A group of African-Americans are accusing Spirit Airlines of racial discrimination after they were kicked off a flight from Los Angeles to Dallas, CBS Los Angeles reports.
The incident occurred Monday when a flight attendant asked a Black couple to move seats. The passengers, however, said the seats had been double-booked, adding they did not do anything to warrant their relocation. After a while, the man got up to move seats, but not before exchanging words with a flight attendant, who happened to be White.
According to a witness, the man told the flight attendant not to talk to him.
From Think Progress:
The man retorted, “I’m not talking to you, you don’t talk to me,” according to the witness. The flight attendant then told him he was going to have to get off the plane and called the police to report him as a threat.
Other travelers protested the man’s treatment, so the attendant asked the police to escort them off the plane as well, leaving them behind in Los Angeles…”
Others claim they were also kicked off the flight because they defended the Black passenger. The airline, however, called the group “disruptive.” One of the women told CBS Los Angeles that other passengers were also involved in the discussion, but the six removed from the flight were all Black.
“I’m really humiliated just for the simple fact that you hear about this type of stuff happening in America, discrimination issues and stuff like that, but to actually experience it first-hand… ” said passenger Alexandria Wright.
Wright provided cell phone footage of the man at the center of the argument telling police the flight attendant was, indeed, rude. But the airline is backing up the flight attendant’s story. In a statement to CBS, Spirit said the paying costumers were “unruly:”
“Four passengers became unruly and were causing trouble with other passengers. Flight crew asked them to stop. When they did, not law enforcement was called and they were removed from the flight.”
LAX officers told reporters the incident was a business dispute. Other passengers claimed the group was kicked off the plane for being disruptive before the flight.
“It’s a business dispute,” LAX police spokesman Rob Pedregon told the Daily News. “It’s up to (Spirit) to define what is disruptive.”
No arrests were made and the group was given hotel vouchers and booked on a flight to Dallas on Tuesday.
This isn’t the first time this year a group of Black people were removed from transportation for being “disruptive.” In August, 11 Black women belonging to a book club were escorted off the Napa Valley Wine Train by police for laughing too loud.