Nikki Haley Uses Special Treatment From American Airlines To Subtweet Ron DeSantis

Former South Carolina Governor and Trump Administration U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley is running for President. Her long shot campaign has her flying commercial. She took to twitter to share her excitement at being delayed by American Airlines.

This is supposed to make her seem grounded, but her travel experience was very unique. She was going to miss her connection. The door to her connecting flight was closed, in her telling, and American Airlines opened it for her.

Agents are supposed to close the doors to the gate 10 minutes prior to departure. They don’t generally re-open the gate for passengers, however they can hold off on closing it under one of two circumstances according to an internal memo:

  1. Direct line of sight Late arriving passengers “in the gate agent’s direct sight at D-10” should be permitted to board, including non-revs waiting to be cleared onto the flight.
  2. Last flight of the day may close – at gate agent’s discretion – as late as 5 minutes to departure “if this will allow connecting passengers to make the flight.”

I once did get American to open a closed door for me but I was in direct line of site when they closed it and they were closing it before they were supposed to (and I called them out on it).

In this case, not only did they open the boarding door for the delayed former Governor, they risked an absolute on-time departure (“D0”) for her to… take a selfie.

Meanwhile Haley’s #WeFlyCommercial hashtag is a subtweet of Ron DeSantis whose campaign spent $1.5 million on travel in six weeks. Governor DeSantis could have been an American Airlines ConciergeKey, Delta 360, and United Global Services all in one go! Being a high profile politician, though, can sometimes be enough when flying a domestic airline. They’re treated better than you and I.

Nikki Haley is not going to be the Republican nominee for President. Current betting odds given her a 1.9% shot. DeSantis, for his part, went from even money with Trump and even a better bet in December to now just a one-in-ten chance.

There’s nothing wrong with a presidential candidate flying private, unless it contradicts an ‘everyman’ narrative. Former President Trump was known as a candidate for his private plane (“Trump Force One“). It’s an efficient way to campaign, compared to flying American Airlines or other commercial carrier. The challenge DeSantis faces is that it is expensive and donor dollars are more difficult to come by when the odds of success stack against you.

For her part, Haley appears to be a regular American Airlines flyer but hasn’t always been so keen on their operation.

Update: this is now… a fundraiser?

(HT: @crucker)

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. Saying that Haley “is not going to be” the GOP candidate is abusive. Other candidates have been unknown before national debates, and have risen to the top. Your dismissal of her colors your entire report.

  2. This author tends to show lots of political bias in his posts. Also, I dont understand how/why this is even a story. Manufactured controversy.

  3. @Daniel – curious, what political bias is shown in this post?

    Also this site is entirely by a single author, offering his perspective.

  4. 1. I doubt AA would approve of this use of its name + employees, or reciprocate the endorsement.

    2. If this is supposed to make Haley look like a regular flying Joe, it’s a misfire.

  5. I once.boarded the last flight to PHX.from ORD 15 minutes late and no agent in sight. I just scanned my BP and walked to the plane (the gate door was still wide opened). Was greeted by a very surprised purser who then had to call the gate agent who was apparently back in Main Cabin and informed her that she needed to move the unlucky couple who she just upgraded to my seat in F back to Coach! I apologized to the agent but she was very sporting about it. I was probably helped by the fact that I looked and talked like someone who had sprinted all the way from security to the very end of the H Concourse at ORD (thanks to a very late arriving luggages at Terminal 5 where I just arrived from IST). For a bonus, the purser offered a few glasses of very much needed water while the gate agent moved the unlucky couple back to Coach. Great service all-around by AA’s team members!

  6. When people realize that no one cares (except for weird democrats) about “every man” or a relatable person, is when we will get real candidates. Democrats think government is the solution to most of their issues and problems, and want government (and corporations) to do the things for them – push social agendas that are overall unpopular and detrimental to a cohesive and unified nation. Republicans think government is the problem to most of society’s issues, and want a candidate who will fight back against the government. No one really cares about “relatability” at this point.

  7. Good morning Gary,

    As an avid reader of View from the Wing, I was intrigued by the recent article discussing Nikki Haley’s alleged special treatment from American Airlines and how it may have been subtly directed towards Ron DeSantis. While I find it crucial to stay informed about the actions of public figures, I believe it is equally essential to approach such topics with a fair and open-minded perspective.

