American Airlines is apologizing to its employees for running a photo in its in-flight magazine of two guys drinking and serving booze while dressed as pilots.
The March issue of American Way featured a profile of an Australian mobile cocktail business that uses trolleys — the thing that flight attendants push down the aisle while serving drinks and snacks.
According to the Dallas Morning News, American employees weren’t put off by the business idea; it was the images accompanying the piece. In one photo, two people were depicted preparing drinks while wearing pilot’s attire. The second photo showed a close-up of a faux-pilot’s hand lighting a cocktail.
American’s pilot’s union, Allied Pilots Association, took offense to the images, with the group’s president saying the images reflected “extremely poor judgment.”
In a letter to members, association President Dan Carey said that despite the airline’s attempt to pull the magazines, the “damage was done.”
“Is that really the image of pilots that our company wants to convey?” Carey wrote in a message to union members. “The offending photos were on display to our passengers for the entire month of March.”
The airline issued a statement of its own last week, noting that the photo was “appalling and disrespectful to the aviation profession.”
“A huge apology to our team and especially our coworkers who are pilots. … We know that a photo depicting pilots drinking in uniform is not appropriate,” vice president of global communications Ron DeFeo said. “Even in jest, if that’s what this is, our aviators put safety first and this is never an area where humor works.”
DeFeo tells the Dallas Morning News that the airline is personally reaching out to each employee who raised concerns about the photo and reviewing the oversight process for the magazine, which is handled by an outside company.