US Airways is trying to contain a PR mess over what passengers on a flight saw as a flagrant insult to an Army vet. As WSOC-TV in Charlotte, NC, reports, it started simply enough when First Sgt. Albert Marle asked a flight attendant if he could hang his heavily decorated military jacket in a closet during the flight. The attendant told him the closet was only for first-class passengers, and he went back to his seat. It might have ended there had nearby passengers not overhead and raised a ruckus on Twitter. Sample: “USAirways is it really in your policy to disrespect brave men such as Sergeant Marle?" tweeted first-class passenger Laura Kirby.
That tweet and others like it explaining what happened quickly went viral, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. Soon, the airline issued an apology: "We apologize for the situation and are reviewing the incident internally. We have a long and proud history of serving our military members and hold the men and women who serve our country in the highest regard." The airline says the closet was full and the flight attendant had no choice, but passengers say if that was the case, she didn't say so at the time. “I was really appalled at not only the way she looked at him but the way she spoke to him in an angry type of attitude," Kirby's husband, Brian, tells the Charlotte TV station. Marle himself hasn't joined in the criticism.