Delta fined $50,000 for discriminating against Muslim passengers

Web Editor | ConsumerConnect

Delta Airlines has been fined $50,000 after the United States Federal Transportation Department discovered that it discriminated against three Muslim passengers.

The New York Times reports that the affected had been cleared by the airline’s security, but were later barred from flights, according to a consent order.

Delta crews were said to have failed to follow the security protocol and their decisions to bar the passengers from the flights were discriminatory, according to the Transportation Department.

The airlines was also mandated to make some flight crews and customer service representatives attend civil rights training as part of the department’s order, which was issued on Friday.

The passengers had filed complaints against Delta with the agency.

Source says the order addressed two episodes that took place in July 2016, and involved flights from Paris to Cincinnati and from Amsterdam to New York.

In both instances, the captain of the flight overruled Delta security officials, who had said the passengers passed background checks, agency officials said.

In both cases, Transportation Department officials said, Delta crews failed to follow the security protocol and their decisions to bar the passengers from the flights were discriminatory.

“It appears that but for Mr. and Mrs. X’s perceived religion, Delta would not have removed or denied them reboarding,” the agency said of a Cincinnati area couple that were removed from a flight.

A Delta Airlines spokeswoman, Lisa Hellerstedt, said in an e-mail statement Monday, January 27 night that the airline had no tolerance for discrimination, but disputed the agency’s findings.

“While we understand that our best customer service was not reflected in how the incident was handled, we disagree with the Department of Transportation’s contention that Delta engaged in discriminatory conduct,” Ms. Hellerstedt said.

“For that reason, we have worked to improve our investigative process since these incidents and we have supporting programmes, policies, training and procedures that back up our commitments in this area.”

A number of airlines have faced complaints that they have discriminated against Muslim passengers, including American and Southwest, the report said.

Sana Hassan, a lawyer for the Ohio Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and for the couple who filed the complaint, said the fine was a step in the right direction.

She said her clients, Nazia and Faisal Ali, had been returning from a 10-year wedding anniversary trip in Paris when they were asked to get off the Delta flight.

“They were just kicked off this flight without any explanation,” Ms. Hassan said in an interview on Monday night.

“To be treated in this way and be marginalised in this way simply because of your Muslim appearance was disheartening for them,” she stated.

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