A passenger onboard a Delta Connection flight that was forced to make an emergency descent earlier this month after the flight deck windshield ‘shattered’ claims Delta employees gaslighted the passengers and downplayed the seriousness of what they experienced.
Diana Gremillion, who describes herself as an energy healer, master coach and international speaker amongst other things, was onboard Delta Connection flight DL5441 from New York JFK to Minneapolis on January 4 when oxygen masks suddenly dropped and the regional CRJ-700 aircraft made an emergency descent to just 10,000 feet.
The near 19-year-old aircraft was flying through Canadian airspace when the pilots noticed delamination in the windshield. They requested and got approval for a descent but during this time the windshield shattered and the oxygen masks in the passenger cabin dropped.
The pilots managed to safely land the plane without further incident around 45 minutes later in Detroit but Diana claims agents acting on behalf of Delta Air Lines on the ground in Detroit acted as if they were “covering something up” and were “nonchalantly calling it a diversion”.
Diana believes the airline should have taken what she viewed as a mid-air emergency more seriously and felt that the attitude of the airline was “diminishing and invalidating” the experience that the passengers faced.
“It was completely insensitive to what we had just experienced,” the 9/11 survivor said in a TikTok video which has racked up nearly 100,000 views.
“Someone did apologize but it was one of those apologizes where someone says sorry but they don’t really feel sorry based on their actions”.
Diana has faced criticism because she is seen in one TikTok video wearing her oxygen mask over an N95 face mask. A viewer asked her why she didn’t first remove her face mask when airlines specifically instruct passengers to do exactly this if oxygen masks drop.
“We’re allowed to not know better and to make mistakes,” Diana replies. “Yeah, I made a mistake, I was in shock”.
“There was no flight attendant around to help us out. We were left to our own devices,” Diana continued.
In the event of a depressurization where oxygen masks have dropped, passengers are advised to immediately grab an oxygen mask, remove their face mask and then place the oxygen mask over both their mouth and nose.
They should then use the steps to adjust the fit of the mask before helping anyone else. Because the aircraft is likely to descend very fast, passengers should also sit down and fasten their seatbelt tight.
Flight attendants won’t be immediately at hand because they must also grab an oxygen mask and sit down for the duration of the descent to avoid injuring themselves or becoming incapacitated.
But Diana has hit out at the state of the emergency equipment, saying that the oxygen masks looked old and the elasticated strap on one mask didn’t seem to be working properly.
She has since called on airlines to do more to reassure passengers that emergency equipment is thoroughly checked. The airline industry is one of the most scrutinized in the world and strict regulations mean that aircraft and emergency equipment is regularly checked to make sure everything is in working order.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.