Back to Squawk list
  • 64

An airplane pilot went viral for scolding his passengers—Harvard expert says it’s great leadership: ‘Bravo’

When a video of an American Airlines pilot scolding his passengers during a pre-flight announcement went viral, some people deemed it patronizing. Others, including a Harvard University expert, are hailing the pilot’s speech as an example of strong leadership — at a time when passengers desperately need it. “I say bravo to the American Airlines pilot. He has every right to do that. He’s the captain of the flight, and he’s in charge of what happens,” Bill George, an executive fellow at Harvard… ( More...

Sort type: [Top] [Newest]

idgie57 31
Good story, but it doesn't take "an executive fellow at Harvard" to validate the pilot's actions.
i dont see anything wrong with this at all! people have gotten very "me first" selfish about everything,and especially on expect professionalism and courtesy from the flight crew,so why should it not go the other direction?i have been on flights,long before political issues or divisiveness were the norm, and had pilots make the announcement that the f/a's were on board mainly to provide for the safety and comfort of the passengers,so please be nice or respectful..never heard any complaints then, and it should be more applicable now! bravo to this captain as if there is any sort of hassle or fight or whatever,its his plane,his crew and the rest of the passengers he has to take care of (along with air marshalls if they happen to be on board!)..
ddieterich 23
Those sitting in the middle seats, you own both arm rests. That is my gift to you.

srobak 65
I've never understood the speakerphone in public thing. Nobody else is interested in listening to your conversation, the music you are listening to or the video you are watching. In the early 2000's my wife and I were in a 1/4 full Ruby Tuesday's and the guy in the booth next to us whips out his flip phone and goes on speaker with someone - and had it cranked. The restaurant was otherwise pretty quiet. After about 5 minutes of that and giving him a couple of looks that clearly conveyed my message - I went over to him and told him to knock it off. He looked at me in surprise and tried to tell me how busy he was. Guess what? Nobody here gives a shit how busy you are was the response he got - and I again told him to go off speaker or go out in the hall or I'd have him removed.

Use headphones or put it up to your ear. Stop being an attention whore.
EMK69 21
Good job and kudos for you, I would have done the same except he would have gotten some Marine Corps language.
btweston 18
Next time just join in their little public conversation. It’s funnier and you won’t have to threaten people like a douche, but you’ll have the satisfaction of embarrassing them.
Even when they put the headphones on, we still have to listen to their half of the conversation PERIOD if it was up to me. Restaurants, stores,airlines.
srobak 6
Their half is fine most of the time. It's not like other people attract talking all around. But the annoying, distorted sounds coming out of the speaker is always cranked too the max and the person on this end has to talk so loud to defeat the duplexing gate that it all ends up distracting to everyone in the establishment.
srobak 1
Damn phone.... "It's not like other people AREN'T talking all around"
Airlines, etc., should have cell phone blockers.
KatzyBaby 4
I really hate the people who enter a public restroom while on the phone and remain on the phone during their usage of the restroom. My solution has been to start flushing the toilet over and over and over. Usually they end the conversation. Rudeness should not be tolerated.
cos3asg 19
I once flew out of KCOS (long before 9/11) and the Captain greeted every pax at the aircraft door. Once boarding was complete, he gave a personal introduction and full briefing on the flight, its routing, expected weather and turbulence and timings for meals, etc. He introduced the cabin crew and outlined his expectations of every passenger while dealing with them. He concluded with his thanks for our attention and wishes for a pleasant experience. It never made the news, people were quite respectful (90% were) and everyone greeted their fellow pax. It was one of the nicest flights I’ve ever been on.
It’s a real shame that leadership is obsolete. PK
Greer Kemp 16
Excellent - all common sense, and he is 100% right when he said "I shouldn't have to say this..." but that is the issue - people are often just ignorant and selfish, especially in the confines of an aircraft where space is limited. Absolutely hat's off to this captain!
jetjocknj 15
I would never hesitate to support my FAs over the PA system, if ever needed. And sometimes I had to come close to threatening dire consequences to anyone onboard who disrespected or tried to thwart the FAs in carrying out their duties. It worked.
David Isaacs 15
Yay. It's about time someone did this.
dana leppert 22
If you don't like the rules to fly, go by wagon train next time. It's a little slower and certainly more dangerous, but the rules are more lax. See you at your destination in 5 month's. Happy trails to you!
EMK69 4
Had the pleasure of meeting him and Dale Evan once. What a very honorable man Roy was. Excellent post.
Bill Butler 3
Or, go vy electric car. Same time.
Harry Venison 1
The fastest electric car is Rimac Nevera 1408 kW that has top speed of 412 km/h (256 mph)

