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It’s Either You or Me: Delta Air Flight Attendant Demands Jewish Man Deplanes Flight in Antisemitism Row

It’s Either You or Me: Delta Air Flight Attendant Demands Jewish Man Deplanes Flight in Antisemitism Row

a plane flying in the sky

Delta Air Lines has confirmed that it is investigating an incident in which a flight attendant allegedly referred to a visibly Orthodox Jewish man and his family as “you people” in what appeared to be an antisemitic slur.

The alleged incident took place as passengers were boarding the Delta Air flight from Fort Lauderdale to LaGuardia on Monday, January 23, according to the victim who recounted his story to Jewish news publication Hamodia.

The victim, who wishes to remain anonymous, claims that after airline managers cleared him to fly, the flight attendant issued an ultimatum – either he was removed from the plane or the flight attendant would refuse to work and the flight would have to be canceled.

The first altercation with the flight attendant occurred as the man boarded Delta flight DL1541 on Monday evening with his carry-on suitcase and a hatbox. The man placed both items in the overhead bin, which almost immediately provoked a reaction from the flight attendant.

According to the victim’s account, the female flight attendant marched over to him and remonstrated: “You people always have tons of luggage. Why can’t you put the hat box under your feet?”

The use of “you people” has been taken to refer to visibly Jewish people and could be interpreted as being antisemitic.

The man says he agreed to comply with the flight attendant’s request if the need arose but initially pushed back and pointed out that there was still plenty of space available for other bags in the overhead bins.

A short time later, however, the flight attendant allegedly returned and grabbed the man’s suitcase to move it to another spot. When the man told her to leave his belongings alone, the flight attendant left but then returned with ground personnel who escorted him off the plane.

Once off the aircraft, the victim says he was allowed to share his side of the story and he was cleared to board the plane before the flight attendant threatened to deplane herself should he be allowed back onboard the plane.

The victim says Delta chose to keep the flight attendant onboard the aircraft and offered him hotel accommodation for the night, as well as a $500 travel voucher.

One witness onboard the flight has been quoted as backing up the victim’s account, saying the flight attendant “took his bag in a rage for no reason.” His lawyer stresses that the victim’s luggage was within Delta’s permitted allowance.

“Delta is aware of and in the preliminary stages of investigating a situation regarding a customer being asked to exit flight 1541 and be rebooked on an alternate flight,” the airline has said in a statement addressing the incident.

“We are committed to using the results this investigation to come to a full understanding of the events that took place and respond as appropriate,” the statement continued.

Last November, German flag carrier Lufthansa agreed to a $2.7 million payout to settle a lawsuit brought by a group of Jewish passengers who claimed they were removed from a flight because they “looked” Jewish.

Following the May 2022 incident, Lufthansa has introduced new employee training, adopted a wider encompassing definition of antisemitism and is continuing to work with the American Jewish Committee to develop corporate sensitivity training sessions.

View Comments (2)
  • First, as a person with a law degree, I know all too much not to jump to conclusions without all of the facts. That being said, if the facts in the story are true as reported, then I see three issues here. First, the identification of any person based on their religion as “You people” is absolutely unacceptable. Second, the childishness of the grown adult flight attendant giving al ultimatum of “the passenger or me” is uncalled for. The flight attendant basically put every passengers flight in jeopardy of being significantly delayed if the attendant left the plane. Flights must have a specific number of crew members on board each flight or it doesn’t fly…..simple as that. If the attendant left, the flight sits delayed until another crew is assigned and arrives on the plane.

    Third, the passenger bears some responsibility here also for his actions. I fly very often. Gate agents and flight attendants alike make multiple announcements as to the size of bags allowed, 2 item limit (consolidate or we’ll check the excess bags,) and “the large item in the overhead and the smaller item under the seat in front of you.” As a passenger, I’m not looking to touch some unknown person belongings in the overhead, just hopeful there is actually space in the overhead because passengers boarding in front of me did not abuse the overhead space. Because of this I EXPECT flight attendants to monitor passengers trying to ignore the multiple announcements regarding overhead etiquette. Here, the passenger stated he would move the box if someone asked. How would I know the box was his? Am I supposed to become the overhead police because some rude person boarded in front of me and hogged all the space because “they could.” No, the flight attendant was wrong in using the “You people” phrase, but not wrong to try to enforce the overhead rule so other passengers had space for their bags.

    • I also had trouble with a Delta female flight attendant on a flight from Orlando to Atlanta. I was cold, soI got up to retrieve my coat from the overhead, she was serving coffee, not paying attention, turned around and spilled a cup of scalding coffee all down my front. Things would have been okay had she not begun screaming at me at the top of her lungs that “I had snuck up on her” and I “wasn’t supposed to get up” (the seat belt sign was off), and I was “interfering with her doing her job”. When I asked her for a damp towel to clean up, she threw a couple of napkins at my face. Many of the other passengers gave me their business cards and names and urged me to file a complaint against her, and I did – and she was grounded. Unfortunately, Delta is known for flying “air hags”,

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