A new lawsuit filed by two veteran United Airlines flight attendants in the Los Angeles Superior Court claims the airline only wanted “white, young and thin” female crew members who were “predominantly blond and blue-eyed” to work on special charter flights for the LA Dodgers baseball team.
Darby Quezada and Dawn Todd have filed a number of charges against United Airlines, including racial discrimination, religious harassment and discrimination, age discrimination, negligent supervision, retaliation and intentional infliction of emotional distress which are detailed in the 22-page complaint.
Quezada, 44, describes herself as mixed-race and of Mexican, black and Jewish descent, while Todd, 50, is an African-American woman who has worked for United Airlines for more than 17 years.
Both women say they were passed up to work on highly coveted and financially lucrative sports teams charter flights for the LA Dodgers because United managers who selected flight attendants to work on these flights preferred white or Asian flight attendants in their 20s or 30s, the suit alleges.
Quezada and Todd did, however, eventually get selected to work on the LA Dodgers charter flights after going through an unusual interview process, although their time working these flights wasn’t without controversy.
On one occasion, at the end of the 2021 season, former Dodger Justin Turner handed out envelopes stuffed with cash to flight attendants, although Quezada and Todd, along with other minority flight attendants, never received these tips.
On another occasion, Quezada says other crew members subjected her to racist abuse, saying she was only selected to work the charter flights because United “needed a Mexican to clean the bathrooms”.
After working several seasons on these charter flights, Todd says she was inexplicably demoted to a new list of flight attendants who could be picked at random to work charter flights but without any guarantee they would be chosen.
Todd claims she was forced to sit on the sidelines alongside other miniroity flight attendants as United began “cherry-picking only white flight attendants who fit a certain look”.
The lawsuit comes just over three years after two other United flight attendants sued the airline over allegations that it was picking “youthful, white flight attendants – most of whom are blonde” to work NFL charter flights.
At the time, the airline said flight attendants who work in its sports team charter program “are largely representative of our overall flight attendant population in regards to age and race.”
“Importantly, flight attendant eligibility to work a charter flight is based solely on performance and attendance and has nothing to do with age, race or gender,” the statement continued.
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.