Not sure why any idiot would need to go any faster than that.
Dale Ballok 3
…and they were talking about allowing cell phone use during flights? Too many people lose track of their surroundings when on the phone, so end up annoying others within earshot!
Kim Johnson 20
Should be given for every flight!
1mooneymite 9
Since we're all passengers on spaceship "Earth", we all need to behave well toward our fellow passengers. This captain is just laying out implementing the golden rule which has proven effective for peaceful co-existence.

It's a shame our schools no longer teach the golden rule and airline captains have to do it.
True on all counts. Thank you for this dose of reality.
21voyageur 7
In very simple terms, it's nice to see when someone actually cares about others, their job, and is prepared to help in achieving some degree of calm. Sad that s/he had to go that far but good for them. Respect.
Martin Weaver 13
Too many flights have cockpit systems managers in the left seat. It sounds like this particular flight actually had a captain.
Paul Ipolito 11
Congrats to the Pilot in Charge! One small step in countering the Pussification of American. Tell It Like It Is!
Harry Venison -7
9 times out of 10 they are wearing a tRump hat
Come on!
stratofan 4
A tip of the hat to this AC for reminding those passengers, especially Gen Vapid how to act in pub-lic!
EMK69 11
About time a pilot had some balls.
the pilot was right. he is incharge and i control of the freight
John Fahey 3
Great job speaking up for the flight attendants and for setting standards. In the cockpit, he is removed from the ignorant behavior that may be going on in the main cabins. And the person who commented that the person who complains is the person who needs to hear what the Captain said. But by definition, the offender has to be offensive. And of course the company management will always agree with the person paying the bills. I hope that those managers do not become offensive too and censure the pilot in any way. I can't do anything meaningful to stop such censure because I haven't flown on American Airlines for as long as I can remember.
I see how few people actually listen to announcements and that shocks me. (Not helped by so many announcements being garbled with terrible diction or just not enough volume.) But worst of all when disembarking at a destination and I see the chaos when passengers try exiting the plane - and most people do seek a fast exit - I imagine how AWFUL it would be in (Heaven Forbid!) a real emergency. Crew can train and practice as much as you like but passengers are a VERY different story. This is not helped by the modem trend to pack in as many sardines into the can as physically possible. Am I better off not thinking about it or simply NEVER fly as a commercial passenger again?
Grd Newell 4
100%, certain groups buy cheap seats, push and shove forward as soon as they think they can get away with it. I've taken to standing up, moving into the aisle and allowing my seatmates to exit while holding back the typical cheap ass group of citizens. You konw who you are.
Dale Ballok 0
You probably try to control traffic on the highway where a lane ends and traffic has to merge, huh?
Your remark reminded me of a decades old Saturday Night Live skit with Dan Ackroyd as a subway worker undergoing training on announcements. The more clearly understood the message, the lower the grade. It was so funny and I often think of it when pilots come on to talk with passengers and 90% of the time I can't hear or understand them.
I agree with every single word the Captain said in his speech.
Well done !!
Duane Mader 3
Agree with everything the Cap said but the golden rule works both ways. Have recently seen stories on FlightAware of FAs being tyrants too. Just sayin’
1mooneymite 4
Golden rule works best when all follow it.
John Coode 5
There are many times these passengers have been treated like crap by the airline up until they sit down on that plane. Delayed, cancelled , rebooked, no customer service to call, etc. The Pilot is right that people should behave, but his airline isn’t helping.
Daniel Hagan 1
I don’t agree John. Call me lucky, but I’ve mostly been treated great by airline personnel. Check the level of your glass. Peace
John Coode 1
I didn't say personnel.
Dray Hines 2
The Pilot is in command of EVERYONE on that aircraft, INCLUDING all PASSENGERS.
terry gersdorf 2
So many people face time in public while on their calls WHY? Even while driving .... Idiots
mimana 2
That is right. Pilot in command. The rules are clear and fair. US passengers need to learn manners and get some class.
When airlines brought down the price of a ticket so low to travel they also invited the BUMS,the UNRULy,and whole host of misfits into an enclosed area for hours at the same time putting decent traveller and crew members to deal with these misfits.Thank you Capt of AA,I hope other airlines do the same thing.
Foxinthehouse1 4
Oh yeah, cause folks with money are never ever rude, and selfish right?
srobak 2
they are most often the worst
srobak -2
I'm guessing you don't fly very often, or at least not recently. Air travel is at some of the highest prices it has ever been, and while I agree with you that the captain should be praised - the amount of disruptive passengers is at the lowest it has been in several years.
I worked for three major airlines in Asia and N.America a total of 35 years and i have seen enough misfits and i have to say they come from both side of the populations rich and not so rich.
srobak 1
Ok - then you should know that your comment about low ticket prices is incorrect, and that there has been an 80% drop in incidents in 2 years.
I still belive that lower ticket price has been a factor for in flight unruly behavior,just look at where these incidents occur mostly in economy.Even if it is 99 percent drop it is one too many,this behavior is dangerous to fellow pax and crew.
Kevin Simons 2
I'm seriously considering the latter choice. The idea of getting on a commercial airline today makes me shudder. The airports are madness, the behavior in the aircraft is horrific, and of course the airlines are complicit in the decline of the experience because of the adulation and adoration of the almighty dollar. I think I'd rather drive.
Duane Mader 2
To avoid jealousy just tell the surrounding pax that he was on first class the previous flight and missed out on his dinner. Sheesh just some common sense and courtesy. Purser is not in the right line of work.
Duane Mader 1
Wrong article! The one with the purser scolding a pax does illustrate the point tho.
Frank Huber 1
I had to have the aircraft tugged back to the gate at KLGA to remove a passenger, who was being disrespectful to the flight crew in the back. I made an announcement to that effect and the passengers applauded it, despite the delay.
John Simpson 1
I like the initiative and leadership the pilot has taken but the “my will” part is a bit much in my opinion.
srobak 1
Not at all. In fact - it is spot on. People need to understand that when it comes to the aircraft - what he/she says is the golden rule and when it comes to what happens & who gets answered to while in operation - it's him/her and then it's God.
John Simpson 0
I’m not questioning the message, just how it’s delivered. “My will”. “My will” sounds biblical as if an ordanence by god.

