By Editor, July 28th, 2023.
An American Airlines flight bound for Guyana took an unexpected detour back to JFK Airport in New York City after a heated exchange between a passenger and a crew member. Flight number 2557, was on its way to Georgetown, Guyana, when it was forced to turn around and go back due to the incident involving Joel Ghansham, a passenger from Guyana.
According to local reports, the trouble began when Ghansham asked a flight attendant for assistance in storing his luggage in the overhead compartment due to recent spine surgery. Instead of offering help, the crew member allegedly dismissed the request, prompting Ghansham to share his displeasure with the service.
During the beverage service, the same crew member approached Ghansham again, offering him a drink. In response, Ghansham referred to the crew member as a “waiter” – a remark that didn’t sit well with the flight attendant. The situation quickly escalated as the crew member warned he had the power to turn the plane around.
In a surprising turn of events, the pilot announced that the flight would be heading back to JFK Airport. Ghansham claims he never caused a scene or engaged in an argument, but the airline classified him as a “disruptive passenger.” He was subsequently removed from the flight and interviewed by authorities before being allowed to leave.
Following the incident, American Airlines issued an apology to Ghansham, offering 10,000 Advantage bonus miles as a gesture of goodwill. However, the passenger is not satisfied with the airline’s response, disputing their portrayal of the events.
This incident sheds light on the challenges airlines face in managing in-flight disputes. With tensions running high and a growing focus on passenger rights, airlines must navigate these situations with care to ensure both safety and customer satisfaction.
An American pastor has come out in defence of Guyanese Indian cultural activist, Joel Ghansham, who apparently angered an American Airlines cabin attendant by describing him as a “waiter” and forced the Guyana-bound flight to return to the United States.
“In my evaluation Mr. Ghansham was discriminated against due to his alternative lifestyle, manner of dress, and characteristics,” Pastor Brian E. Jenkins said on his Facebook page.
Mr Jenkins was among hundreds of passengers aboard flight AA 2557 who were returned to the John F. Kennedy Airport on January 18, 2023 as a result of a “disruptive customer” as “safety and security are our top priorities.” Ghansham had admitted to calling a cabin attendant, who had refused to place his baggage in the overhead locker, a “waiter”.
Pastor Jenkins, who is the Executive Director of Chosen 300 Ministries, Inc; said he concluded that Ghansham was the victim of discrimination based on an interview with him, a review of articles published about the incident and his personal observation of what had transpired.
“I would also like to note I was sitting on the aisle on the opposite side of Mr. Ghansham just 10 rows back. There was no commotion, Mr Ghansham never got out of his seat nor did I notice him hollering, raising his voice or appearing threatening.
American Airlines has since written all of the passengers, including Ghansham, apologising for the disruption and providing 10,000 bonus miles. No mention was made about the incident.
The slogan of American Airlines is Fly the American Way.
Souces: Hindustan Times, Demerarawaves.com