Liberal Commentator Refused Transportation on Delayed American Airlines Flight to Miami

Liberal commentator Cenk Uygur, host of The Young Turks, was delayed last night flying out of Los Angeles. He started taping the delay and commenting on it from the start. As the wait creeps on, passengers start to lose it and become belligerent with each other and with American Airlines personnel.

Since this is a 31 minute video I’m going to fast forward to some of the highlights. And note that the commentator — as well as other passengers — are using quite a bit of language that is very much ‘NSFW’.

7 minutes, 32 seconds:

16 minutes, 37 seconds:

Police were called to the gate.

At one point Uygur joins in yelling at staff ‘where’s the plane? where’s the plane?’

13 minutes, 7 seconds:

Eventually they’re brought another aircraft. Passengers are boarded. One passenger is refused transportation. Tensions are high, and Uygur compliments that American Airlines gate agent for how he handled the situation throughout, apologizing not just on behalf of the airline but also for himself.

22 minutes, 44 seconds:

Then he goes to board, as one of the last passengers onto the flight. And he’s told that he’s refused transportation as well, that the captain isn’t comfortable with him on the aircraft. And he loses it.

24 minutes, 18 seconds:

According to the YouTube upload of the video, the flight is AA219 from Los Angeles to Chicago but that flight was delayed only about an hour last night (and in fact arrived on time) and operated out of LAX gate 40, whereas this video was taken further into the terminal.

Cenk Uygur from The Young Turks had a ticket for a flight from Los Angeles LAX to Chicago ORD (flight 219) on April 9th 2016. The flight was cancelled/delayed for over 4 hours.

Since Uygur mentions Miami in the the video, and the late overnight Los Angeles – Miami flights operated from gates 47A and 48A and were each delayed about 4 hours last night, I believe it was actually from American Airlines flight AA204 which left from gate 48A, which is pictured in the video and departs around the time Uygur mentions at the end of the video.

American Airlines flight 1538 out of gate 47A was also delayed a similar amount of time enroute to Miami last night.

(HT: Rich D.)

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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Comments

  1. “..In his college and law school years, Uygur espoused socially conservative views. He wrote a column in The Daily Pennsylvanian criticizing Penn’s practice of affirmative action.[10] He supported the pro-life position on the abortion issue, criticized feminism, and argued that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was treated unjustly during his Senate confirmation hearings.[15] He also criticized organized religion as based on mythology and as a divisive force between people..”

  2. Well, from what I saw of the video, it does sound like American misled folks into thinking a plane was coming to the gate soon and then didn’t provide any updates for several hours. Hence the anger on the part of some passengers. But admittedly, we may only be getting part of the story here.

  3. Wow, “Communist commenter Cenk Uygur”, really? Seems like Melissa needs to grow up instead of covering for a pilot obviously engaging in some kind of racist profiling. Or maybe she just likes that kind of thing.

  4. He is filming everything and is screaming at the staff and cursing. I have no problem with him being kicked off. He took a bad situation and made it worse. You can complain, but that was borderline violent and once you get people worked up things can escalate quickly. There really is no reason to scream at someone repeatedly, be rude and to curse. It shows a total lack of control.

  5. I love the TYTs but he deserved to be kicked off. Yes, it is frustrating but no excuse to act like he did. He was condescending and an ahole. This is the kind of behavior I would expect from a Trump supporter. He needs a reality check. He is not as important as he seems to thinks he is.

  6. Is the excuse to throw someone off the plane even legal – that the captain is not comfortable ?? TYT does have a good number of followers. This is going to be a PR disaster for American.

  7. @Brian,

    If you watch the video, Mr. Uygur, already labeled a “Liberal”, gets into the face of the entire staff, and then baited the other low-information passengers to cause a small raucous. The decision was correct to kick him off the plane. He’s a communist; in fact, ban all smartphones—–the man clearly was a threat to the safety of the passengers with a proven misuse of his conduct. Oh, “freedom of speech, right to protest”, or the “I can show you a naked picture of my girlfriend” comment from a passenger—-all a bundle of bunk in this case.

    Again, no lounge for that guy. All the more reasons to have revenue based FF Mileage programs—keep them all off the flight.

  8. I’m certain I would be more comfortable if Melissa was the one not on my flight! What a vile hate-filled person!

  9. I’d be pissed too. American just strung everybody along and refused to answer basic questions like “where’s the plane” and “where’s the crew”? The video only starts 4 hours after the plane failed to show up, so suggesting this “liberal commentator” was out of line is being a willful DB.

  10. Something is up or down with American. My last flight out of SAN to PHXwas delayed due to mechanical difficulties and I couldn’t make my connection. So I rescheduled for the next leaving 4 hours for a domestic connection.

