Passenger Strips Down at American Airlines Gate: Not Gonna Take It Anymore!

Michael Douglas starred in 1993’s Falling Down, a portrait of a man who’s a cog in a machine that seemingly unfairly treats him as he loses his job and faces perceived indignities on his quest to see his son whom he’s kept from by a restraining order. Is society at fault, or his own, as he breaks down into anti-social violence? The movie may have been two decades ahead of its time.

The plot appears to re-create itself in Spanish, where a man is mad as hell and not going to take it anymore to borrow from another Hollywood classic. Is he frustrated by American Airlines? Raging against machines taking over simple tasks once employing people? Or frustrated by his own circumstance?

A man storms away from the desk at his gate, throws down the boarding group sign, where an American Airlines employee puts it back up. Meanwhile the passenger has taken off his shirt and allows his pants to sag. He grabs the reaches for the back of the employee’s neck. The employee goes about his business while the man rants in the gate area.

He calms down, tries to head towards the jetway and gets frustrated again. He puts a baseball cap on the employee who first followed him. Eventually, officers take him into custody.

Is this one passenger’s frustrations, or is he every passenger and a harbinger of things to come in air travel or in U.S. politics — as Michael Douglas’ portrayal of William Foster arguably has been?

Those of us that have flown American Airlines this summer can all say we’ve been there.

(HT: @conradoasenjo)

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. Not saying this is your interpretation, but I always wonder what movie people watched when they say Michael Douglas’ character from Falling Down was the victim of society rather than a psychopath with anger issues.

  2. Daughter. Not son. The character was on a journey across LA to see his daughter at her birthday party.

  3. American Airlines needs to wake up. With all of the delays and cancellations lately, I am sick and tired of being lied to, ignored, rejected at the gate by being one minute over the boarding period due to only having 20 minutes to get from the 3rd attempt to get there. People are going to react and my biggest hope is that I am not the next person in a story like this. I am confident there are a lot of crazies out there and this is going to get worse as long as AA isn’t held accountable.

  4. The stock holders should see these video to have an idea what is going on with A A ,but it seems they don’t care !!!!!

  5. “Those of us that have flown American Airlines this summer can all say we’ve been there.”

    I flew in June, and it was a very nice trip–in first class. No delays. Friendly staff. On time departures and arrivals. There are exceptions to every rule.

  6. Agree my experience w AA (and I have over 3 million miles w them) has been very good. Gary has become such a damn troll with the constant Marriott and AA bashing it ai disgusting. Gary – I know it is hard to actually write something people want to read but the use of click bait against these 2 companies is just lazy on your part

  7. I live in Dallas and have almost 4 million miles on AA but finally capitulated and moved to United after Two years of horrible service and constant delays. When I missed a flight to London (booked in F) because of short staffed terminal D ExPlat check in desk, I finally said ‘enough’. Although I have to make an extra connection to some destinations my experience as UA 1K has been a breath of fresh air.

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