American Airlines fights back against a parody

Getting made fun of in public? Just about everyone will tell you that the best approach to the situation is NOT to go after those mocking you, especially not when the parody is actually funny. Nonetheless, American Airlines has decided to go after one of their own, bringing a 24-year veteran flight attendant in for investigation thanks to said flight attendant, among other things, sharing some pretty funny parody videos.


Never mind that Gailen has been writing about travel experiences for years, including some pretty snarky bits in the past (but all in a good way, IMO). Nope. Now is the time to go after the folks who are doing their job and doing it well. After all, firing someone with 20+ years seniority is way more effective at cutting budgets than cutting someone more junior. And when you’re facing a 20% budget cut, well, the bigger numbers start to look attractive.

This whole thing stinks. Not classy at all, AA. Not at all.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. It kind of plays into the first video on the page you linked 😉

    But in all seriousness, there is probably a clause that states that one is not allowed to post insulting messages about the carrier through social media, and because he is so high profile, they are using him to send a message and neuter the social media campaigns of the unions before they can really get going.

  2. If the employee violated the social media policy in place, then they should be called out for it, especially if it’s about your own employer.

  3. He has a pretty cool site… Any petitions or anything else we can sign or an address to tweet to support him?

  4. What exactly is wrong with enforcing a contract? I’m sure AA employees wouldn’t be happy is AA just said, “no more travel benefits.” This is the same situation flipped around.

    1. I agree that the company is almost certainly 100% within their rights to act. But it isn’t like this is the first time Gailen has written something and therefore is being reprimanded. Tacit historical approval might not guarantee future explicit approval, but it is a bad situation to be in from a PR perspective. Just ignoring it would’ve likely been way easier. It isn’t like the parodies were particularly damning to the brand to begin with. But now the chances of more people seeing them and hating on the big company go up significantly.

  5. That is what he gets Gailen David is a very nasty person in real life. I’m to happy that he is getting what he deserves. lol at him

  6. The AA way always trying to harass the employees, while being the first to break the rules themselves……

  7. Hey Seth AA puts themselves in the media on their own so we have the right to make fun and say things about them so long as the statements are not false. Plus they can write hundreds of rules but the law is what prevails in America

    1. Yes, Thormjh, the law is what prevails. And the law in this case is almost certainly on the side of the company. That whole “freedom of speech” thing only prevents the government from oppressing the populace; it doesn’t dictate terms of employee-employer contracts. The CBA almost certainly has some text in it that says something about not representing the company in public. And I’m guessing they’ve decided to finally enforce that clause. They’re quite likely not wrong from a legal perspective, but that doesn’t always make for good PR.

  8. Gailen put himself in a very, very vulnerable position here with the content and tone of his posting. I have no idea what the internal history between him and AA on similar matters is, but he’s certainly way out on a limb here.

  9. Having worked for AA for over 10 years, I can assure you that this kind of thing is against the rules. I was long gone before “social media” became common so I’m sure there are even additional rules about that by now, and in fact, I see the letter cites a “media policy” violation, now that I look at it again.

    That’s not to say that I am condoning what AA is doing, just stating facts as I know them.

  10. I’m a 100% Gailen fan and thoroughly enjoy his website, humor and Jetiquette posts. I do, however, think Matt and Marshall Jackson have totally valid points above. When I first watched the video, I do have to honestly say I thought he might have put a toe over “the line” this time.

    I truly wish him the best outcome. Hopefully it ends up being a formal reprimand in his file.

  11. It’s just a matter of corporate bullying. Trying to set an example of Gailen in hopes that the rank and file will fall in order. Nothing new, especially in such a tumultuous time for AA. What Gailen did was just reading the “Term Sheet” presented to the Flight Attendants by AA, albeit facetiously. Don’t know Gailen personally but if he is bitter and nasty as “her” said previously, I can understand why.

  12. Maybe it walks a fine line…but looks to me AA set themselves up for ridicule…Don’t want to be made fun of? Then don’t be corporate management boneheads!

  13. I’m totally with you Seth. I love Gailen and Jettiquette, and have found him to be delightful in person. He’s been doing this a long time, why would AA freak out now? Something very fishy there.

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