Delta Responds to Ann Coulter After Taking Away Her Pre-Reserved Seat

Ann Coulter has not been a fan of Delta for several years, but she continues to fly them.

Last night Coulter went on a twitter tirade after being bumped from her seat on a New York – Florida flight. She criticized the way Delta agents handled the situation and photographed the passenger who wound up with her aisle seat.

Coulter makes it sound as though she lost a seat with extra legroom. However according to Delta she was moved from her pre-assigned exit row aisle seat to a window seat in the same row — which is still less desirable, but different facts than appeared in Coulter’s twitter feed.

She wants an explanation and her twitter tirade continued today.

However Delta had responded about 45 minutes earlier — just not to Coulter’s satisfaction, and not addressing the reason for the change which she still contends was never explained to her.

Delta concluded with this,

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. I don’t get why they had her move her seat. That is wrong. That being said she should have been thrown off the flight and banned by Delta once she started taking pictures of other passengers.

  2. You know she’s going to be on The View this week to milk all the publicity for all its worth.

  3. Am I missing something here. This passenger pays Delta for a specific seat … then Delta removes her from it and gives it to another person ….. yet the vast majority of folk on social media are happy with Delta ? Why would anyone condone this behaviour from any airline

  4. Good for Delta for not allowing her to abuse their customers and employees. Let her charter a private jet next time.

  5. Why can’t everyone be reasonable and polite? Maybe murican really need to implement Cabotage to improve flight experience….

  6. Agree with Michael. Don’t care what one thinks of Ann Coulter (for the record, not a fan), but given the publicity, Delta might want to explain why she was moved from the aisle seat she booked to a window seat. I’d be pissed, too, given I get an aisle seat every time.

  7. @Gary, I disagree with your 2nd comment. She asked for an explanation, not a response with $30…. this, to me, is like throwing $30 to her face and ask her to shut up, which is very rude.

  8. To me this is an example of abuse by airlines. I’m not big fan of Ms. Coulter but she is right. Why in the world would they need to move her? Many people have this happen to them. I know personally I’ve booked important vacation trips (not just my typical business hops) and spent months tending to my chosen seat only to have the airline move me for no reason. My theory is that they do this many times so that they can sit people together. Usually in my experience the people they are trying to sit together are people who didn’t bother to do this for themselves during the booking process or planning. I’m sure there are other reasons like for an air marshal, crew rest location, higher elite VIP type person, etc. but those are rare.

  9. Why was she removed? If this had been one of the left’s heroes, this blog would be up in arms over it.

    Delta’s rude response is incredible.

  10. People have preferences for where they sit. Delta understands this and sells this as a feature of their service. Delta can’t “unsell” it to a paying customer. Ms. Coulter has no recourse other than to vent on social media. Delta was wrong. Ms. Coulter was right.

  11. >Coulter makes it sound as though she lost a seat with extra legroom.

    Which tweet that you posted shows that? Maybe she hates window seats. Maybe she had a super-tight connection. There are lots of reasons she might want the seat she paid extra for other than a place for her long legs.

  12. All this mention of what Delta did and what Coulter did and said. Does anyone have an answer for WHY she was moved?

    That is the issue.

    The two tweets from Delta did not respond to the reason.

  13. I’ve got to say that I’m with Coulter on this one. Based on the available information she acted in good faith and paid for an advertised service. Delta failed to deliver that service. Seems pretty black and white to me. This is why we need more competition in the airline industry not less.

  14. irrespective of political bias, objectively, Delta did the wrong thing here, and it’s more than obvious.

  15. I’m with Bill here. She took a magnificent opportunity to be on the high ground, and blew it big time. If she had just acted in a more composed fashion, even the people that dislike her would be largely on her side. Instead, her petulance made her look even worse. As to the pictures of other passengers, who she apparently blamed for her situation without actual proof, she should be banned from Delta for such behavior. That’s the action of a bully, and this shaming stuff must end.

