Alex Gray Gets a Refund But The Questions Linger
It's two thumbs up and a happy ending for Alex Gray. You'll remember last week Alex Gray took to social media after four of his five boards were busted on an American Airlines flight from Hawaii to LA. Gray's campaign got a lot of traction, helped in part by fellow flyers United Airlines manhandling a passenger off an overbooked plane.
Yesterday Gray announced that American Airlines would reimburse him for all boards and the board bag, and they'd also return the excess baggage fee he paid.
"The airline was apologetic," wrote Gray, "while acknowledging their negligence, and agrees the boards were most likely run over. I'd like to commend AA for handling this situation appropriately."
"Most of all I'd like to thank all of YOU for your engagement. It's amazing to see the positive side of social media bring like-minded people together."
And that should be the end of the matter, right?
Except more than a few commenters felt aggrieved by Gray claiming to speak for all surfers and then giving the thumbs up when only he was compensated. "It's very apparent this isn't about me," Gray wrote in his original post, "it's about us. This is about the surfers who love to travel and expect their boards to be handled with care."
Chris Breheny voiced his concern. "Your earlier posts and television appearance suggested that this was a crusade to affect meaningful change for everyone through coercing airlines into restructuring their surfboard baggage policies. It now appears as though it was merely about you seeking reimbursement for your own personal misfortune, and that the broader argument about airline surfboard baggage fees and property damage is now redundant in light of your successful media campaign."
He wasn't alone...
"I thought this was about the broader issue? Wouldn't be endorsing their behaviour until I was sure they had changed."
"Great that they refunded the money for boards you didn't even pay for, but what does it do to change the way they handle our luggage? Until board fees and damage are gone, I wouldn't be so quick to praise them just because they gave you a couple bucks. That's called hush money."
"That's great @a_gray but maybe you could help the little guys. The ones that don't have a huge social media following to get reimbursed."
"What 81,000 followers gets you. What happens to the guy who is not a social media star?"
And Gray's last word? "I am positive the reply to this circumstance will hold as the example for all surfers in the future. Again, thank you all. Let's get ready for more surf adventures."