I knew something was up when a Secret Service officer appeared at the gate of my United flight from Newark to San Francisco prior to boarding.
“They’re just going to walk right on. No stopping,” the agent specified. You can always spot a Secret Service officer based on the pin he or she is wearing.
The gate agents nodded in approval and started processing what looked to be like paper tickets but were probably releases for the Secret Service officers to travel with loaded weapons onboard.
This was the flight I wrote about earlier today that I had moved to at the last minute. I had a window seat toward the back of the plane, but decided to wait for misconnects in order to (hopefully) secure an upgrade or at least an EconomyPlus seat.
As boarding near completion, the VIPs were quickly whisked onto the plane: Donald Trump Jr. and his girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle. Several agents accompanied them onboard and 2-3 actually joined them on the flight.
I ended up scoring an exit row aisle seat in row 21, the best economy class seat on the plane as far as I am concerned, and was the last passenger to board the plane.
I entered through Door 1 and expected to find Donald and Kimberly in the first row of business class. But they were not there. In fact, they were not in business class. I walked back to my seat and lo behold, guess who was seated in the aisle and middle seats directly in front of mine?
At this point, I was confused. I help my fair share of B-list celebrates at Award Expert and all of them insist upon flying in business class. Was this official business that mandated economy class in light of the Tom Price + Scott Pruitt scandals? Did they book at the very-last minute like I did and had no other option? Why not take his father’s private 757?
In any case, passengers left them alone during the flight. No one came up and asked for pictures or read them the riot act. They just watched movies. United serves a complimentary meal in EconomyPlus and Kimberly ordered chicken teriyaki with a glass of chardonnay. Donald ordered just a Coke Zero “in a can” and ate some food he had brought onboard from Saison in the terminal (read my review here). Both were annoyed that their seat would not recline, the problem of sitting in front of an exit row.
We landed on-time and the pair were not whisked off the plane. I did have a brief word them after the flight, since Kimberly and I both worked with Dana Perino (at different times). I also gave them an Award Expert business card and said to let me know if they ever needed last-minute flight help. Shameless?
They were soon on their way through the terminal. One person saw them and began heckling, “Lock him up” but most paid them no attention.
I know public figures fly all the time and it is no big deal. I honestly thought the Trump clan would fly private, though. I’m glad to see they do not have the same fears flying commercial as our favorite televangelists. They were very low-maintainence during the flight. Have you ever flown with a member of the Trump or other presidential family?
image: Kimberly Guilfoyle / Instagram