkhead – wanting to know why he had to take his feet down, and claiming doing so risked giving him blood clots.

He was re-routed on a connecting flight, causing him to miss meetings which led to “serious disruption” for his business.

  • An airline’s schedule is never guaranteed. If the meetings are that important, leave more of a buffer to make it to your destination. Airlines disclaim this sort of liability to begin with.

  • And if staying exactly on time is crucial to the future of your business, you’re really choosing to fly American Airlines?

The pro sports veteran claims his shoulder continued to hurt after being tapped by the flight attendant. He also says he was embarrassed and so experienced emotional distress.

There have been many news reports lately about passengers behaving badly on commercial airline flights. The seeming rise in these cases is unquestionably regrettable. This case, however, arises from conduct on commercial flights that often does not make the news – extreme and outrageous conduct by out-of-control flight attendants,

Is it possible that the flight attendant tapped him too hard? I always find it odd that when a flight attendant bumps my shoulder with a galley cart, they often put their hand on my shoulder to apologize. In essence they’re apologizing for touching me by touching me.

And is it possible that they were overzealous in kicking him off the flight for standing his ground on his poor inflight etiquette? Certainly. But he made it West the same day, and if he lost business opportunities because of a missed American Airlines flight either the opportunities weren’t important enough for him to leave more of a buffer for or they weren’t really ever his to begin with.
(HT: Paddle Your Own Kanoo)

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 »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. He wasn’t embarrassed by putting his feet on a wall? He plays hockey, but gets blood clots so easily he has to be a skank?
    I hope the judge fines him for disrupting the American court system. I just might sue him myself for taking up my time to write this comment.

  2. A so called hockey player, “Jean-François Joseph “J.F.” Jomphe (born December 28, 1972) is a Canadian retired professional ice hockey player. He played in the National Hockey League with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Phoenix Coyotes, and Montreal Canadiens between 1995 and 1999.” (Wikipedia source).

    Money grab from a guy who played for 3 teams in four years. He must have been a superstar in his mind. Poor baby.

    What a wuss.

  3. Maybe you don’t like to be touched, but to compare being accidently bumped by a cart, to a light touch on the shoulder by a flight attendant when appoligizing seems….odd!

  4. Doesn’t the preponderance of this problem across all airlines suggest a design flaw in bulkheads?

    What if the bulkhead were designed such that there was additional leg space slightly encroaching beneath the first class seat ahead along with a foot rest? This seems like a good first step towards mitigating the problem.

  5. Translation- Jean-Francois Jomphe’s biz is failing and he need a quick cash influx, hopefully from a nuisance settlement.

    If he’s so aware of the clotting….. why no compression socks?

    Apparently the clotting caused compression on his brain and not his legs.

    Third rate hockey player who owns a business? Right….

  7. I hope this guy ends up having to pay the airline’s legal fees. His lawsuit sounds like a bunch of lies. A former NHL player was injured when a FA tapped him on the shoulder? You know the guys who spend their whole career being checked into the boards by other larger NHL players? Or his claim that he was cooperative yet they still kicked him off the flight. Guy is a liar and both he and his attorney should be punished for such an obviously frivolous lawsuit.

  8. @C. Weston

    Worse. He was born in Quebec.

    And before all the a**holes jump on me,
    I was born in Quebec. And I moved when I realized where I was.

  9. Given that he was a hockey player, the flight attendant must have shoved him pretty hard into the wall if it hurt his shoulder that bad…

  10. This loser only scored 14 goals in his NHL career that lasted 3 years. He likely needs the money. Good for the AA FA!

  11. Putting your feet on the bulkhead if you are wearing shoes (that cover your whole foot) is not rude and is not against any airline rule. This FA should have minded their own business, assuming this person was wearing shoes. Anyone who thinks otherwise should also mind their own business.

    I’ve done it and will continue to do it. Anyone who has a problem with it can go bugger their mother in her hind quarters.

  12. First off, you have to be really, really good at hockey to suck in the NHL. And he did suck. 10 goals as a center in 111 NHL games, but 102 penalty minutes makes you not quite, but on your way to being a member of the goon squad, but evidently he wasn’t good enough to just beat up other players either. Did better in Europe.

    That said, “not rude and is not against any airline rule”? My plane, my rules. How about that?

  13. Sounds like a 2 year old! For God sakes- Grow up!! There’s enough
    important things going on at this time to be concerned with this. I bet
    taking a bus might work for him in the future.

  14. Well, I am “guilty” of using the Bulkhead and it was a long haul and I did put my feet up there. NO LONGER, as I am not one for getting FA’s irritated because I want those extra bags of peanuts. HA!

  15. Wow, I put my stockinged feet up on the bulkhead all the time in first class. Good for my circulation. I had no idea that this was such a horrendous fox paws. If I ever am able to get on a plane again … as soon as the mask rule disappears … I will have to check this out.

  16. Thanks you, Ryan !! In many cases those bulkhead seats have even more cramped leg room. A classic case of some overbearing F/A getting involved in something that is none of her business!!

  17. I checked the list for both best(greatest) & worst NFL players of all times…
    this “celebrity is not on either list(no suprise with respect to the former) while on the the latter at number one is a player from the Bahamas(“Cool Runnings with sticks instead of sleds)!!!

  18. boooo hooo. a 110 lb women beat a big 250lb hockey player up. I CALL BS. Where does he think he is at the pig barn? You do not put your feet up on the furniture at someone else’s house unless you are trash……….oh he is..

    If he is having problems with his feet he should have got a first class lay flat seat and he could elevate his feet. OR STAY HOME.

    On trains in Switzerland, Germany etc he would be told to put his feet on the floor or get OFF at the next stop….. NO QUESTIONS ASKED OR BACK TALK.

    he purchased a seat not a Foot Rest

  19. If he complied, what’s the problem? Are passengers not allowed to question orders given by flight attendants?

    Flight attendants should not be allowed to create new rules beyond what the FAA and airlines mandate.

  20. Do I come to your office and put my feet on your wall? Then don’t do it on mine says a 35 year flight attendant!

  21. @TomTom, that is nonsense. The FA doesn’t own the plane. It is not theirs and if there is no rule prohibited it, it is none of her business. And if you arranged the furniture in your office so that it was approximately 12 inches from the wall, I probably would put my feet up on it.

    People have a hard time distinguishing between that which annoys them and that which is rude. For example, if you sit next to me on a plane and order a coffee, you will annoy me because I hate the smell of it, the look of it, and the sound people make when drinking it (and I hate bearing the risk of having it spill on me). But is that person being rude? I certainly don’t think so.

  22. @Ryan Gonna have to call BS on your excuse-making for the guy (Which I can only assume is because you’re guilty of it too.) The only non-stops from MCI to PHX on AA are flown with A320s. The bulkhead seats are Main Cabin Extra, which is far from the 12 inches you claim. I’ve sat in them several times and there’s plenty of room. The guy is just an asshole.

  23. #Ryan.

    As far as you and anybother entitled murikan passenger are concerned, the FA does “own” the plane. You are expected to comply with their dress code, instructions evem if it means not putting your feet on a bulkhead (does cause marks), and how to enter a life raft.

    So kmock it off with your entitlement. Or go lease a business jet with Wheels Up or your loval FBO.

  24. Does not seem actionable – he must have hired the same lawyer that got $2mil for Grandma Stella who got burned by McD’s coffee. No doubt he is not used to be questioned or held accountable for his actions.

    That said sounds like another FA on a power trip. I will be the contrarian and say I don’t give a rats ** where people put their feet so long as (1) they are not in my face (I’ve seen this happen where people rest their feet between the seats in front of them) and (2) no bare feet.

  25. Along with going through a metal detector passengers should be required to sign a form stating they will act like normal humans (whatever that is these days). These idiots were around during my 32 years which ended 1990.

    The only difference is the power of the internet.

    I would like to address Mr Boraxo’s comment with regard to his sarcastic comment about the
    F/A being on a power trip. It is because of your attitude that causes crews to dread their difficult job sir.

  26. Regarding whether or not the FA “owns” the plane – legally, they do, they’re an agent of the owner/operator of the aircraft. They can act on behalf of the real owner, in fact, it’s their job to do so. So if they’re protecting the asset, regardless of whether or not there’s a rule, she’s allowed to tell you to get your dirty feet off the wall.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *