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.
There are angels on earth. Today my angel’s name was Andrew who works for @AmericanAir. The doors had closed after being delayed on the first flight. Thank you Andrew for helping us get home. ❤️🇺🇸#WeFlyCommercial pic.twitter.com/bjU0pVcsGi
— Nikki Haley (@NikkiHaley) July 27, 2023
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:
- 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.
- 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?
Here’s a new one: Fundraising off an airline employee helping you pic.twitter.com/9oDWzjzbKB
— Burgess Everett (asapburgessev on 🧵) (@burgessev) July 27, 2023