There is a monumental concept in the United States, and it’s called “free speech,” and funny enough, it applies to everyone.
A pilot for American Airlines was seen with a tag on his luggage that says “Let’s Go, Brandon.” This might strike you like freedom, but some people aren’t pleased with it. Would they have responded if it was a “Build Back Better” tag? They would have probably called the pilot brave, right?
The Twitter user who’s since made her tweets private said, “Hey @AmericanAir ya’ll cool with your pilots displaying this kind of cowardly rhetoric on their crew luggage when they’re in uniform, about to fly a plane? We are not the only passengers who noticed and were disgusted. Today in UVF, about to board to Miami.”
The Twitter post was unnecessary and shouldn’t have been called out unless the user was willing to call out her own political beliefs and violate the American Airlines code of conduct.
In the American Airlines Standards of Business Conduct for Employees, it says, “Your participation should not cause an observer to conclude that American is endorsing the activity. Participation also must not impede your ability to perform your job. And you may not pursue personal interests when you are required or expected to perform your duties and responsibilities for America.”
The tag on the luggage certainly doesn’t imply that Americans are endorsing the activity. It wasn’t issued by Americans and can’t be held against the pilot for that reason. When you consider the pilot’s job performance, there’s no hindrance there either. However, when considering that it may be deemed a “personal interest,” there’s a possibility that American Airlines could discipline the pilot for the political beliefs behind the luggage tag. Though that wouldn’t hinder the pilot from performing his duties when “required and expected,” American Airlines could cave to the “woke” tweet and determine that the pilot acted in a specific interest.
The other side of this is where the Standards of Business Conduct for Employees says, “Don’t use any corporate funds or resources to help or promote any political candidate or party unless you have obtained approval from the Ethics Office.”
The pilot likely didn’t use American Airlines funds to buy the luggage tag. Still, while using it in his duty, it could be interpreted as the pilot using influence from the airline to promote a specific political belief.
What does all of this mean? Be careful when aligning yourself with a political party of political belief when acting professionally. Just as these guidelines and views should be considered if someone has a Joe Biden, Build Back Better, Black Lives Matter or any other “political” luggage tag, this type of tag can also be interpreted as a professional political belief.
Still, the tweet is a bit of a cry for help. The user cowered away as popularity and pushback were gained over the post. There should be more consideration from users to follow the correct paths for complaints rather than making statements in public against employees.