American Airlines Flyers Rage After First Class Gets Preferential Treatment During ‘Dangerous’ Turbulence

Scandalous stuff.

American Airlines Flyers Rage After First Class Gets Preferential Treatment During ‘Dangerous’ Turbulence

Image: Dallas Morning News

American Airlines passengers were outraged over first-class receiving preferential service during turbulence while coach passengers were denied for safety reasons.

Turbulence has been on the tip of everyone’s tongue after the lethal Singapore Airlines incident went viral last week — if you’re wondering which aircraft are safest to fly, take a look at our data — but now some passengers flying across the USA have put American Airlines in the firing line after they clocked first-class passengers receiving preferential service during ‘dangerous turbulence’.

Unsurprisingly, the incident has sparked controversy and debate among passengers and aviation enthusiasts alike. A TikTok video by a passenger went viral, expressing frustration over the disparity in service between first class and coach. According to the passenger, while those in coach were denied drink service due to safety concerns, first-class passengers continued to be served. Scandalous stuff…

RELATED: What Happens When There’s Turbulence In The First Class Shower

Airline Safety Protocols

The issue stems from the logistics and safety protocols involved in serving drinks during turbulence. In coach, drinks are typically served from a heavy and unwieldy galley cart, which can be dangerous to maneuver during severe turbulence. In contrast, first class, with its smaller cabin of just 2-5 rows depending on the aircraft, allows flight attendants to deliver drinks individually, making it easier to manage even in turbulent conditions.

A screenshot of a TikTok where an American Airlines passenger complained about Preferential Treatment of first class passengers During 'Dangerous' Turbulence
Image: TikTok

Despite the TikTok creator’s claim that there “wasn’t any turbulence at all,” safety protocols are based on precautionary measures advised by the captain/pilot, often informed by reports from other aircraft or radar indications of upcoming storms. This precaution ensures the safety of both passengers and cabin crew, who can quickly return to their seats in first class, whereas in coach stowing the galley cart can be a long and cumbersome task that slows down their return to safety.

Balancing Service And Equity

As with any situation where people perceive themselves to be getting the rough end of the stick, the situation has left commenters torn. Some argue that first class perks, like drink service during turbulence, highlight the advantages of paying a premium. Others feel it underscores an uncomfortable truth about inequality and the value placed on the safety of coach passengers versus those in first class.

A mess on the SIA flight that encountered lethal turbulence last week.
The mess left in the galley after turbulence on a Singapore AIrlines flight last week. Image: BBC

What Happened On Singapore Airlines Last Week?

There’s an increased level of passenger sensitivity after a lethal incident on Singapore Airlines last week. Passengers on a flight from London to Singapore experienced a terrifying incident when very severe turbulence struck, with tragic consequences.

The turbulence hit unexpectedly as meal service was underway, causing the plane to drop over 1000 feet very suddenly. Geoff Kitchen, a 73-year-old British passenger, died from a suspected heart attack, and over 30 others were injured as people and objects were violently thrown around the cabin.

Passengers on the SIA flight that encountered lethal turbulence last week.
Image: Reuters

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade reported that eight Australians on board — out of a total of 56 Aussie passengers — were hospitalised in Bangkok due to their injuries.

After the chaotic breakfast service, the Boeing 777-300ER was forced to divert to Bangkok, where it made an emergency landing at 3:45 pm local time on Tuesday. The turbulence is said to have been so severe that passengers were launched into the ceiling of the cabin, causing severe injuries and denting overhead baggage compartments.

Does all of this turbulence talk, drinks-related or otherwise, put you off air travel? Or are you getting that vacation, no matter the risks involved?