In many industries, customer is king. But if you've spent any time flying lately, you'll know that commercial air travel sure does not typically feel like one of them. Indeed, you can feel downright lucky just to be on your plane — that means it wasn't cancelled! — and paying additional fees for every a la cart cost imaginable.
But, as Insta celeb and fitness model Jen Selter found out, you can also get kicked off for basically being impolite — or more specifically, for backtalking and sarcasm, whether real or perceived. And if you don't know yet that the airlines have all the power in that regard, read this.
The Instagram influencer with nearly 12 million followers was flying American Airlines from Miami to New York when the aircraft encountered a nearly three-hour delay at the gate. Jen stood up to put her jacket in the overhead bin, when a male flight attendant yelled at her to sit down — and an argument ensued. She later began filming and explained that there were people in the aisles and in the bathroom at the time and "the plane was going nowhere."
Jen claims she simply told the flight attendant about the facts as she saw them, and he responded: "Do you want to get off this plane?" She answered sarcastically, "Yes."
It seemed like the kind of relatively innocent, if snarky, thing you say when you've been trapped on an immobile plane for three hours with a grumpy flight attendant, and the kind of thing that typically gets a few laughs from surrounding passengers (who stood up for her in the video).
But according to the flight attendant, that single word was her ticket off the aircraft — and American Airlines meant serious business. In the video, you can hear her telling the staff, "I was obviously being sarcastic."
In the video you can hear someone saying the male flight attendant "harassed her" for no reason, while another passenger who didn't know Jen, got off the plane in protest of how Jen was treated. According to The Points Guy's take on the whole thing, the fasten seatbelt sign wouldn't normally be on while at the gate so it shouldn't have really been an issue for her to get up — it would have been a different situation if they were on the runway. She told Page Six that the flight attendant had something against her. You can hear her crying when the police tell her to get off the plane.
American Airlines issued this statement to The Points Guy: "Ms. Selter was asked to leave the aircraft after a disagreement occurred Saturday night at Miami International Airport (MIA). American offered her hotel accommodations and transportation, which she declined. She flew on American Sunday morning back to New York (LGA) — arriving around 8:30 a.m. ET yesterday morning." Here's Jen's response:
Like many similar instances, this story involves a tale of two perspectives. But it's also a useful reminder when you're frustrated on a plane that it's the airline staff that has the power to determine whether or not you remain on board or not.
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