An American Airlines plane.
Nik Oiko/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

  • An American Airlines passenger claims his girlfriend was kicked out of her first class seat.
  • In an X post, the man wrote that the crew initially said his girlfriend’s seat was broken.
  • He added that a pilot was seated in first class instead.

An American Airlines passenger claims his girlfriend was kicked out of her first-class seat so a pilot could sit there instead.

In a message about On Tuesday, passenger Jake Williams wrote that a gate agent upgraded the couple to first class. The couple were then informed that the girlfriend’s seat was broken and she would have to move “backwards”.

Then, says the passenger, a pilot took his place.

“You are all terrible,” the man’s message read. “You (the gate agent) upgraded my girlfriend and I to first class. You kicked her out because the broken seat moved her to the back. Then the pilot sat on said Broken seat.”

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The video shows a man dressed in what appears to be a pilot’s uniform getting into the seat. It is not clear what day the flight took place, where it came from or where it landed.

American Airlines and Williams did not respond to a request for comment made outside of normal business hours. However, a customer service representative commented on Williams’ post Tuesday, asking to “take a closer look” at her claim.

Sometimes off-duty pilots sit among other passengers because they are “head-to-head” or are paid to go to another location to work, but are not actively working.

Trade publication View from the Wing reported in August that while employees of other airlines typically sit in economy class when traveling heads-up, American Airlines pilots enjoy first-class priority thanks to a new collective agreement.

Pilots in front of an American Airlines plane.
Mike Stone/Reuters

According to the blog, head-down American Airlines pilots are given priority over passengers for upgrades. The idea is that the larger, more comfortable seats in first class help pilots rest better before flying an airliner.

Williams’ situation is not the first time a passenger has been kicked out of first class this year so a pilot can take their seat. In September, a 78-year-old man was downgraded to make way for a resting pilot.

The man flew with Qantas and was moved to economy class because there were no business class seats left.

“As part of their corporate agreement, pilots who travel to another city and then operate flights must be provided with a business class seat,” the airline said in a statement to Insider at the time .

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