    That too was delayed and I was sitting next to a lady who was scheduled to fly in from Tokyo on America metal and guess what! ? She too had mechanical difficulty and was sent to SAN on ANA. These planes were relate led USA Airways with no charge ports. I thought maybe AA’s fleet is too old and this is the cause.

    Today I’m sitting at a DFW Admirals club and flew in on an MD super 80. No malfunctions..

  11. He probably was not a danger to the flight, and I probably would have had no qualms sitting next to him, but with the way he was acting he absolutely 100% deserved to be kicked off the flight. Don’t act like that in public.

  12. What a jerk! He absolutely is an over-dramatic prick who deserved to be escorted away. He is using this situation to make a story around himself. He really thinks that AA wants to piss off 140 customers for no obvious reason. He is making tons of wrong assumptions to suit his version. Any Captain could make this decision with only a description of the events and his actions. He does not need to be an eyewitness. This reminds me of a 4-year old’s tantrum but with a little bit of rhetorical skill.

  13. Wow, whether you approve of Uygur’s politics or not, approve of his behavior or not, of which I know little of either, since I didn’t watch the video, the hate spewing forth from Melissa seems far more offensive and a little nonsensical. Does the comment on revenue based FF mileage programs imply that only those with money are well behaved and deserve to fly? Hmm, maybe she is actually a recruiter for the communists…

  14. They call it inciting a riot. I wouldn’t have let him on the plane either. Reminds me of one of the black lives matter folks walking around in Ferguson urging the crowd to riot.

  15. This political crap is what makes your website SUCK.

    If I wanted to hear political commentary or discuss politics, then I would be at some hack site.

    As such, everyone, including Gary, has lost their minds thinking that this post is appropriate for a TRAVEL WEBSITE.

    IT IS NOT APPROPRIATE.

    Please stick to travel and keep the politics out of it, Gary. We know you are a Libertarian and you LOVE to take potshots on people and I just find that rude, classless, and inappropriate for a TRAVEL website.

    Travel is supposed to bring people together but you use articles like these to drive a wedge between people and make inappropriate political statements. It is because of these political jabs and potshots that recommending your website, though it has very good content, is not one I recommend. It is one I give people fair warning about because travel is supposed to bring people together, not divide us. But that is what you do.

  16. AA should reimburse him and put him on no fly list! Here is your money back and you are not welcome here…end of story

  17. I hadn’t noticed any politics in Gary’s post other than the statement that Uygur is a liberal commentator, which seems to be a fact, not a political opinion.The only “politics” I have seen in the post are the comments Melissa and you have made, or the responses to them. It does appear that you have anger issues very similar to the ones that Melissa has. Strangely similar, actually.

  18. Good riddance. He absolutely deserved to be booted from the flight on the basis of his own videotaped actions. He shows zero understanding of airline operations. His yelling at GAs did nothing to bring the plane any faster or get a crew any faster. Of course the captain booted him from the flight on the basis of the GAs’ descriptions and after the Captain sees this video, I’m sure he’ll be glad he believed the GAs’ characterizations. This Turk has no idea of appropriate human behavior.

  19. I agree with Paul that Gary was not making any political statement here. Now, he’s taken certain policy positions, such as over how American carriers are crying wolf over supposedly unfair ME carriers competition. But he’s entitled to his opinions in any event.

  20. @m-girl I fail to see how this article was political in nature other than identifying where the guy in the video works. Your comment was a total over reaction and misleading however.

  21. Two comments:
    1) In my personal experience on-time performance of AA is getting worse with many flights being delayed. And this is not only my personal opinion:
    http://www.wichita.edu/thisis/stories/story.asp?si=3179
    2) My last flight was delayed by 20 min due to air traffic problems in LGA (connecting airport). AA did automatic rebooking, Admirals Club assigned the seats, and the GA cleared the upgrades. I have ended up having both
    flights in F and arriving to the destination ahead of my original flight.

    So the system still works for EXP with 3M lifetime miles but the delays are getting rather annoying. It is certainly much worse for someone without any status but then you only fly a few times a year rather than every week. My point is that if you take 1 roundtrip/year and one of your flights is delayed as in this story, then you will looses only 4 hrs of your life seating next to the gate. However, if you take 50 round trips a year, that would be 200 hrs = ca. 8 days of your life!

    Suggestion to Uygur would be to to sign up for Admirals Club (even so it would be closed at the time of his flight – but why take a red eye to MIA in coach?) and use his time for something more entertaining than being escorted from an airplane. If his goal was getting to MIA as quickly as possible, he failed rather miserably.

  22. The Ugly Liberal is out and in force. Was he on his way to protest a Trump Speech or something? Whats up with the all hatred and angries from the left?

  23. @Bill

    The headline of the post is “Liberal Commentator”! Your reading comprehension is VERY POOR!

