Shoeless Joe, meet Shirtless José. One passenger suffered a meltdown when told that no window seats were available on his American Airlines flight to Florida.
Man Suffers Meltdown On Florida-Bound American Airlines Flight When Denied Window Seat
The incident occurred at Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) at the American Airlines boarding gate of a flight to Fort Lauderdale (FLL). According to video uploaded to the popular “Only In Broward” Instagram account, a passenger meltdown occurred when a man was told that there were no window seats available for his 1 hour, 55 minute flight to Florida.
View this post on Instagram
Judging by the blinking strobe lights, it appeared this man tried to get onboard the aircraft a bit earlier as well…perhaps to stake out his claim to a window seat. Perhaps he forgot he was not flying on Southwest Airlines?
View From The Wing notes that “the best strategy is to book your window seat when you buy your ticket,” which is quite true. However American Airlines aggressively restricts seating in coach, such that many windows, certainly for the front half of the economy class cabin at the very least, will be restricted for AAdvatange elite members or available for additional purchase. This seat policy often only leaves a handful of window seats in the rear third of the plane available for pre-assignment, meaning if you book at the last minute you are out of luck unless you are willing to pay up.
It is not clear what sort of charges “Shirtless José” faces. He does appear to push one gate agent and places his hat on another. Whether that constitutes sufficient grounds to charge him for battery remains to be seen, but he likely faces charges or disorderly conduct and I expect he will receive a ban from American Airlines for his poor behavior.
I love window seats too…but having a meltdown that leads to arrest is hardly an appropriate reaction to finding out that I have to sit in an aisle seat or middle seat. Perhaps there was some alcohol or drugs at play, but the man should have just tried to buy out his seatmate onboard. Surely, the time in jail will cost him a lot more.
image: @onlyinbroward / Instagram
Should be told to rebook on Spirit airlines.
Or WN. All of the people I sat with on four WN segments recently were all commenting on the sad state of pax behavior affairs. The oldest, a widow in her 80s, was nervous to fly considering this never ending mess. She had a “faith over fear” necklace on so we bonded about that.
FAA says it has sent more than 250 cases of unruly passengers to the FBI since late 2021
Airlines have reported fewer cases of unruly passengers since last April, when a federal judge struck down a requirement that people wear masks on planes and public transportation. Before that ruling, about two-thirds of all incidents on planes involved disputes over masks.
The FAA can levy civil fines but lacks authority to file criminal charges, so it asks the FBI to step in for the most serious cases.
The FBI did not say how often it acts on the FAA referrals. Assistant Director Luis Quesada said the bureau is “committed to investigating all incidents that fall within FBI jurisdiction aboard commercial flights,” but did not provide numbers.
The FAA announcement about came as lawmakers push legislation to create a new no-fly list for people convicted or fined for interfering with flight crews. A similar proposal backed by airline unions failed to gain ground last year in the face of opposition from conservatives and civil libertarians. The current FBI no-fly list is aimed at people suspected of terrorism ties.
Regardless of the background, this was unreasonable. The other thing is that the flight is only an hour and 55 minutes…
Not only that, most jails don’t have windows in the cells, so he’s going to be spending more than 2 hours without a window now, and he’s not even on his way to Florida
If he was a bit more obese, he could demand the next seat over from his middle seat for free.
Was he shirtless before or after?
I’ll say this on every passenger meltdown story. There’s no need to arrest this guy or throw him in jail. Nobody got hurt. Just refund his ticket, refuse future service, and send him on his way. The solution to every problem isn’t “throw ’em in jail.” We’ve made it nearly impossible for people with criminal records to reenter society, so when he gets out, he’ll likely become a greater burden on society. All because he acted like an a-hole one time at the airport.
How about he does not act as an a-hole ever so he would not have to deal with cops and jail time. Some people choose to learn the hard way. Their choice.
My point was that society would be better off if we didn’t have such harsh penalties (jail and the resulting criminal record) for such trivial infractions. He didn’t learn a lesson, he hurt nobody, he just inconvenienced a few people for a brief amount of time, and now we bear the financial cost of imprisoning him, then once he’s out, we’ll pay the cost of repatriating him when he’s no longer able to find meaningful work.
If you really believe that refunding someone’s money and “sending them on their way” would always ensure that they walk away without further disruption or incident, then you haven’t spent much time around people who are acting like lunatics in the first place. This guy, like many others, would not peacefully accept a refund (let alone a ban from the airline). Arresting him is not only for what he has already done, but the credible threat he poses for things he may very well do when he doesn’t get his way.
I appreciate Jerry’s point, but in this case it’s unlikely this miscreant was going to be “sent on his way” if he was denied boarding. I’m beginning to sound like “get off my lawn” guy, but I do see the wisdom in holding people to higher standards in particular circumstances such as airports when there are security issues and quite frankly, flying is a big deal to most of us, frequent fliers or with our families, to enjoy in peace, comfort, and good manners.
