More Flight Attendant Drama for American Airlines

Mar 16, 2012 5:28pm

Gailen David, the American Airlines flight attendant who posted a series of videos mocking his employer, has been fired.

Bruce Hicks, spokesman for American Airlines, told ABCNews.com he wanted to make it clear that David was not fired for the videos. He was fired, Hicks said, because of repeated violations of passenger privacy and conflicts of interest in the form of ads for other airlines on David’s web site.

He added  David had also posted photos of passengers in the Admirals Club Lounge, the airline’s frequent fliers club lounge, and passenger flight schedules on his web site. “We can’t condone it in any way,” he said.

Bruce Hicks elaborates on the firing of Gailen David in this video:

In February, the airline told ABCNews.com, ”We have never said we have any intention of firing Mr. David. We want to discuss Mr. David’s situation with him in-person as our contract with the  [flight attendants' union] APFA stipulates. So far he has been unavailable to do so.”

Hicks told ABCNews.com today that David did finally come in for a meeting and during the course of that meeting was handed a termination letter. He said that it was subsequent to the February statement that the passenger information and competitor ads appeared on David’s site, something the airline said David was spoken to about in the past and had promised not to do again.

David confirmed he had been fired. However, he said the airline’s claim that his termination had nothing to do with the videos is “totally untrue.”

He also said the ads in question were Google ads that automatically populate a web site based on its content and had been there since 2007.

“I write about airlines. Of course the ads would be for airlines,” he said.  ”Sometimes they were for American. Sometimes for Virgin America.”

David told ABCNews.com he had never posted  the flight details of any passenger who wasn’t an American Airlines executive who was, in his view, abusing the system.  He used Don Carty, former CEO and chairman, as an example. Carty, according to David, was given an exit package that included lifetime first-class travel for him and his family. David claimed Carty routinely shows up for flights at the last minute and has full-fare paying passengers in first class bumped back to coach to accommodate him.

He also claimed that Judith Rodin, who sits on the board of directors of AMR Corp., American Airlines’ parent company, once had a plane headed from Dallas to New York held for an hour to accommodate her. David said this cost the airline tens of thousands of dollars and caused passengers to miss  international connections.

“Customers don’t come first at American,” said David. “They [Carty and Rodin] can’t just fly around, enjoying life, while everyone else [at American Airlines] suffers.”

He admits he published their flight details in advance so employees would know who they were and they would “feel uncomfortable.”

American Airlines responded by saying, “First, those claims are false and ludicrous. Mr. David is a former employee with an axe to grind, nothing more than a sideshow that is a distraction from our mission.  He is not a constructive part of the solution.  It’s just that simple.   We don’t intend to make any further comment on Mr. David’s delusional allegations.”

So what’s next for Gailen David?

“Co-workers are depending on me to continue to blow the whistle,” he said. “I don’t want to tear down American. I love it and want it to survive. But they have to change the management in order to make it. The same management that has been guiding it through it’s decline has been in place for the last 10 years. And if I get a side job doing skits on SNL that would be great too.”

David is the latest controversy for the airline. AMR Corp., the airlines’ parent company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Nov. 29, 2011. A flight attendant was hospitalized last week after her rantings over the public address system grounded a plane headed for Chicago.

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