- A passenger said American Airlines bumped him off a flight because it was overbooked.
- Gillie Da King said he was stuck in Madrid as American had no more flights to his airport that day.
- What to do if an airline bumps you from a flight — and how to lessen the chances it’ll happen to you.
A passenger, who said he’s a frequent flier and was flying first class, added that he was stranded in Europe after American Airlines overbooked his flight back to the US and gave his seat away.
Gillie Da King, a rapper from Philadelphia known for being part of the now-disbanded hip-hop group Major Figgas, said in an Instagram video that he was flying with American from Madrid. But he said the airline canceled his tickets before he arrived for the flight. He didn’t say in the video where he was flying to in the US.
Gillie Da King said he was an AAdvantage Executive Platinum member, the highest tier on American’s frequent-flyer program. Insider could not immediately confirm this.
“They literally oversold the flight and gave our tickets away man,” Gillie Da King said in the video posted on Wednesday, adding that he flew with the airline three times a week.
“Now they’re saying they ain’t got a flight back until Thursday. American Airlines — is this how you treat your Executive Platinum members?” he continued. “I’m confused, man.”
In another Instagram video, Gillie Da King could be seen speaking to a staff member at American’s check-in counter. In the video’s caption, he wrote that he had purchased four first-class seats on the flight.
“There is no flight going. We give you one option — there’s a flight you can take tomorrow,” the staff member could be heard telling Gillie Da King in the video, adding that American had no other flights that day.
The staff member said check-in closed at 11:30 a.m., but a woman could be heard insisting that Gillie Da King and his companions were there before that time. It’s unclear what time they arrived at the check-in counter.
“I don’t want to talk to you,” the staff member could be heard telling Gillie Da King in the video. “Do not shout to me that way, or we call the police,” he added.
Overbooking flights is a common practice among airlines because it ensures that money is made on every seat, even if some passengers don’t attend their flight. Airlines see empty seats sold to no-show passengers as lost revenue, but airlines usually avoid overbooking first-class seats as this might upset their most lucrative passengers.
American’s website says passengers should arrive at the airport at least three hours before their flight’s departure time but advises those flying from Madrid to check in 75 minutes before departure.
It’s not the first time American Airlines has given away a passenger’s paid seat. In May, a passenger said that American oversold her flight to Dallas-Fort Worth and that she was bumped from the flight before she was made to pay for a new ticket.
American Airlines and Gillie Da King did not immediately respond to requests for comment sent outside regular office hours.
Correction: August 10, 2023 — An earlier version of this story referred to Gillie Da King as a first-class passenger. The story has been changed to make it clear that Insider was not able to confirm Da King’s seat or frequent flier status at the time of publication.