A man declined a $1500 offer from a NFL star to switch from one economy class seat to another on an American Airlines flight from Paris to Dallas. Was he just stupid or was there more to the story?
NFL star Cam Newton, a quarterback for the Carolina Panthers, was originally scheduled to travel from Paris to Charlotte on American Airlines in business class. He missed his flight and was rebooked to Dallas in economy class…he was told business class was not available and did not call Award Expert.
Newton is 6’5″, making economy class a difficult proposition in any seat. He approached a man seated in an exit row aisle (virtually unlimited legroom) and offered him $1500 to make the switch to his seat. The man declined. You can watch the video below captured by a passenger a few rows behind:
— Eli Edwards (@ElisaraEdwards) June 22, 2019
Why would someone decline a move from an exit row to what appeared to be a bulkhead seat in economy that still had some room to stretch out?
- Was he suspicious of Newton?
- He appeared to be traveling with two friends or family members; did he not want to leave them alone?
- Is an exit row seat on American Airlines really worth $1500?
Whatever the reason, he said no. Newton just sort of shook his head in disbelief. So do I!
I certainly subscribe to the principle that time is money. At the same time, this was a daytime flight and if $1500 is nothing, why not fly business class? Why not negotiate if the amount was not sufficient? I agree with One Mile at a Time that people go into “survival” mode on airplanes and often stop acting rationally.
What I Would Have Done If I was Cam Newton
Let’s say I was on a paid business class ticket and missed my flight. And let’s also say that it was my fault I missed my flight, not the AA’s fault. First, I’d beg for mercy and ask to be rebooked on a partner flight, likely British Airways, through London or any other combo that would get me home same-day in business class. AA’s Paris – Charlotte flight departs at 1:00 PM so options were limited. Next, I would check out using miles on other carriers. Perhaps Lufthansa via Frankfurt or SWISS via Zurich? Both are good about making last-minute award space available.
If all else had failed and I had to get home that day, I’d next ask if the agent could arrange seats so that I have three to myself. To accomplish this, I’d indentify a row that had at least one (and ideally two) open seats. Then I’d ask the passenger(s), with the help of the gate agent, if they would mind swapping to other seats for a cash consideration. If that even that failed, I’d do exactly what Newton did, but keep increasing the offer (the man is worth $20MN) until I got a taker…probably in business class.
There were so many variables at play here and I don’t think Newton had an easy solution. I don’t blame him for trying to buy an economy class seat switch. I do wonder why he just gave up instead of sweetening the offer?
How much would it take for you to give up an exit row seat on a 10.5 hour daytime flight?