Woman Says She Was Banned From Flight After Using 'Teacher Voice'

She says American Airlines manager didn't like her tone
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 10, 2022 4:11 PM CDT
Education Official Says She Was Banned From Flight Over Her 'Tone'
American Airlines aircraft wait at gates at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.   (AP Photo/Jenny Kane, file)

Kyleema Norman, a deputy superintendent at the New York City Department of Education, says she used her "teacher voice" to speak to airline staffers about a delay—and ended up getting barred from her American Airlines flight because a staffer didn't like her tone. Norman tells the New York Post that she voiced her frustrations at LaGuardia Airport on Sunday after a three-hour delay to her flight to Miami, where she was supposed to catch a connecting flight to Grenada. She was traveling with her daughter Bobbie, who says her mother "advocated for everyone" at the gate who wanted more information about the flight.

Norman tells the Post that a manager called police. "We’re not trying to start a riot,” she says. "I didn’t curse him, threaten him, show bodily harm or make a scene." She says the manager told her, "Your tone at 35,000 feet—I don’t think I’d be able to trust you’d be safe in the air with a pilot and other people." She tweeted a partial video of the interaction taken by another passenger. Days after Norman was barred from boarding the flight, she got her bags back along with a trip credit of $125, though the two round-trip tickets to Grenada cost $2,145. Norman, who is Black, blames the way she was treated on racism. She says all other passengers were allowed to board.

Norman says the trip was supposed to be a college graduation present for her daughter. "Who knew the gift would be her watching me getting banned from our flight on American Airlines and witnessing the outrage of racism," she tweeted. American Airlines says it's looking into what happened, Fox reports. "We take all claims of discrimination seriously and have opened an internal investigation into the issue," the airline said in a statement, adding that its customer relations team "is actively engaged with Ms. Norman to learn more and to apologize for her family’s recent travel experience." (Read more American Airlines stories.)

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