  16. I agree with Ann I paid for something that they gave to someone else after I was already boarded. I have said to people before once my ticket is scanned and I go down jetway and take my seat you have agreed to accept my money for that seat. Bad on Delta but once again no competition equals We do what we want when we want do not care what you paid for WE ARE IN CHARGE

  17. Although I’m generally a Delta fan, they are wrong from A to Z on this, no matter how they feel about what Coulter says about them. There are a lot of reasons people select a specific seat. Removing an unwilling passenger once seated — by crew member order or security dragging — is uncategorically wrong. Breach of contract, bad customer relations, you name it. When Coulter declined to move, doesn’t it make sense that the FA would ask if someone else in a similar seat was willing? Maybe we haven’t heard that part yet. But I doubt it.

    If they want to avoid this situation — and they should — they should treat a special seating need like this as a bump-offer situation and apply their supposedly new and generous compensation scheme. Based on what I’ve heard, they need to stop wiggling and apologize without qualification.

  18. Coulter’s behavior is boorish, but DL seems to AGAIN be wrong by now criticizing her for making “insults about our other customers and employees [that] are unacceptable.”

    First, I don’t think she has “insulted” any other customers. She posted a picture of the pax who got her seat — which is wrong — but not an insult.

    Second, she seems to have every right to insult DL. Again, she is being boorish (which reflects poorly on Coulter), but the reality seems to be that DL screwed up. When you screw up, you apologize. You don’t complain about being insulted.

  19. Yeah I’m pretty there is no expectation to privacy on an airplane. So you lose that one.

  20. Could someone fill me in, as a non USA person, who this Ann Coulter drama queen is? Thanks in advance.

  21. How did they force her to move. She had a ticket with a seat number. When asked to move, why did she not refuse. After that last incident, no airline is going to put their hands on a passenger. Something missing from this story.

  22. Cant stand the woman, but I agree with her 100%. Had it be me Id be as mad as she is especially if I paid for and chose a particular seat. Personally I always go for an aisle seat as I can extend my leg into the aisle for greater comfort. The window seat especially in the exit row, is always real cold and it affords me less leg room width wide. DL should refund the $ even if it was $5 once they booted her from her paid for picked seat and yes they owe her an explanation why they pulled her out of her paid assigned seat

  23. My guess is that Delta probably moved her to accommodate a disabled passenger who required an aisle seat. I assume that they can’t say this, as they shouldn’t disclose a passenger’s disabled status, especially after Coulter has tweeted the passenger’s picture. As many disabilities are invisible, Coulter would not be able to figure this out just by looking at the person who received her originally assigned seat.

  24. I don’t really have a huge issue with her complaining, despite the fact that she’s made a career out of it. Ultimately, when all was said and done, she complied with the demand to move. She also gave a qualified list of what she would consider good reasons why she would be forced to move, including FAM, or an elderly or disabled passenger (neither of which should be sitting in an exit row anyway).

    What it all boiled down to was most likely the airline moved her to another seat for the sole reason to accommodate the wishes of some other passenger, most certainly the one who then took her seat. I don’t have the information to speculate as to why this might have happened, but I’ve heard stories of flight attendants moving passengers to give a friend of the flight attendant a better seat. Most of the time, such a move would never get much attention. Hacked off passenger will get a refund on the fare difference and an apology from the airline, along with a a reiteration of the fact that seat assignments aren’t guaranteed, so ultimately such behavior can likely continue, since nobody really ends up shaking the tree that hard over it.

    HOWEVER… this time, instead of bumping some nameless nobody, they did it to Ann Coulter, probably not realizing who she was. Now the face of both the flight attendant and the passenger have been broadcast to her entire fan base, and with over a million followers, there’s a pretty good chance someone is going to recognize at least one or both of them, people will start asking questions why this happened, and if this situation is anything like I suspect it might be, and she admits that a Delta Flight attendant moved another customer just to give her friend a better seat (even if only slightly better), THAT is the kind of bad publicity that Delta really doesn’t need or want, and Ann Coulter isn’t likely going to be swayed to shut up with a refund on the ticket and a few thousand skypesos like any other passenger would.

