An African-American couple was asked to leave a flight by Swoop Airlines because they switched seats without permission. Simple Flying reports that the couple claims racism was the real reason they were kicked off the flight.
On the 10th of August, Jhody Batiste and Andre Henry were on flight WO315 from Toronto to Kelowna. They were taking the trip together, but they weren’t sitting next to each other. Batiste politely requested a seat swap from another passenger so that she and her companion could sit together.
After the passenger gave her consent, a flight attendant came up to them and informed Batiste that she would have to pay to switch seats.
“OK, charge me then,” Batiste said. Batiste was then informed that there was a problem by a second flight attendant who had returned with her.
What Occurred Is As Follows
The flight attendants initially blamed a weight issue on passengers who had switched seats. The flight attendant, according to Batiste, told her, “It’s not even about switching seats anymore, it’s about your attitude,” after she and her husband had returned several times with a new complaint.
A flight attendant expressed her unease to Batiste about her continued presence on the plane. Batiste told them to call the police when they threatened to do so, and one of them said, “If you don’t leave, we’re going to be phoning the authorities.”
They called the police, and officers met the plane to help the couple disembark safely. Batiste and Henry had to pay an extra C$2,000 to take a later flight home due to a flight cancellation.
Jennifer Aviss, a third passenger on the flight, saw the whole thing unfold between Batiste and Henry. She also agrees that Batiste was not the one with an attitude problem and that the decision to remove the couple from the flight was motivated by racism.
To be more specific, this racism stems from:
When one of the flight attendants accused Batiste of getting an attitude, another passenger defended her, saying, “No, your staff are the ones giving them attitude,” as recounted by Aviss: “She wasn’t rude.”
Aviss claims she tried to alert the flight crew, but they did nothing. Aviss concludes that racism played a major role in this incident. Another passenger, a Caucasian male, switched seats with Jhody but they never spoke to either of them. Neither of them addressed him.
Swoop’s spokesperson: “We take these matters very seriously and have launched an investigation into this file.” We apologize that some customers on this flight did not receive the warm welcome and comfortable environment they deserved. We have opened an internal investigation into the matter and have reached out to Ms. Batiste to address her concerns.
Batiste claims that Swoop Airlines has offered to reimburse the cost of the couple’s unplanned flight home.
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