  24. @JohnB

    “Liberal Comentator” is a job description.

    It’s only political if you read politics into it. It’s no more political than describing someone as a “conservative pastor” would make a post “religious”.

  25. @m-girl … If you want to criticize me that’s fine, but reading your comment I’m genuinely not sure what I posted that you’re unhappy about. What did you consider to be ‘political crap’ in this post? I identified who this person is, why he is significant, he’s a well-known liberal commentator. I didn’t suggest his politics in any way was related to his behavior.

    And I’m not sure how I’m taking potshots at people, I simply shared a video that the man took himself (and livestreamed).

    If you’d like to explain how what I’ve written is ‘dividing us’ that would be a concern for me and I’d want to know. But in order to do that, in a way that could make a difference, what you’d want to do is reference my actual post, what I said, and share why you’re having this reaction.

    Thanks,
    Gary

  26. fat white men patting each-other on the back, “you’re good bro”. They’re idiots–no worries. rock on gary et all

  27. I like Ceng and the TYT. However, all this drama over a three hour delay? In my experience only a three hour delay on AA is a good day I would think that he would have traveled enough not to let such a such launch him in to a meltdown.

  28. @mallthus,

    Um, No! Political Commentator would be a job description. When “liberal” was added, it became a political label. Sorry, you’re wrong!

  29. @Tom, the issue wasn’t just because there was a four hour delay (not just three hours), it was that the gate agents kept promising the “plane is on its way from the hanger,” when no such plane was on its way for that entire delay duration. If the gate agents were up front with the passengers and said there is no plane available and that the delay will be over three hours, you would not have seen this drama.

    As for the “Liberal Commentator” in the title, I don’t think that was appropriate as it either implies someone of liberal political persuasion had caused this denial of boarding or that the crew denied him boarding due to his political opinions. “Political commentator” would have sufficed as that basically says this was a public figure and it identifies why.

  30. During the pilot slowdown I was sitting on an AA redeye nonstop at the gate at LAX for over an hour when we got a text changing the departure time to the next morning. Pax starting discussing this while we waited another hour for the announcement. We were then let off the plane to wander around the terminal. Everyone very quiet and sleepwalky. Gate agents kept telling us there’s no other flights and no way to get out of the airport at that hour. Service center remained closed.

    I was walking the length of terminal when I noticed a special section had been put up to DFW at 3 am where I inquired and learned I could get to FLL just an hour later than the delayed flight was scheduled to arrive. Agent confided original flight might not even fly since they had pulled the pilot off to fly a bigger plane to MIA half full without offering to let us change flights to get to So Fla, many other flights needed pilots early the next morning, and ours was scheduled to leave before TSA even opened..

    So there is a history of this kind of incompetence which doesn’t seem to have improved.

    I took the flight via DFW which was half full, and later learned the delayed FLL nonstop was canceled.

  31. During the pilot slowdown I was sitting on an AA redeye nonstop at the gate at LAX for over an hour when we got a text changing the departure time to the next morning. Pax starting discussing this while we waited another hour for the announcement. We were then let off the plane to wander around the terminal. Everyone very quiet and sleepwalky. Gate agents kept telling us there’s no other flights and no way to get out of the airport at that hour. Service center remained closed.

    I was walking the length of terminal when I noticed a special section had been put up to DFW at 3 am where I inquired and learned I could get to FLL just an hour later than the delayed flight was scheduled to arrive. Agent confided original flight might not even fly since they had pulled the pilot off to fly a bigger plane to MIA half full without offering to let us change flights to get to So Fla, many other flights needed pilots early the next morning, and ours was scheduled to leave before TSA even opened.. But no announcements were made beckoning others to the special section, causing only a few to hear via word of mouth.

    So there is a history of this kind of incompetence which doesn’t seem to have improved.

    I took the flight via DFW which was half full, and later learned the delayed FLL nonstop was canceled.

  32. I like the TYT news site. I appreciate the manner of Cenk,s unbiased political commentary – unless you want to say all staff at TYT are biased in favor of real facts instead of alternative facts. I recognize that a more neutral demeanor is more appropriate for a news commentator but do share Cenk,s passion for fighting insane injustice. I don’t think his loud questions regarding the runaround they got were overly aggressive or obnoxious. HOWEVER, using foul language in public, especially around children is inexcusable. Whenever I have gotten abused by bureaucratic BS, I have always eventually gotten as assertive as Cenk did, and likewise been just as soft spoken and complimentary of helpful staff as he obviously was as well. Do I would have probably been even more aggressive in my demands for decent treatment from AA. However, had I been a witness to Cenk,s foul language during that incident, I surely would have taken him to task regarding that behavior. Thank you for reading my opinion.

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