Despite being an Oscar nominated actor who also just happens to be featured in this weekend’s biggest blockbuster Ironman 2, Don Cheadle was just another “black man trying to sneak into first class” to some out of pocket flight attendants he recently encountered.
On his way back to Los Angeles from a concert, Cheadle encountered rude airline staff who thought he was trying to sneak into first class to sit next to his partner Bridgid Coulter.
He recalls, “We get up to the ticket counter and we’re trying to get our seats together. As we walk up to the counter there’s a crowd and we hear, ‘Everybody just back off! Just back off!’ So I walk up to her (airline worker) and say, ‘Don’t you mean back up?’ And she goes, ‘Yeah, you’re right. Back up and back off!”What’s worse? That they assumed he had to be sneaking because he was “a black guy” or that they figured he’d accept cognac as a form of apology? This is pretty bad, but most of us have experienced the same thing one way or another. Most flight attendants are straight a$$holes these days.
Cheadle decided to try a different approach and ask a stewardess when the couple boarded the aircraft – but he was shocked to find she was even ruder.
He explains, “I go up to a flight attendant on the plane and say, ‘Ma’am, we’re seated in different seats…’ and she says, ‘Well I can’t change seats on the plane.’ I said, ‘No, I’m aware of that,’ and she goes, ‘What you (sic) want me to do about it?’ (I said) ‘Nothing, that’s fine.’
“So later I go up to her (again) and ask her what was the problem. She went, ‘Well, what did you want me to do about it?’ So I said, ‘I just wanted you to attend, help me.’ So I turned around (to sit down) and she goes, ‘Don’t you turn your face to me. I will get you thrown off the plane.’ The woman had to be on some drug, I imagine! So I used a colourful expression to her and kept moving to my seat…”
The flight attendant finally came to her senses and apologized to Cheadle: “Right before the end (of the flight) she puts two bottles of Courvoisier (cognac) between our seats. I said, ‘What is that? Why are you giving it to me?’
“She said, ‘I’m sorry, this is my way of apologising. I was told there was a black guy with a hat on sneaking into first class and I thought that was you.’ So that’s just racism? That’s cool!”
Cheadle said the airline crew member also mistook him for comedian Tim Meadows.