US Airways apologizes for treatment of soldier

Passengers say flight attendant refused to hang Army Ranger's uniform jacket

First Sergeant Albert Marle
First Sergeant Albert Marle

UPDATE (KOIN) — “To be sure, we simply did not get this one right. We will always try to do better and work hard to align our core values – especially as they relate to the commitment we have to our men and women in uniform – with the experience our customers have on our planes every day,” U.S. Airlines Senior Manager of Veterans and Military Initiatives Capt. Jim Palmersheim wrote October 11 in a company statement.

“I would like to offer my sincere apology to the military service member and his fellow passengers who encountered an unfortunate situation earlier this week in which a decorated member of the military was prevented from placing his uniform in the closet, particularly because it is not indicative of the core values of our airline.”

CHARLOTTE, NC (WSOC/CNN) – U.S. Airways is trying to track down a U.S. Army special forces soldier after passengers said an airline attendant refused to hang up his jacket on a Charlotte-bound flight.

“And this man’s had many deployments. Hash marks on both sleeves. He didn’t deserve what he got,” said witness Cliff Autrey.

Passengers are rallying around the Army Ranger. They say they’re appalled at how a flight attendant treated First Sergeant Albert Marle on board a flight from Portland to Charlotte.

Autrey was sitting in first class when he says Sergeant Marle, who was sitting in coach, asked a flight attendant if she could hang up his dress blues.

“And she got relatively belligerent with him, said it was against company policy. She could not do that. I offered to change seats with him,” Autrey said.

Autrey says several other first class passengers offered their seats, too, but Marle declined.

“He had a chest full of medals. Many deployments. All she had to say was yes, but she kept saying it’s against company policy,” Autrey said.

Another first class passenger told me on the phone he helped out Marle.

“I thanked him for his service, and I said, ‘can I hang your jacket up?’ And he handed me his jacket. I walked back up, and I hung his jacket simply behind my seat. There’s a difference between a policy and doing what’s right,” said Jon Dalhlberg.

Company officials told WSOC, “we’re certainly looking into how the situation was handled, and we will be responding internally appropriately. American and U.S. Airways has a long history of supporting our military. We offer pre-checked bags, and we work with several military support organizations.”

In the meantime, passengers say this sergeant deserves an apology.

“The lead flight attendant passed up a good opportunity to do a good deed. He just didn’t not want to get his dress blues coat wrinkled,” Autrey said.

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