Flight Crew Allows Young Soldier To Walk Off The Plane First & People Are Claiming He Didn't Deserve It

Some people criticized the preferential treatment.

Last updated on Feb 14, 2024

us army soldier saluting and plane interior background Suhyeon Choi via Unsplash / kasha_malasha via Shutterstock

Flying the friendly skies is sometimes a true test of patience and compassion — a test that many people failed when flight attendants on a Southwest Airlines flight decided to let a soldier get off the plane before other passengers.

Flight attendants asked passengers to stay seated so the soldier could deplane first as a way of thanking him for his service.

In a video posted in a since-deleted tweet, footage showed the young man deplaning while the rest of the passengers stayed seated. One person shared insight into how the show of kindness came about.


“My wife chatted with him and found out his name and his situation," he claimed. “She was at Fort Irwin and understood his situation," he said, which was that the soldier had been stationed in California and hadn't since his family in over a year. "So she asked the flight attendant if there was something they could do to thank him for his service and that's how this happened.”

u.s. soldierPhoto: Lance Reis / Unsplash


The other passengers were asked to stay seated as he deboarded the plane in a gesture intended to thank him for his services, applauding as he made his way to the front of the airplane with his carry-on bag.

While the attempt at recognizing the soldier garnered heartwarming responses from most people, many people were aggravated by the situation.

“Bro probably only enlisted cause he didn’t know what to do after high school,” one person mocked in a tweet that was viewed almost 19,000 times. 

Others criticized not the gesture, but the fact that young man accepted the offer.

“Every US military member's response when offered a place ahead of a civilian in line, should be: 'Thank you for your kindness, but I will wait my turn,'" one person wrote, adding, "The exceptions to this rule should be wounded, disabled, WW2 and Korean vets.”


Another person echoed this sentiment, writing, “I am old school. A 19-year-old in good health should let women, children and elderly go first." This person also found issue with the man's story, claiming that it was his own fault that it had been so long since he'd seen his family. "He is serving stateside and gets 30 days paid leave a year. If he hasn't been home since last Christmas, it’s because he had better things to do.”

That comment was rebutted by another user who said, “I understand and respect that, but I think every of our American service Men and Women deserve our respect and not just a simple 'thank you for your service.'”

The flight attendants' kind gesture should be applauded, as you never know someone's situation.

Most, if not all, U.S. airlines offer priority boarding for active and retired military members as a way to express gratitude for their service.

u.s. soldier hugging womanPhoto: DenisProduction.com / Shutterstock


Whether or not this man boarded early is unknown, nor is his background. However, as one man shared in the comments, "Whether you agree with the enlisted soldier getting off the plane before everyone else or not, one thing is for sure — with all of the negativity and mean-spiritedness in the world, it’s beautiful to see people treating one another with love and respect."

According to information gleaned from the comments, the young man didn't ask to deplane before everyone and likely was surprised by the offer. And while traveling can certainly be a hassle, allowing one person to deplane before everyone else adds no more than a couple of minutes to the deplaning process, minutes that could potentially make someone's day.

NyRee Ausler is a writer from Seattle, Washington, and author of seven books. She covers lifestyle and entertainment and news, as well as navigating the workplace and social issues.