Rapper With Elite Status Denied Check-In By American Airlines In Madrid

Philadelphia rapper Gillie Da King, formerly Gillie Da Kid, was denied check-in by American Airlines in Madrid. His party of four passengers, flying business class, missed the check-in time and they get into an argument – they were at the airport before the cutoff, but weren’t checked in.

As a result, they’re told the best they can do is go standby for the same flight the following day. American’s Dallas flight and New York JFK flights are earlier, and the airline has nothing else later in the day.

The staffer tells the rapper, an AAdvantage Executive Platinum member, “I don’t want to talk to you” and threatens to call the police.

Mr. Da Kid shares with 3.3 million followers on Instagram,

@americanair i don’t have to say anything because this says enough we paid 4 first class flights they oversold the plane and tried to give us buddy passes 🤦🏾‍♂️ and they threatened to call the cops cause he said something to us that wasn’t True 💯 This is a perfect example of what being black will get u @americanair lets not forget I’m a Executive Platinum Member

This has nothing to do with “being black,” the group clearly came off frustrated and heated, but the situation was clearly handled with poor service.

Gillie Da Kid’s son, known as YNG Cheese, was shot in the back and killed July 20th. Gillie hosts the top music podcast on Apple Podcasts, “Million Dollaz Worth of Game,” which averages a million listeners per weekly episode. Not only is he grieving, but it’s understandable that he’d interpret the situation through the frame of race considering less than a year ago he was stopped while boarding an American Airlines flight and asked to search his bag for drugs (“Plane full of white folks leaving Dallas and the only black man is ask does he have illegal narcotics in his bag”).

American’s published rule requires you to be checked in 60 minutes prior to an international flight. However Madrid is an exception where the rule is 75 minutes. They’re arguing over whether the passengers were there at 11:30 a.m., 75 minutes prior to the flight’s 12:45 p.m. departure time.

Not published publicly, but there’s generally a 3 minute grace period. It’s also possible for a supervisor with a 7 sine in QIK to override minimum check-in times.

Flight 431 from Madrid to Philadelphia departed 2 minutes early on Tuesday.

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 »

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  1. Regardless of this specific incident, it’s pretty disheartening to see so many commenters feel so sure about race, its effects, and how people of color are treated in various situations.

    Just truly amazing how confident people can be of something they have never experienced.

  2. The more you veer from polite language and a calm tone of voice, the less anyone is likely to go out of their way to help you. This advice is as old as the bible.

  3. @gene

    International flights require positive bag match to the traveler. If the customer is not on, the bags have to be removed from the cargo hold. This requires the airline to go thru all bags to find theirs and delays the flight.

    Security at some airports require more time due to long lines. This is usually the reason for the time cut off. The airlines recommend being at the airport 2-3 hours before departure for international flights.

    Race, elite status, class booked is all irrelevant. Show up on time.

  4. @gene

    Passengers have to be checked in 1:15 prior ..not in line or at the airport.
    All international flights require a passport swipe on the kiosk or by the agent.
    You are not checked in until your passport is checked.

    International flights have been asking passengers (at the ticket counter or gate) for over 30 years if they checked their bags, if they have been out of their sight, has anyone else had access to their bags etc..

  5. We had almost the same thing happen to us on an Air NZ flight from Sydney. Our cruise ship was delayed about an hour debarking, and then the subway simply stopped for over 30 minutes. Then there were long lines at the kiosks to check in. Wasted another 5 minutes at the kiosk, which couldn’t read my passport. Got to the check-in desk, where they told us that we were just past the check-in time limit. At that point, we were hugely disappointed, but understood that once we missed their cut-off, we were going to miss the flight.

    I made the big mistake of booking via Amex Travel. Called them and chatted with various agents for over two hours. Ultimately, they said that we were classified as no-shows and our tickets had no value. Finally, went back to Air NZ’s service desk and a very nice guy said he’d see if he could find some value in our tickets; which he did. We had to pay roughly an additional $500 per person, which wasn’t bad on business class tickets that were in the $8,000 range (for both of us). Spent the night at an airport hotel, and got home a day late. We chalked it up to bad luck and since we didn’t slam the airline on social media, we didn’t become media stars. Found some great food trucks just across the Harbor Bridge, so it wasn’t a total loss.

  6. As easy and even cathartic as it is slam American Airlines, in this case. The passenger only has himself to blame- people who think they can arrive at the airport less than an hour before departure for any international flight check in and get through security with zero problems is frankly deluded. AA’s own guidance says passengers should check in at least 75 min before this particular flight. The logistics of air travel are not flexible on YOUR schedule. Also the issue was NOT where they at the AIRPORT before 1130 , but did they CHECK IN before 1130. The answer to that seems to be a very clear NO. Here is the answer – Get to the airport EARLY. And as Gille da King he says he is the highest tier or elite frequent flyers, he could have just chilled out in the AA lounge. I am NOT defending AA’s dumpster fire level of customer service, but in this case the airline is not to blame.

  7. Whitesplaining is so cringe.

    Exactly why do you believe with such certainty that this had nothing to do with race? Were you there? Did you observe what happened?

    Exactly how is it anything but racist for some white blogger to correct what a black man said happened to him?

    I’ve been EP for years. American Airlines is 100% capable of delivering crap customer service and shutting down any interaction in which they are held to account for their appalling behavior. And they’re capable of doing so for the most racist of reasons.

    Based on my own personal experience of American Airlines, I believe the guy in the video. It’s 100% plausible that they were forced to wait in line until they were out of time and that the clerk assumed he could dismiss them because of their skin color. 100% credible, no need for some blogger to whitesplain the situation.

  8. Threatening to call the police on black people in the absence of any actual threat should be a punishable offense. I don’t see why this is any less racist and egregious than the Amy Cooper incident in Central Park.

    The AA agent needs to be fired. And American needs to apologize.

    And Gary Leff needs to apologize for the insufferable whitesplaining. Will you people never learn? It seems so.

  9. Thank you for your explanation Patrick. Life must be very difficult with your persistent victim mentality. Your own comments are highly racist as well.

    As an airline employee, I can assure you that the agent will not be fired, nor will any apology be issued.

  10. He only has himself to blame. It makes no difference of the color of his skin. Stop it! Regardless if you are rich, or executive platinum, which by the way there are 1,000’s of, nothing special here, you have to follow the rules. Blame yourself, not American Airlines. He is a joke!

  11. No. If this happened to you, Gene, it wouldn’t feel racially motivated and/or executed. The origin of the issue experienced by these 1st class seat holders is waaayyyy out of line for any customer with the type of membership Gillie has. I’m just a regular Alaska Airlines mileage plan member and I’d be appalled by the way this was handled. Gene, what you and the rest of us just witnessed through Gillie’s sharing of the experience, is a glimpse of what racism can look like and how it’s absorbed in real time. Yet, I doubt any of that registered for you, Gene, and the rest of these commenters who echo your sentiments.

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