Later, she tweeted a post on X (the microblogging social media platform formerly known as Twitter) about her experience.
In that post, Haley used the hashtag #WeFlyCommercial in an effort to differentiate herself from her GOP rival, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who has been criticized for use of his supporters’ private jets.
Haley, the former South Carolina governor and United Nations Ambassador, did not mention which airport it was where the occurrence took place, but did say in was on a flight home.
“There are angels on earth,” Haley wrote. “Today my angel’s name was Andrew who works for @AmericanAir. The doors had closed after being delayed on the first flight. Thank you Andrew for helping us get home.”
There are angels on earth. Today my angel’s name was Andrew who works for @AmericanAir. The doors had closed after being delayed on the first flight. Thank you Andrew for helping us get home. ❤️🇺🇸#WeFlyCommercial pic.twitter.com/bjU0pVcsGi
— Nikki Haley (@NikkiHaley) July 27, 2023
Haley encountered some criticism for using the incident to make a political point.
“This is supposed to make her seem grounded, but her travel experience was very unique,” wrote Gary Leff on View From the Wing. “She was going to miss her connection. The door to her connecting flight was closed, in her telling, and American Airlines opened it for her.”
Leff explained the normal American Airlines policy that says “agents are supposed to close the doors 10 minutes prior to departure. They don’t generally re-open the gate for passengers, however they can hold off on closing it under one of two circumstances.”
These are described as follows:
Direct line of sight: Late arriving passengers “in the gate agent’s direct sight at D-10” should be permitted to board, including non-revs waiting to be cleared onto the flight.
Last flight of the day may close — at gate agent’s discretion — as late as 5 minutes to departure “if this will allow connecting passengers to make the flight.”
Leff also had a couple comments on the photo Haley took with the American Airlines employee.
“In this case, not only did they open the boarding door for the delayed former Governor, they risked an absolute on-time departure (‘D0’) for her to take a selfie,” he wrote.
“Meanwhile Haley’s #WeFlyCommercial hashtag is a subtweet of Ron DeSantis whose campaign spent $1.5 million on travel in six weeks,” Leff continued. “Being a high profile politician, though, can sometimes be enough when flying a domestic airline. They’re treated better than you and I.”
Leff had a few more thoughts on candidates for office and their use of private flights.
“There’s nothing wrong with a presidential candidate flying private, unless it contradicts an ‘everyman’ narrative. Former President Trump was known as a candidate for his private plane (‘Trump Force One’),” he wrote.
“It’s an efficient way to campaign, compared to flying American Airlines or other commercial carrier. The challenge DeSantis faces is that it is expensive and donor dollars are more difficult to come by when the odds of success stack against you.”
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