An American Airlines stewardess takes a nap during the flight, prompting a complaint from a thirsty business class passenger

An American Airlines flight attendant was captured on video appearing to sleep during an afternoon flight from Cozumel, Mexico to Dallas. While the siesta wasn’t allowed, the passenger’s decision to Twitter-shame the flight attendant could cost him his job. Was this grievance handled properly?

Angry business class passenger captures American Airlines flight attendant rehearsing video during flight to Dallas

Let me preface this story by saying that I approach it with fondness, as we only have a few seconds of video and a complaint from a passenger. On the one hand, it’s kind of sad that the passenger chose to film the flight attendant appearing to sleep instead of pressing the call button or getting up to summon him (and it’s possible the passenger tried that first, but I doubt the FA would sleep through that…).

On the other hand, this video has now circulated widely on social media and has been covered by Wing view yesterday. At this point, the cat is out of the bag and an investigation is probably already underway, whatever my story about it. It’s also worth mentioning that the flight attendant really had no reason to sleep (if you’ll forgive me the pun) when he should have been serving business class passengers.

For the avoidance of doubt, I asked the ever-knowledgeable A.A. insider JonNYC about it and he confirmed:

And his concerns mirror mine, which is why I wanted to discuss them today.

Yeah, the stewardess screwed up. Yes, American flight attendants frequently remind us that they are here primarily for our safety and it is pure hypocrisy if the flight attendant was taking a nap at work. And yes, business class passengers should except that a flight attendant watches the cabin to check on drink refills during the flight… that’s part of why people pay extra for the privilege of being seated in the cabin. before.

But why not get up and tap him on the shoulder? Because we’re not just talking about the guy who gets scolded: he might well lose his job. His own livelihood could be disrupted.

And this is where I find myself questioning the action of the passenger checking in on the flight attendant instead of trying to help. After all, he is a human being.

It’s really not as simple as saying the passenger was justified or the passenger was unjustified. Whatever his motives, I don’t think we can simply convict the passenger, although I would have handled it differently (and frankly, you might be surprised how many juicy clickbait incidents over the years that haven’t weren’t reported because I didn’t want to have crew members in trouble). I think American Airlines better know that one of its flight attendants is sleeping on the job.

Regardless of the miserable summer flight attendants had to endure at American Airlines (and I know it wasn’t easy), sleeping on the job just isn’t acceptable. Extended working hours, delayed hotel availability and the same rate of delays and cancellations that passengers have experienced are taking their toll. But for the safety of passengers on board and the integrity of the airline, if flight attendants are exhausted, they must call in sick.


While passengers have dedicated crew rest areas and designated break times on longer flights, this is not the case on shorter flights, such as the trip from Cozumel to Dallas which takes less than three hours.

I feel bad for the flight attendant, but if he was sleeping, it seems to me that he should be held responsible. Even so, I would think twice before doing the same thing the passenger did…in fact, I witnessed something similar and did nothing…on more than one occasion. And I’m also thinking about it this morning… and if I did well to let the air hostess sleep…

How would you have experienced this incident as a passenger?

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