    Keep in mind, it doesn’t matter if you like her, or agree with anything she says or does, the fact remains, if you’re going to intentionally piss her off, you had better have a good reason for it, or you’re going to hear about it.

  25. The comment section here shows what’s wrong with travel in America. Things happen when you travel; that does not entitle you to harass airline employees, it does not allow you to be abusive. Here, she tweeted photos of a passenger and said things like her being an immigrant who steals American jobs. Once a customer gets abusive, a company owes her nothing.

  26. @Lexy – logical thinking, but disabled passengers are never EVER booked into exit row seats. For obvious reasons (I am one, so not criticizing). Gary’s piece said her original seat was in an exit row.

    I’m no Coulter fan, but am definitely on her side this time.

  27. If this happened to me, I would have been really upset. I paid extra for the seat and now Delta just wants to take it from me at the last minute and give no explanation. Deltas message about returning the $30 misses the entire point and still doesn’t provide an explanation. Delta should have offered 10,000 sky pesos, a $30 refund, an explanation, and an apology.
    I fly a lot and just lower my expectations for both the airlines and fellow passengers. That way I am not disappointed too often. Life is too short and valuable to dwell on the little things.

  28. I could be way off, but the DL response specifically mentioning $30 (I’ve never seen this) and her scoldy follow up suggests that she may be “enjoying her platform” too, with a bit of an agenda.

    I’m not sure, but aren’t these DL tweets usually signed by initials? Interesting this one wasn’t.

  29. @colleen:

    Not correct. Most disabled passengers cannot sit in the exit row because they cannot fulfill the functions required in an emergency. This is not, however, true in all cases. The law can be found here: It reads, “Airlines may not keep anyone out of a specific seat on the basis of disability, or require anyone to sit in a particular seat on the basis of disability, except to comply with FAA or foreign-government safety requirements. FAA’s rule on exit row seating says that airlines may place in exit rows only persons who can perform a series of functions necessary in an emergency evacuation.” If the passenger’s disability does not prevent them from performing those functions, the airline cannot discriminate against them by refusing exit row seating. Say, for example, that the passenger’s disability is Crohn’s and they require an aisle seat near the restroom, they can probably still perform the required functions.

  30. What’s abusive is making a tall American adult sit in a seat sized for teenagers and little old ladies. She paid for the seat. She locked it in. If someone else required more leg room they should have taken a different flight (there are thousands of flights every day of the year) or they should have locked in the seat before her. Being 6’6″ myself I would have flipped out too. It is truely painful for me to ride in a regular seat. But I’m an adult and have the capacity to lock in the seat I require. If Delta tried to do that to me they would have to drag my 6’6″ 275lb mass off the plain for a big payday. It’s their terrible policy’s fault the flight would be cancelled. Hmm let this guy keep the seat he paid for or cancel the flight… Think about it.

  31. I think Gary just removed my post. At least it appears to have disappeared. Not sure why. Anyway, while it is true that in MOST cases disabled people cannot sit in exit row seats, there are exceptions to this rule. The US DoT website says, “Airlines may not keep anyone out of a specific seat on the basis of disability, or require anyone to sit in a particular seat on the basis of disability, except to comply with FAA or foreign-government safety requirements. FAA’s rule on exit row seating says that airlines may place in exit rows only persons who can perform a series of functions necessary in an emergency evacuation.” As a result, if the person’s disability does not prevent them from performing the required functions, they must still be allowed to sit in an exit row seat.

  32. Coulter is absolutely correct. My guess is the flight attendant harassed Coulter by booting her with no explanation. They should have asked who would want to move with reasonable compensation. Delta is wrong and deserves negative press. Very tacky for their customer service to respond via twitter. My opinion of delta has fallen even further towards the bottom.

  33. Gary –

    I noticed that you removed my post quoting Coulter’s tweet that was likely part of the reason why DL responded the way it did this afternoon.

    Just so that I can understand what’s fair game for discussion here (it’s your house and I want to play by your rules) – why did you delete that?


  34. Gary –

    Sorry, for some reason now my original post is showing “awaiting moderation” – presumably because of the pasted twitter link. Not sure why it wasn’t showing up at all at first, but hopefully it meets with your approval.


