A Gold Star Family on an American Airlines flight to pick up their son’s body after he was killed in Afghanistan said they were booed by first-class travelers.
The reason? Passengers in those pricey seats were annoyed that the family was allowed to disembark first to catch a connecting flight, according to the slain soldier’s father, Stewart Perry.
“It was just disgusting behavior from people in first class; it was terrible to see,” Perry told the Stockton Record. “You could see the disappointment from the flight crew.”
Perry was traveling with his wife and daughter from Sacramento to Philadelphia via Phoenix, but they were in danger of missing a connection when their first flight was delayed. Once the plane landed, the captain asked everyone to remain seated so “a special military family” could leave the plane first, the Record reported.
That’s when the boos and comments began.
“Some people were saying ‘This is just baloney,’ and ‘I paid for first-class for this?’” Perry told the Record.
“To hear the reaction of the flight being delayed because of a Gold Star family, and the first-class cabin booing, that was really upsetting, and it made us cry some more,” Perry told CBS Sacramento.
Sgt. John Perry was killed on Nov. 12 in a suicide attack inside Bagram Airfield, a NATO base in Afghanistan. Pfc. Tyler R. Iubelt of Tamaroa, Illinois, and two civilian contractors were also killed, and 17 others wounded.
Perry said his son was able to stop the bomber before he reached his target, a 5K race held inside the base.
“He would have killed 100, 200, who knows?” Perry told the CBS station.
Sgt. Perry will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery, according to The Record.
Perry, himself a veteran, called on the public to be more empathetic to the military and their family members.
“Generally, as Americans, we need to be more compassionate to each other and to understand and listen and just stay calm,” he told the Army Times.
The Huffington Post has reached out to the airline for comment. This story will be updated if it responds.