According to a Black American woman from Alameda, Calif., she felt helpless when Delta flight attendants asked her to move to the back of the plane mid-flight to make way for two people who claimed to have first-class tickets but could not present them.
Camille Henderson told KABC that she and her boyfriend would be traveling to Atlanta to see her family in late January. This would be the first time he and her mother would meet.
However, this turned sour during the trip. Henderson said she flies exclusively with Delta, but she no longer does that anymore.
“I just want them to acknowledge that they made me feel powerless and they can’t do that to customers moving forward,” she told a news station according to Bet report.
Henderson said she experienced a major inconvenience when she returned to her home on February 3. originally, she was booked for a window seat in row 15. However, two women sitting next to her in the aisle and middle seats complained about their seat assignment to flight attendants, so she ended up in row 34.
“They felt like they were ticketed first class seats, but they couldn’t provide the tickets,” Henderson added, adding that the complaints continued for more than an hour, at which point she started recording the conversation.
Henderson provided an audio clip to San Francisco’s KGO-TV that she said was recorded during a conversation between the flight attendant and the two women seated next to her. One passenger in the audio was caught saying, “Unfortunately, my first class seats are occupied.”
Eventually, Henderson said, the Delta flight attendants offered a solution to get the women more room, but that meant her leaving her own seat. Furthermore, she observed that the attendants at no point suggested her neighboring women, who were dissatisfied with their seat assignments, to move.
“I don’t want to make it a race thing, but instead of asking the two white women that were seated next to me (to move), in an attempt to accommodate them, they basically made me have to move,” Henderson said. “I just don’t know why I had to move because that was the seat that I paid for, that was my assigned seat.”
According to her, she agreed to the request for a seat change so that she wouldn’t be reprimanded or called disruptive.
“As I’m walking back there it’s just humiliating,” Henderson described. “It’s like having the entire flight look at you and asking what’s going on.”
Henderson stated she contacted Delta following her flight experience, but was unsatisfied with the telephone conversation she had with a customer service representative. The representative said there wasn’t much they could do “under these circumstances,” according to the recording of the conversation.
Henderson contacted local news at that point. Afterward, KTVB reported that a Delta Airlines spokesperson saying: “We are looking into this situation to better understand what happened. Delta has no tolerance for discrimination in any form and these allegations run counter to our deeply-held values of respecting and honoring the diversity of our customers.”
At this point, Henderson believes it’s too late, and the humiliation has already happened.
“Me, as a Black woman, I was displaced to make two white women comfortable. That doesn’t make any sense to me,” she said.