A Delta flight attendant allegedly questioned whether a black woman was a doctor

Dr. Tamika CrossDr. Tamika Cross

A Delta Air Lines flight attendant allegedly questioned a black doctor about whether she was actually a medical professional when a passenger fell ill on a domestic flight on Sunday.

Tamika Cross, a gynecologist from Houston, was on a Delta flight from Detroit to Houston when a passenger two rows in front of her started “screaming for help,” Cross wrote in a Facebook note on Sunday that has been shared more than 35,000 times.

A flight attendant called for a physician on board to help, but when Cross raised her hand to assist the passenger’s husband, who was unresponsive at the time, the flight attendant told Cross, “Oh no sweetie put ur (sic) hand down, we are looking for actual physicians or nurses or some type of medical personnel, we don’t have time to talk to you.”

Another flight attendant called overhead for a doctor onboard, wrote Cross. When Cross signalled again that she was a doctor and made eye contact with the flight attendant, the woman responded, “oh wow you’re an actual physician?”

The attendant then asked Cross to produce her “credentials,” she wrote. According to Cross’s LinkedIn page, she obtained an M.D. from Meharry Medical College in 2013, and now works as a resident physician at the University of Texas Health Center in Houston.

Unconvinced, the flight attendant further questioned Cross as to what type of doctor she was, and what she was doing in Detroit, according to Cross’s account.

Another passenger, also a doctor, started attending to the sick passenger — who was now feeling better, and responding to questions. The flight attendant and the other doctor consulted Cross on how to best care for the passenger.

While Cross says that the flight attendant apologised to her “several times,” and offered her Sky Miles, Cross “kindly refused,” according to her Facebook note.

“I don’t want skymiles in exchange for blatant discrimination,” Cross wrote. “Whether this was race, age, gender discrimination, it’s not right. She will not get away with this….and I will still get my skymiles….”

A representative for Delta told NBC News that the company is “in the process of conducting a full investigation” into the incident. The representative added that three medical professionals offered help on the flight, but only one provided credentials. The doctor that provided credentials was the one who was asked to assist the ailing passenger. 


“We are troubled by any accusations of discrimination and take them very seriously. The experience Dr. Cross has described is not reflective of Delta’s culture or of the values our employees live out every day,” Delta said in a statement, per NBC. 

Here’s Cross’s full Facebook post:

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