My family dresses up to fly (not in full business attire but like I would going to work or school). We budget a little more money and time for the airport to enjoy a nice cup of coffee, to be pleasant to those we encounter, and to have a good time.
That being said, society would send this guy the appropriate message that if you want to fly on modern aircraft, you have to behave yourself or he sits in a jail cell for a few hours until he gets his bail money. If some WASPish looking guy loses it in business class because he’s denied a pre boarding drink, most of us don’t feel sorry for him. I think it helps when we have both accountability but also support. We need a society where we treat each other with dignity and a few words of kindness can often do wonders, but it’s not a panacea.
On the other hand, cities like San Francisco and more recently Chicago have looting free-for-all on posh areas and very few of these kids suffer any consequences.
I say instead of letting them off easy as you suggest, we actually need harsher punishments. Not jail time, because clearly that doesn’t work, but we need to look to one of the most developed countries in the world: Singapore. We need to introduce Singapore-style cane ass-whooping, preferably public, as a deterrent for crappy crimes like this.
@Jan; 100000000% agree with you. we are bending our knees to the bad guys. This guy needs to learn he can act that way.
Jan, I think what differs between this incident, and the case of someone breaking in to a business and stealing goods is that in the shirtless man’s case, the only harm that was done was a slight inconvenience to those around him. Nothing was damaged, nobody was hurt, nobody suffered financially. If I were to break in to a business in Chicago (as you say) and steal a bunch of merchandise, the shop owner suffers a tangible financial hardship. I broke an actual law. Taking your shirt off and shouting a little bit is annoying, but is it necessarily illegal?
Better yet. Deport him back to where he came from before he got into the US illegally or via aslysum shopping.
I tend to agree as mass incarceration is a massive problem that hasn’t been much getting attention due to so many other pressing issues
SmartAsset: The American prison system is massive. So massive that its estimated turnover of $74 billion eclipses the GDP of 133 nations.
That being said, violent reoffending happens constantly and is also a huge concern. Here in Florida, inpatient mental health hospitals are at capacity so they routinely look to outpatient programs to alleviate the bed shortage
No easy answers on this one.
On tax day, perhaps it all boils down to taxation
It’s a nice sentiment in a perfect pie in the sky theoretical world, but is NOT reality.
First off he was out of control who knows what damage or injury he could or would have caused had he continued to stew and get worked up? Even if he eventually calmed down … would you want to have been trapped in a metal tube hurtling through the sky, what if he got worked up again midflight? Or worse yet, would you want sit next to him or anyone exhibiting that type of behavior?
Even getting arrested these days offers little deterrent with the shambles our justice system is in … all the cashless bail, no bail, and things that used to be felonies reduced to misdemeanors.
When I was younger, I was much more idealistic and held similar beliefs to the ones you expressed here Jerry, but real life and encounters with bad people cured me of that.
Also, what you lay out in terms of justification for this man not being arrested … not hurting anyone or damaging property … YET … means you thought being arrested was to harsh … to me a single female that once had a problem with a stalker I disagree!! People should have to be hurt (as was my case) or property shouldn’t have to be damaged BEFORE law enforcement can step in. This mentality is exactly how we get hurt. I am not willing to be at risk to sooth your conscience about societal problems that we humans haven’t managed to find solutions to yet. Unfortunately, we just haven’t evolved enough yet for the type of society you are hoping for.
The sad fact of the matter is that in this type of situation, whether it’s alcohol/drugs related, a mental health issue, anger management problems, or just selfish jerk that figures the penalty wont be bad enough to curb his behavior – more often than not in this situation things tend to escalate rather quickly when there are no consequences and/or when the police do not get involved. Again I am not willing to suffer harm, so that we can give people acting in this manner chance after chance to do the right thing or to not add to whatever problems may be plaguing them. Sorry. Maybe that is selfish, but that is how I feel.
Just another DemocRat voter
Other comments on similar reporting states he is MAGA..either way there’s not much decorum in much of domestic flying these days. Class went out the window a long time ago now. I welcome the days of refinement and best behavior for travel. Hopefully they aren’t gone for good.
Nah. Speaking Spanish. Probably a South FloriDUH Cuban Republican voter
Way out of line……AA just wants him off the manifest and out the terminal.
Good candidate for the “No fly list” .
This is almost four years old! Don’t you have anything important or new to write about?
Well you clicked through, didn’t you? And even left a comment.
So had he been white, would your headline would have been Shirtless “Joe”? I’m not offended but just curious what makes him Jose vs Joe.
Probably. If you turn up the audio, he is yelling in Spanish. I just thought it was a pun off of the baseball player “Shoeless Joe”
Nobody should be seated without a shirt … a barrier, so to speak, between the human body and the seatback that will, presumedly, serve another passenger. No shirt, no service, as signs say.