If there's no such thing as bad publicity, Glenn Beck has just given American Airlines valuable free airtime.
The Metroplex-based conservative talk show host devoted a big chunk of his Tuesday show to attacking the airline. Beck claims he was mistreated by an American flight attendant on a flight home from New York over Labor Day weekend.
“I want to personally thank American Airlines for bringing to my attention that they don’t mean ‘American Airlines—they mean ‘liberal American Airlines’ apparently,” Beck said.
You can read his comments here, or watch Beck let it rip on video:
Billy Hallowell of Beck's own site The Blaze sums it up from Beck's perspective, writing that the flight attendant "seemingly went out of his way to treat him with malice."
While this man was purportedly kind to others on the flight, he barked “breakfast” at Beck and slammed a soda down on his tray (and those are only two examples)."
“Never once did he look me in the eye. Never once did he offer a kind or even a neutral word to me,” Beck said . “I had service unlike I have never had ever before in my life, and I have had rude service before. I lived in New York City.”
Beck maintained that he had never experienced service that was “specifically designed to make me feel subhuman.” The host described how the attendant loudly told other passengers his life story — about how he was a former Israeli soldier and that he truly values the very liberal cities that exist in America. Clearly, these were details that were spouted as digs aimed at Beck.
The incident capped off what was apparently, for Beck, a wildly unpleasant visit to New York, which he called "one of the greatest cities in America" while also saying it is now "a very vile and hateful place, if you happen to have a different opinion."
As Anne Merland of the Dallas Observer wrote:
The Passion of Glenn Beck began in New York over the weekend, when he says he was treated rudely in a "minority-owned" barbecue shop and then "openly mocked" the next day by patrons at a breakfast spot.
"As I compared New York and Texas, there's not everybody in Texas agrees with me," Beck also said. "There's a lot of liberals in Texas. It's funny. We all have a neighbor here in Texas who is an Obama supporter. All of us do. But we're neighbors first, Texans second, and Republicans and Democrats somewhere way down on the list."
Beck told his listeners that upon deplaning, he spoke to the attendant:
“While he treated me as a subhuman, he treated my children nicely. So as I was deplaning, as he was standing next to the pilot, I said to him, ‘I want to sincerely thank you for not treating my children the way you treated me.’ His response? ‘It was my pleasure. You deserved it.’ The pilot didn’t say anything, nor did the other passengers, but they probably didn’t know what was going on.”
As David Koenig of the Associated Press noted, Beck devoted more time to the incident on Wednesday, and has called for the attendant to be fired:
“These big, stodgy airlines that think they can treat people like garbage — they can’t,” Beck said during a 14-minute segment on Wednesday’s show. He suggested that such poor service could explain why American had to seek bankruptcy protection, yet insisted that he wasn’t trying to hurt American and wasn’t urging fans to boycott the airline.
Laura Glading, the president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, was critical of Beck, as Andrea Ahles of the Star-Telegram reported:
"The APFA will not allow Mr. Beck, or anyone else for that matter, to use a bully pulpit to jeopardize the livelihood of an American worker," Glading said in a statement, while also adding that "everyone, regardless of politics or opinions towards the American labor movement, deserves and receives courteous and professional service from the flight crews of American Airlines.”