YouTube comedian and musician Adam Saleh shared a series of tweets Wednesday that detailed him getting kicked off a Delta Air Lines flight after other passengers reportedly felt uncomfortable with him speaking Arabic.
In one video, Saleh and an unidentified man, who works at the London airport, accused Delta of being racist. They noted the U.S.' second-largest airline had given in to bigotry in the past. Here are some times when Delta's policies were accused of supporting discriminatory practices.
1 - Delta Doesn't Believe Black Woman Is A Doctor
Tamika Cross was a young, black chief resident OBGYN at Houston's Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital and she said Delta could not believe that. Cross was heading to Minneapolis from Detroit in October when a male passenger two rows away fell unconscious. The man's wife began to call for help and the flight attendant asked if there was a doctor onboard. Cross volunteered to provide medical assistance to the ailing man, but was denied by a crewmember who, according to Cross, remarked, "Oh no sweetie, put your hand down, we are looking for actual physicians or nurses or some type of medical personnel; we don’t have time to talk to you.’"
The flight attendant continued to prevent Cross' access to the unresponsive man, despite her attempts to prove she was a professional physician. Eventually, staff allowed a "white male" to tend to the man, still doubting Cross' credentials.
Delta apologized to Cross and issued a statement in regards to its policy in the event of a medical emergency.
“We are troubled by any accusations of discrimination and take them very seriously,” the company wrote.
“Three medical professionals identified themselves on the flight in question. Only one was able to produce documentation of medical training and that is the doctor who was asked to assist the customer onboard. In addition, paramedics met the flight to assist the customer further,” the company added.
2 - Muslim Family Forced To Move Seats After Being Verbally Attacked
Darlene Hider was traveling on Delta Flight 1576 last year with her husband and four children, including one sick infant, when a woman sitting in front of the family complained that Hider's children were disturbing her. When Hider and her husband tried to explain the situation and failed to get the 9-month old to stop crying, the woman criticized her parenting, reportedly saying "This is America" and verbally attacking the Muslim family.
A flight attendant came and attempted to "defuse the situation" by relocating the Muslim family instead of the unruly customer. When Hider, her family and other passengers protested, the employee threatened to kick them off the plane.
“I felt as if I wanted to defend myself but I couldn’t because of the Islamophobia going on. It’s enough that I wear a scarf. We have to prove ourselves every day to people and it gets tiring. I’m not a terrorist. I’m American. I was born and raised here. I have American friends, Jewish friends, Christian friends,” she told Buzzfeed News.
Upon her arrival in Detroit, Hider was approached by two representatives who said they would look into the incident.
"We have had contact with the customer to offer an apology and we have left that door open," Morgan Durant, a spokesperson for Delta, told Mashable. "Obviously we don’t condone any discrimination here at Delta."
3 - Delta Believes Sikh Woman's Breast Pump Is A Bomb
Attorney and filmmaker Valarie Kaur was waiting in line for a Los Angeles flight to celebrate her son's first birthday last December when a customer noticed she removed the luggage tag from her carry-on bag. The man reportedly grew suspicious and called on other passengers and airline employees to interrogate Kaur. A gate agent went up to Kaur who demanded an explanation for Kaur's breast pump. When the agent did not accept Kaur's insistence that she was a nursing mother who used the device to feed her child, Kaur was forced to remove the device and show everyone.
Kaur, who later received an apology from the airline via Twitter, said she was "shaken" as she sat on the flight and reflected on the experiences of brown, Sikh and Muslim people who have experienced profiling since 9/11.
4 - Muslim Couple Removed On Anniversary Trip
Faisal and Nazia Ali were returning to Cincinnati from their tenth anniversary trip to London and Paris July 26 when they were approached by airline personnel. The flight crew member told the Pakistani-American couple that a customer had seen Nazia, who wears an Islamic headscarf, chatting on the phone and her husband, Faisel, sweating, causing the passenger discomfort. Instead of going home to see their three sons, they were forced off the flight and back into Paris.
"We had been in our seats for 45 minutes. The ground agent said, 'Can you step out with me? We'd like to ask you a few questions.' So I said, 'Do you want us to get our things?' And he said, 'Yes, please grab all of your personal belongings. You're not going to be on this flight,'" Nazia recounted in August according to USA Today.
"It was humiliating. We were treated like criminals. I thought, 'We are American citizens. You can't do this to us,'" she later added.
Delta representatives issued a statement in response to the incident, saying it would conduct a review of what had occurred.
"Delta condemns discrimination toward our customers in regards to age, race, nationality, religion, sexual orientation or gender. As a global airline that brings hundreds of thousands of people together every day, Delta is deeply committed to treating all of our customers with respect. Delta continues its investigation into this matter and will issue a full refund of these customers’ airfare," the carrier wrote.