An American Airlines flight attendant caused a transatlantic flight to divert course due to hurt feelings and shameful pride.

According to Stabroek News of Guyana, a July 18 flight from New York City’s John F. Kennedy Airport to Georgetown, Guyana, ended abruptly two hours into the flight when a business-class passenger referred to a flight attendant as “waiter.”

The exchange that led to the plane’s diversion involved passenger Joel Ghansham, whom Stabroek News called a “Guyanese cultural activist.”

According to Ghansham, who spoke with Stabroek News, the incident began when a prickly male flight attendant refused to assist him with his luggage.

Ghansham, who recently underwent spinal surgery, asked for help putting his luggage in the overhead compartment.

“No, I don’t do that. I’m not being paid to do that,” the flight attendant said, according to Ghansham. Another crew member helped Ghansham with his luggage.

A while later, the same flight attendant began serving beverages.

“He asked me if I wanted something to drink but I didn’t respond because I didn’t want to cause a scene, and he asked again and I said, ‘No thank you, waiter,’” Ghansham recalled.

The flight attendant took issue with the “waiter” label and threatened to have the plane diverted back to JFK. Ghansham sarcastically remarked that the flight attendant must be God.

Shortly thereafter, one hour into the flight, passengers learned without explanation that the flight would return to JFK.

Back in New York, a law enforcement officer boarded the plane and questioned Ghansham. When the officer learned what happened, however, he did not even bother to take Ghansham’s statement.

“If I was rude or belligerent wouldn’t they have arrested me?” Ghansham asked.

Although the interview with Stabroek News represented only one side of the story, that question alone –“wouldn’t they have arrested me?”– lends much credibility to Ghansham’s version of events.

This astonishing story caught the attention of a prominent conservative podcaster.


On BlazeTV’s “Pat Gray Unleashed” podcast, host Pat Gray read an account of the incident for his audience and then summarized his feelings of disgust and disbelief.

“You have got to be kidding me … Asinine. What a world we live in,” Gray said.

Indeed, for many readers, the flight attendant no doubt personifies hideous aspects of the “world we live in.”

After refusing to help Ghansham with his luggage, the flight attendant bristled at being called “waiter.” This reminds us of how easily offended so many people seem to be.

But the flight attendant’s ugliness ran much deeper. He was not merely offended; he was determined to do something about it. The “waiter” wanted everyone to know that he had the power to divert the plane, so he did.

The events of recent years have revealed which of our fellow citizens rate as natural tyrants. Mediocrities who revel in holding minuscule amounts of authority always wield it without mercy.

The prideful and tyrannical flight attendant, however, is not the only bad actor in this story.

On the same episode of “Pat Gray Unleashed,” BlazeTV personality Jeff Fisher took the airlines to task.

“We have airlines making people swelter on a tarmac for hours. We have airlines … having passengers urinate in the airplane ’cause they won’t let ’em use the restroom ’cause they’re on the tarmac. It’s unbelievable,” Fisher said.

“I can’t imagine why the airlines are struggling,” he later added.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *