Passengers outraged over treatment of Army Ranger

Officials with U.S. Airways are under attack by an outraged public for an incident on a Thursday flight from Portland, Oregon, to Charlotte, North Carolina, where a flight attendant apparently refused to allow an Army Ranger with a chest full of medals to hang up his jacket – because he wasn’t a first-class passenger.

According to a report from WSOC-TV, other passengers reported 1st Sgt. Albert Marle asked the flight attendant for permission to hang up his uniform jacket to keep it from getting wrinkled.

She refused his request because “the service is available only to first-class passengers,” the report said.

First-class passenger Cliff Autrey told the station, “She got relatively belligerent with him that was against company policy. I offered to trade seats with him. He had a chest full of medals. Many deployments. All she had to say was ‘yes,’ but she said it was against company policy.”

Others on the flight claimed the flight attendant yelled at passengers who tried to ask other attendants to intervene.

“The lead flight attendant passed up a good opportunity to do a good deed,” added Autrey.

Several other first-class passengers joined Autrey in offering their seats to Marle but the decorated solider declined and remained seated in coach.

“I thanked him for his service and I asked him if I could hang his jacket up. I walked back up and hung the jacket simply behind my seat. There’s a difference between policy and doing what is right,” passenger Jon Dahlberg told the TV station.

Marle could not be reached immediately, but military officials explained in detail to the station:

“According to the insignias on his uniform, he is Ranger qualified (black and gold metal banner on his left pocket flap), he is Pathfinder qualified (metal insignia with the gold wing), he is Air Assault qualified (silver metal insignia with the wings and front view of a helicopter), he is Special Forces trained and most likely in a SF unit (aqua and gold metal banner over the Ranger banner), he is currently serving in an airborne unit (silver jump wings above his ribbons), SF unit crest designating his unit affiliation (metal insignia to the right of his right lapel).”

On Twitter, one passenger, identified as Kirbs72, was infuriated, and eventually got a promise from the airline to investigate.

He continued, “@USAirways the airline that I have flown almost 100,000 miles on this year disgraced a heavily decorated soldier right in front of me. Shame.”

And he said, “According to my flight attendant you have a policy to not hang the dress coats of Army Rangers not seated in first class. #antiusair.”

And “@USAirways I am the first class customer! None of us had coats. What’s the next excuse?”

And “@USAirways three of us in first class begged your poorly trained associate to hang this heroes decorated jacket. To no avail.”

And “!USAirways when the man stepped in the plane your attendant SHOULD have said it would be my honor to hang your jacket sergeant.”

And “USAirways not a soul in first class had a coat. Not one! I will share with the chairman that are also upset with me. Oh and the media.”

Eventually came a response from US Airways. “@bkirby72 Please DM your record locator and we’ll forward an email to Flight Services for internal review. We’re following you now.”

Said Twitchy, “That’s good news, but we wonder how many other soldiers have been treated as shabbily.”

U.S. Airways also issued a statement to the TV station.

“We’re certainly looking into how the situation was handled and we will be responding internally appropriately. American and U.S. Airways has a long history of supporting our military. We offer pre-checked bags and we work with many military-support organizations.”




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