I do not question that the pilot, and in fact all the crew, are responsible for ensuring that safety regulations are enforced. I’ve been on many flights where I wish unruly passengers had been handled better so I applaud the proactive step this pilot took in making that announcement. Just not completely onboard (forgive the pun) with the words he used.

But I respect your opinion on this just as you respect mine.

Will Hotch 1
Good news: this ugly business is trending down.
John Marks 0
The pilot said this?
Sheldon Lang -1
Good on this captain! It's sad that he had to go into such depth about common courtesy, which is clearly in short supply among passengers. The only thing he didn't mention is that Americans are amongst the rudest people in the world. A good lesson for all those who believe they're entitled to think they are at home and can do what they want.
srobak 1
You should travelling with Europeans some time - especially Eastern Europeans.
Sheldon Lang 1
I travel western Europe frequently, but have never been to Eastern Europe. My experiences with western Europeans pax including Scandinavian countries has always been excellent. Can't say the same for USA passengers. Too many are loudmouths who feel superior to anyone around them.


Don't have an account? Register now (free) for customized features, flight alerts, and more!
Did you know that FlightAware flight tracking is supported by advertising?
You can help us keep FlightAware free by allowing ads from We work hard to keep our advertising relevant and unobtrusive to create a great experience. It's quick and easy to whitelist ads on FlightAware or please consider our premium accounts.