Star Trek Star LeVar Burton Unloads on American Airlines. But What Don’t His Twitter Fans Know?

  • Traveler
  • June 14, 2017
  • Comments Off on Star Trek Star LeVar Burton Unloads on American Airlines. But What Don’t His Twitter Fans Know?

American Airlines has been flying more widebody aircraft domestically. It’s not a huge change, but they’ve scheduled a Boeing 787-8 on Chicago – Los Angeles along with 7 to 8 narrowbody aircraft a day.

Sunday American substituted a Boeing 777-300ER on the route, which in my opinion is an upgrade. But it led to problems on social media.

See, on domestic flights with two cabin aircraft (whether a Boeing 737 or 787) the forward cabin is called “first class.” The same forward cabin product on the 787 is called business class when it flies internationally. Same seats, different name.

But since a Boeing 777-300ER has three cabins, business class is still called business class when flying domestically.

LeVar Burton was on the plane, and the Reading Rainbow and Star Trek: The Next Generation star was in no mood for such distinctions. He went from 787 business class (called first class) to 777-300ER business class and was offended by the downgrade.

Already miffed, he was ready for conflict as soon as he walked off the jetway.

And a flight attendant with a sense of humor? Not gonna fly.

When Andie MacDowell complained about having to downgrade to coach for a short Charlotte – Charleston flight she was crucified in social media over her entitlement. She was booked into a bulkhead seat which doesn’t work when traveling with a pet in cabin (that’s not an emotional support animal, natch).

I suspect that Geordi La Forge’s fans offering up support on Twitter don’t realize that he traded this:

Boeing 787-8 Business Class Concept ‘D’ Seat

For this:

Boeing 777-300ER Business Class

He flew in essentially the same business class seat offered by Cathay Pacific and EVA Air, in the only widebody offered on a route also flown by United, Virgin America, and Spirit.

But it’s a great example of how framing effects work in air travel. I actually prefer the Boeing 777-300ER business class seat over American’s ‘Concept D’ seat (but not over their Super Diamond seat). However in this case:

  • Burton was told he had been in first class but is now in business. (Although it’s clearly a much better offering than first class on every other flight between the two cities.)

  • Burton flew in a plane that had a higher cabin than the one he was sitting in. Being in the forward-most cabin on the plane feels more important regardless of what product you yourself have.

Put another way, coach on Southwest (which doesn’t offer a premium cabin) feels better than coach on Delta. You’re not missing out on anything.

(HT: Rene’s Points)