    First and foremost, it is important to remember that as ordinary citizens, we might not always be aware of the specific circumstances surrounding a public figure’s travel arrangements. Airlines have been known to provide special assistance for various reasons, such as security concerns, medical conditions, or logistical challenges. Without having a complete understanding of the situation, it can be unfair to jump to conclusions about whether this was a mere act of favoritism or if there were valid reasons behind it.

    On the other hand, it is equally important to hold our public figures accountable for their actions. If there is any indication of preferential treatment, it should be thoroughly investigated by both American Airlines and relevant authorities to ensure fairness and equality for all passengers. Public trust in the integrity of our institutions, including airlines, is vital for maintaining a healthy and functioning society.

    As readers, we must also be cautious about falling into the trap of reading too much into what could be perceived as subtle messages or sub-tweets. Social media is filled with complexities, and sometimes, assumptions can lead us astray from the real issues at hand. Instead of focusing solely on the alleged sub-tweet, let’s strive to engage in constructive conversations about political accountability and the importance of transparency in our leaders’ actions.

    Furthermore, it is essential to remember that public figures are also entitled to their privacy and respect when they are off-duty or traveling as private individuals. As tempting as it might be to scrutinize every aspect of their lives, it is crucial to strike a balance between holding them accountable for their public duties and respecting their personal space.

    I believe that discussions about the actions of public figures are essential for upholding democratic values and fostering transparency. However, let us approach such discussions with a healthy dose of skepticism, refrain from drawing conclusions prematurely, and focus on the facts and evidence available. This way, we can foster a more informed and respectful dialogue, helping us move forward towards a more accountable and equitable society.

  8. @ Daniel, I don’t agree with your comments, since there is nothing political bias in this post,

    Nice post, thanks for sharing

  9. I’m sure she get special treatment. I once saw a couple guys with guns walked in the American Airlines and Virgin America Terminal at SFO from the exit. I first I said to myself, what the hell? Then I realized there must be a VIP follow. Then I saw the little lady blonde lady in red business suit, former First Lady Hilary Clinton. I’m sure she flew commercial, why would she be entering SFO from exit known crew area, and I’m sure the gunmen were secret service agents. I’m sure TSA would not hassle Secret Service Agents and the former First Lady, senator, and Secretary of State.

  10. I once had to rent a car to drive from Brussels to Amsterdam because the gate agents closed out boarding a minute earlier than they were supposed to.

    On another occasion, the check-in desk in London told my wife and me that they would not allow us onto an earlier flight to Paris even though we had arrived in plenty of time to make the earlier flight. So we were stuck with our original reservations on the last flight of the evening. We took our time getting to the gate and got there just as they were closing the door, but they would not open it, and to add insult to injury they told us that had we gotten there earlier they would have let us on the flight despite what we’d been told by the check-in desk people. And it got worse. The equipment for the last flight could not be cleaned and turned around, so we ended up not getting to Paris that night, but because the problem was the airline’s fault, they had to pay to put us up in a hotel overnight and fly us out on the first flight the next morning, and, although they did not volunteer the information to the inconvenienced passengers, they also had to pay us pay us compensation under EU rules that may have been more than the cost of the flight.

  11. The boarding passes I receive for American Airlines state boarding door closes 15 before departure. Miss a connection in MIA arriving 17 minutes (using terminal clock) before departure.

  12. It’s comical how many people are whimpering that American Airlines given special treatment someone “special”. I guess “something special in the air” is lost in translation and generation AA boardroom; and American people are still wishing for? Grow up people. Trouble with American is that they are under the illusions that everyone is equal. I’m sure if if you are Republican, if Trump knock on a closed restaurant; they’ll open just for him. And if you are Democrat, if Obama is knock on your glass, you’ll do the same. Average Joe like you and I will be, come when we open. Grow up and swallow the reality.

  13. Haley should switch over to the democrat party already. Nobody is buying what she’s selling to the right.

  14. The misspelling in her fundraising email (“Our county is suffering too much loathing and too much self-hate”) is pretty funny. I guess she’s running for county executive somewhere, not POTUS.

  15. My son and I were running to the gate and the agent had just closed the door (at T-5) saw us running from quite a distance away and waved us on and opened the door. This was an early morning departure out of SFO. Not a VIP at all, so it does happen.

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