On Sunday, an American Airlines flight carrying a Black family with a newborn infant was canceled as it returned to Philadelphia from Charlotte, North Carolina. They intend to file a lawsuit.
After a brief, unfavorable interaction with a white man passenger and a white female flight attendant, Allan Ali and his partner, Kamia Hoilett, were asked to leave a Sunday afternoon flight before departure, as seen in a now-viral video.
Ali told The Shade Room that the altercation escalated after he and his infant-carrying partner stood to allow a man in their row to take his seat. “Y’all have to get up,” the man exclaimed as narrated by Ali
The couple tried to depart the row to let the man in, but the flight attendant was blocking their way, according to Ali. “Is this going to be a problem?” the airline staffer questioned when Hoilett asked for space, he said.
The incident became more heated when the same flight attendant, in a “passive-aggressive tone,” urged Hoilett to sit down and secure her seatbelt.
Hoilett told the attendant she didn’t like how she was being spoken to, and the employee “stormed off” to report the incident to the captain, who ordered the family to be removed from the flight.
Hoilett is heard repeatedly stating, “I didn’t do anything,” in the now-viral video posted to Instagram. Her spouse then recounts the situation, claiming that they were ordered to depart the flight with their child.
The couple departed about 1 p.m. and a t 8:20 p.m., they were finally able to depart Charlotte.
The Grio reported Tuesday afternoon that American Airlines is investigating the incident and has contacted Ali alongside other passengers and personnel involved.
In an emailed response, the company said, “Our values demand that all customers are treated fairly and with respect, and we find the video posted by the family concerning.” “This matter has our full attention, and we will take appropriate action as necessary,” the company added while giving an assurance.
Despite being rebooked on a different flight, Ali and Hoilett believe they were treated unfairly. According to Ali, he has consulted with an attorney and intends to submit a formal complaint.
Another couple has filed a lawsuit against American Airlines after being forced off a flight in August for refusing to put a bag containing a holy prayer shawl on the floor.
According to The New York Post, Mr. Birman’s prayer book and shawl were carried in a Tallit bag — a clear, 8.5 inch-by-8.5-inch plastic carrier — by Roberto and Elana Birman, a Jewish couple married 52 years. An attendant on their trip from Miami pushed the luggage into his lap and told him it had to go beneath the seat.
When Birman explained that the sacred artifact could not be placed on the floor, the flight attendant allegedly said, “It doesn’t matter.” He and his wife declined. Mrs. Birman equated the request to asking a Christian to throw a cross on the floor for someone to step on.
“The pilot came over but didn’t speak to them, the Birmans said. Eventually, a ground crew member was called and urged them to follow him off the plane, they said.”
The Birmans recently filed a lawsuit against the airline after a ground service member called them and persuaded them to follow him off the plane.
“My clients were ejected from the flight based on the prejudices and complete lack of sensitivity of American Airlines employees for reasons wholly unrelated to security,” said their lawyer, Brad Gerstman. “The flight attendant and pilot’s conduct was as offensive as it was illogical.”
American Airlines is apparently reviewing the Birmans’ lawsuit and has yet to respond to the Ali and Hoilett incident.