On the same day and at the same airport last year three pilots faked fuel emergencies in order to get priority for landing. But that was Kolkata, India, and the airlines in question were IndiGo, Air India, and SpiceJet.
You certainly don’t expect anything like that to happen in the U.S., although some pilots have a sense of humor that might lead certain passengers to think something like that is happening.
The pilot of JetBlue flight 424 from Los Angeles to New York JFK reportedly announced to passengers halfway through the flight that they’d be given priority to land in New York “because a competition winner, who was expected to meet [Ryan] Seacrest in [New York City] ahead of his New Year’s Eve event, was on board.”
Turns out a Katie Roberts, who had won an invitation to Seacrest’s “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” show, was on the flight and air-traffic control had given the Airbus A321 “priority handling.” Fellow fliers even gave Roberts a round of applause.
Because that’s (not) how it works, and separately Seacrest’s team says that “No one involved with [“New Year’s Rockin’ Eve”] that we checked with is aware of this person or any related promotion.”
In China commercial flights with VIP passengers get air traffic control priority. Those sorts of things are far more limited in the United States, and when they happen it’s not because of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon from Ryan Seacrest. Someone wishing to disprove me could, of course, pull up air traffic control conversations…