He explained the matter in a subsequent interview with People. According to the "Wiggle" performer, he and his group — it's unclear how many people were with him — arrived for their flight from Miami to Los Angeles after the designated window to check in luggage had passed. Derulo and most of his group opted to board the flight sans bags, leaving one person behind to take a later flight with all 19 bags.
The pop star and his friends had boarded the flight when that person called to alert him that American Airlines wanted to charge $4,000 for the bags to be checked. An airline source told People that Derulo's elite flight status entitled him to check three bags for free, but that the excess bags came with a charge.
“We’d never paid for our bags because of our status, with all of our miles," Derulo later told the magazine. "So $4,000 is obviously a huge sum. We were like, ‘No, we’re not paying that. We’ve got to turn the plane around.'”
According to American Airlines in a statement to People, the plane "returned to the gate prior to departure. A passenger elected to deplane in order to travel with their checked bags. The passenger has been rebooked with his checked bags on a later flight this evening.”
According to Derulo, however, the flight's captain came out to confront him and curse him out as his group disembarked.
“And that was really upsetting to me because I felt like he was trying to make it seem like we were delinquents, and he was kicking us off the plane, when it was us that asked to get off the plane," he said. "I was like, ‘Listen, sir, you’re not going to talk down to me; I’m not your son. Don’t talk to me in that tone of voice.'”
He claims that things grew more heated and "super-embarrassing" when 15 police officers greeted the group as they returned to the terminal. Derulo says that another airline employee began cursing at his group, but everyone changed their tune when they realized Derulo was famous.
"As you can imagine, I’m surrounded by 15 police officers, I’m not going to curse back because I know what’s going to happen,” he told People. “So I pick up my phone, and I go live on my Instagram. So I go live, and I start to hear whispers happening, and as soon as they find out who I am, everything changes. Every single person becomes somebody else, and all of a sudden, we’re not in trouble anymore.”
He added that he just wanted "to be treated with respect. At the end of the day, you get what you pay for. I’m not asking for anything extra, I’m not asking to be taken care of.”
A Miami-Dade PD police reports says that American Airlines employees claimed that the group “smelled of marijuana and were getting aggressive” during check-in, and refused to show ID when leaving the plane. No charges were filed.
Whether or not Derulo will fly with the airline again remains to be seen.