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‘Disruptive’ passenger forced plane to turn around after calling crew members ‘waiter’

Anish Vij

Published 
| Last updated 

‘Disruptive’ passenger forced plane to turn around after calling crew members ‘waiter’

Featured Image Credit: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images / Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Yep, you read the headline correctly - a ‘disruptive’ passenger allegedly forced American Airlines (AA) to turn their plane around after he called a crew member a ‘waiter’.

When you think you've seen it all, think again.

The AA flight 2557 from New York City to Guyana returned to JFK Airport on July 18 when passenger, Joel Ghansham, had a disagreement with a flight attendant.

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The ‘disruptive’ passenger who allegedly forced American Airlines (AA) to turn their plane around. Credit: Instagram / @joel.ghansham
The ‘disruptive’ passenger who allegedly forced American Airlines (AA) to turn their plane around. Credit: Instagram / @joel.ghansham

According to Ghansham's interview with Demerara Waves, during meal time an hour in to the flight, the attendant apparently refused to help Ghansham with his bag because 'I don't do that, I don't get paid for that'. Ghansham had apparently underwent surgery which meant he could 'not lift things'.

When they were later asked if he wanted something to drink, Ghansham responded: "No thank you, waiter."

The fuming flight attendant then allegedly told Ghansham he was, in fact, not a waiter and that he 'had the power to turn the plane'.

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"You must be God so you do it," Ghansham responded.

At which point the pilot had announced that the flight would be heading back to its starting point in New York City.

"There was not a disruption. I never got up.

"There was not an argument, there was not a confrontation, nobody touched each other. He was wearing a mask. He wasn't even loud. It was just his pride."

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The AA flight 2557 from New York City to Guyana returned to JFK Airport on July 18 when passenger Joel Ghansham had a disagreement with a flight attendant. Credit: Instagram / @joel.ghansham
The AA flight 2557 from New York City to Guyana returned to JFK Airport on July 18 when passenger Joel Ghansham had a disagreement with a flight attendant. Credit: Instagram / @joel.ghansham

Two days after the flight, the airline allegedly wrote Ghansham an apology letter and provided him with 10,000 free miles as compensation, according to Stabroek News.

“We are writing to follow up with you about the delay of flight AA2557 on July 18, 2023. We recognize that many of our customers’ important plans were significantly affected, and for that, we are very sorry,” an unverified letter posted by the outlet reads.

“In appreciation for your patience, we have added 10,000 AAdvantage bonus miles to your account. You should see the adjustment in your account soon, and you can view this activity on our website at aa.com AAdvantage.

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“We look forward to providing you with a more positive experience in the future. From all of us at American Airlines, please know that we greatly appreciate you and we hope to see you on board again soon.”

The attendant apparently refused to help Ghansham with his bag. Credit: Instagram / @joel.ghansham
The attendant apparently refused to help Ghansham with his bag. Credit: Instagram / @joel.ghansham

However, Ghansham says he is 'not accepting it'.

Brian Jenkins, Ghansham’s fellow passenger from the flight, said on social media: "Ghansham was discriminated against due to his alternative lifestyle, manner of dress, and characteristics."

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AA have issued a small statement and told Insider in an email: "Safety and security are our top priorities, and we thank our customers for their understanding and our team members for their professionalism in managing a difficult situation."

UNILAD has contacted AA for additional comment.

Topics: News, Travel, US News, American Airlines

Anish Vij
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