A Delta Air Lines passenger who identifies as queer claims they were removed from a recent flight because they weren’t wearing a bra after airport staff accused them of violating Delta’s dress code.
Lisa Archbold, a Kiwi expat living in the United States, told the New Zealand Herald that they were hoping to fly with Delta from Salt Lake City to San Francisco on January 22, but shortly after boarding the jet, a staffer called them to the front of the plane and had them offloaded.
Having just wrapped up at the Sundance Film Festival, where she was helping to promote a liquor brand, Lisa says she initially thought she was in trouble because her checked-in bag was full of bottles of vodka.
It was only when Lisa was confronted by the Delta employee, however, that it dawned on them that it was their choice of clothes that was causing a problem.
“This woman from the ground crew comes to me and loudly says in front of the whole plane ‘I need to speak to you in private. Follow me’,” Lisa told the newspaper.
“I’m thinking someone has died, or they found something weird in my bag,” they continued.
At this point, the employee allegedly told Lisa that it was Delta’s policy to remove anyone in “revealing clothes”. Lisa was issued an ultimatum. Cover up with a jacket or get off the plane.
“I was dressed like a little boy in baggy pants and shirt, I had no idea what she was talking about,” Lisa said. They believe they were targeted because they were wearing men’s clothing and that a lack of a bra should have no relevance to their ability to travel.
“Neither were the men on that flight, and lots have bigger breasts than me.”
In a post on Instagram, Lisa wrote: “I was targeted last week by a Delta Airlines ground crew. She removed me from a flight after everyone was seated, parading me around – humiliation and abuse.”
“I am certain it was because I don’t look the way a woman should look, according to her. She weaponised a policy to abuse people that are different”.
A DJ and vocalist who goes by the stage name DJette Kiwi, Lisa says Delta was one of their favourite brands, based in large part on their track record of inclusivity.
Delta doesn’t have a specific dress code, but the airline says it can remove people from its airplanes if their “conduct, attire, hygiene or odour creates an unreasonable risk of offence or annoyance to other passengers”.
Lisa says that policy “left an inclusive company open to having bigots weaponise their company”.
Delta did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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.