An American Airlines pilot has been spotted boasting a ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ luggage tag hanging off his bag as he waited in uniform to board a flight from St Lucia to Miami on Saturday.
The tag also said ‘#FJB’ which is shorthand for ‘Fuck Joe Biden’. The ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ chant was adopted by some Republicans last October as a means to criticize President Joe Biden.
The phrase quickly took on a new life to protest the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates and protestors, including some American Airlines pilots, have attended pickets outside the carrier’s headquarters in Texas shouting the slogan to protest AA’s vaccine mandate.
Dana Finley Morrison, a Sorority & Fraternity Professional from Colombia, noticed the luggage tag while waiting to board the flight and posted a photo to her Twitter account. Morrison has since been forced to restrict access to her Tweets after receiving a barrage of abuse.
“hey @AmericanAir – y’all cool with your pilots displaying this kind of cowardly rhetoric on their crew luggage when they’re in uniform, about to fly a plane,” Morrison wrote in the now hidden Tweet.
“We are not the only passengers who noticed and were disgusted,” the Tweet continued.
An American Airlines rep responded to Morrison promising to investigate the incident. “We hold our team members to the highest standards and expectations,” the airline told her in response to her complaint.
The history of the ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ chant can be traced back to an October 2, 2021, NASCAR race when an NBC reporter was interviewing 28-year-old racer Brandon Brown. The crowd behind Brandon were chanting something that the reporter at first thought was “Let’s go Brandon” in support of the racer.
In fact, it soon became clear that the crowd were chanting: “F**k Joe Biden”.
Later the same month, a Southwest Airlines pilot reportedly signed off an onboard passenger announcement on a flight between Houston and Albuquerque with the phrase.
Southwest said it was investigating the incident after facing a backlash on social media from some customers who demanded the pilot be sacked for using the politically charged and highly emotive phrase.
American Airlines pilots are barred from displaying non-approved accessories while in uniform, although the airline does allow pilots to wear up to three approved insignia on their jacket lapel.
In October 2020, the Dallas Fort Worth-based airline courted controversy when it created an official ‘Black Lives Matter’ pin. The Stand for Change badge is just one of many officially approved pins created by Employee Business Resource Groups. Along with the American flag pin, there is also a military veterans pin, a Pride badge and one for Christian workers.
The deadline for AA’s vaccine mandate passed last Tuesday with the airline saying that 97% of U.S.-based employees had either provided proof of vaccination or applied for an exemption.
Although the vast majority of workers have now complied with the mandate, the Allied Pilots Association reassured pilots that “management continues to reiterate that it does not intend to terminate any pilot for noncompliance with the vaccination requirement.”
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.