  35. This situation shows what’s wrong with US air travel:
    Ever since 9/11, the big US3 do whatever they want, ignoring contracts with their passengers, and – if in doubt – quote security as the reason why they can do whatever they want. Delta was wrong to move Ann Coulter or anybody else from a pre-booked and paid for seat, unless there were valid reasons (ie air marshal). When airlines start to charge extra for exit row and aisle seats, this becomes a breech of agreement, plain and simple! Beyond that, it’s just bad customer service…
    And (many) customers have become ever more entitled, bullying, insulting and abusing airline staff and other passengers, behaving with complete disrespect for other people around them.
    The airlines are the SERVICE provider and have to first fix their problems, including removing staff who is causing these issues. Once they have a better record themselves, they should ban abusive travelers, like in China, for the sake of their staff and other travelers!

  36. @DonT — Ah, I missed the dachshund quip. Yup, that’s an insult. Coulter can’t help herself.

    Of course, her tirade is really against Delta. Her demeanor is horrible, as it usually is. That said, her grievance, as best we can tell, is legitimate. Delta would do best by explaining what happened, apologizing, and reminding its staff of the correct procedures to follow when involuntarily moving customers. It’s better to let Coulter self-destruct than by complaining that a customer with a legitimate beef is being too harsh.

  37. @Adam… great comment. She is a bully with a sense of entitlement. If she hadn’t been so abusive to the FA, other passengers and on her Twitter account maybe Delta would have reacted differently. Things do happen when you travel and just because someone pays $30 extra for a seat assignment doesn’t give you the right to bully people and get abusive. If I were Delta I would ban her from the airline. She clearly doesn’t like Delta and we have to stop encouraging people who are bullies. Maybe she had a legitimate gripe but she lost all credibility when she starting abusing her so called celebrity status.

  38. Delta has a public statement now –

    Coulter made a change to her seat choice less than 24 hours from departure. Still no specific reason given for Delta changing it during boarding other than to accommodate several other passenger seat requests. But I have a hunch that her changing her seat less than 24 hours from departure may have helped create the situation.

  39. @iahphx The taking and posting a photo of an innocent passenger and then insulting how she looks was way way beyond the line. I had zero sympathy for her after that.

  40. @Mark If they banned her from the airline I’d probably make my next domestic flight Delta just because they did that. rofl.

  41. She’s still commenting back, saying Delta is Fascist for trying to stifle her free speech.

    Someone counted, and she’s tweeted 41 times about this.

  42. It is hard to understand why DL would need to move someone from a pre-purchased exit row seat. This is not a seat that handicapped people can take nor is it a seat that a family with small children can use. So there are only 2 explanations: (1) equipment change (not likely here) and (2) DL decided to bump AC for someone more important. The latter is completely unacceptable – if you sell the seat you need to fulfill your end of the deal, not pretend it didn’t happen. I personally hate window seats (unless they are also aisle seats – as in international business class) so I would not consider this an acceptable solution. I am sure if this happened to Jesse Jackson he would play the race card. In Ann’s case it was probably some unionized GA who recognized her …

  43. @Bill… I’m with you. She lost all credibility for her argument when she posted those pictures and insulted the woman. If anyone here has a claim it’s the people who are in the picture who should sue Ann Coulter for sending their picture out to over 1 million people with nasty disparaging comments about them. She has some chutzpah! I hope Gloria Allred grabs this case and sues her.

  44. If this happened to a gay guy, or a muslim, or michael moore, or basically any liberal/victim class, you’d be reverting to your normal evil big 3 airline stance, and you know it.

  45. Coulter needs to get a life / to get …. She has no right to all this abuse, and, as I understand it, she has zero right to photograph people on a plane and post the pics. Delta should ban her for life.

    I was bumped from premium economy to regular once, because a really fat man sat down beside me and needed two seats. I ended up having a great time chatting with my new seat mates and never even bothered to ask for a free drink. I can’t see Coulter enjoying chatting with anyone but a vampire or mass murderer.

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