Fliers Booted From Delta Flight Over 'Airplane Mode' Dispute

Black passenger alleges racial discrimination
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 28, 2018 12:13 PM CDT
Woman Kicked Off Plane Over 'Airplane Mode' Dispute
A Delta Connections jet operated by SkyWest is shown at Fort Wayne International Airport.   (Chad Ryan/ The Journal Gazette via AP) /The Journal-Gazette via AP)

A woman was kicked off a Delta Air Lines flight Saturday over a dispute with a flight attendant over airplane mode on her phone, USA Today reports, and passenger Robyn Rodgers suggests it's because she is black. Rodgers was on a flight about to take off from Fort Wayne International Airport when the flight attendant (technically a SkyWest employee, per Fox) asked her to put her phone into airplane mode and then waited for her to do so. "I told her 'I know how to turn on airplane mode, you don’t have to stand over me,'" Rodgers says in an Instagram post. She says the flight attendant got upset and threatened to have the plane return to the gate, at which point Rodgers held up her phone to show the flight attendant it was in airplane mode. The flight attendant left, only to return to tell Rodgers the plane was indeed turning around and Rodgers would be removed.

In video Rodgers posted on Instagram, the flight attendant can be seen telling Rodgers she had not complied with crew member instructions. Other passengers came to Rodgers' defense—and, Rodgers says, ultimately all of those people (four adults, plus a child accompanying one of them) were kicked off the flight. Further video she posted to Instagram shows the stranded passengers being told that their flight had been the last one of the night and that they weren't being allowed back on because the flight attendant felt "unsafe." Rodgers says they were all forced to spend the night in Fort Wayne, including a Latina woman who was rushing to get to Texas for her son's heart surgery, Heavy reports. Delta has responded to users on Twitter accusing the flight attendant of racial discrimination, but Rodgers says she herself has yet to hear from the airline. (More Delta Air Lines stories.)

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