An American Airlines passenger claims a flight attendant deliberately blocked the aisle between First Class and the Economy Class section to stop passengers from using the restroom at the front of the aircraft.
James Nunziati says he was on American Airlines flight 1883 from Los Angeles to Miami when the flight attendant parked a meal trolley at the back of the First Class cabin, which is around row 4 on the Boeing 737MAX.
Nunziati posted a photo on X, which appears to show the flight attendant walking towards the trolley, which is preventing passengers from coming through the curtain into the First Class cabin.
“[I] can’t believe your flight attendant blocks the aisle. I get they don’t want people in first class, but there must be a better way,” Nunziati wrote. “Feels like a safety hazard and makes this flight even more cramp[ed].”
Nunziati finishes off his post: “Thanks for the love. That’s what my EP status gets me”.
EP status stands for Executive Platinum which is AA’s highest elite member status which is only awarded to members of the AAdvantage program who earn at least 200,000 Loyalty Points in a status qualification year.
Unlike some airlines, AA does not have a policy forbidding Economy Class cabin from using the First Class cabin on domestic flights or even any flight departing from the United States.
The policy has been in place for years, but it really came to the attention of the public in 2018 when the media reported it has a travel hack to skip long bathroom lines and as a way to avoid using cramped space-saving lavatories that Boeing designed for the 737MAX.
American Airlines flight attendants will use a meal trolley to block the flight deck when a pilot needs to leave the cockpit in order to use the bathroom or visit the galley, but the trolley is normally positioned between the galley and row 1.
Meal trolleys should never be left unattended as they can pose a serious safety risk, especially in the event of unexpected turbulence.
In October 2023, another American Airlines passenger shared a photo of what appeared to be flight attendants blocking access to the rear galley of the Boeing 737 by connecting jumpseat harnesses across the aisle in order to create a makeshift fence.
Several weeks later, travel blogger Ben Schlappig reported a similar situation in which AA flight attendants on a flight he was on used an elastic rope to block off the aft galley.
American Airlines did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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.