A passenger was removed from a recent Delta Air Lines flight after defying a crew member’s orders and using the bathroom while the jet awaited takeoff.
On April 18, Delta Flight 2035 was third in line for takeoff in Atlanta when the passenger, Kima Hamilton, felt the urgent need to urinate, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
However, when Hamilton reached the rear lavatory of the McDonnell Douglas MD-88, he said, a flight attendant told him that the plane would lose its place in line if he used the restroom — so Hamilton returned to his seat.
Hamilton said the urge returned after an extended wait and became more intense, so he used the restroom.
“We weren’t taking off,” he told the Journal Sentinel. “We were still. The plane isn’t moving.”
Hamilton’s decision to get up while the aircraft was taxiing, along with his decision to defy the crew member’s orders, caused the Milwaukee-bound flight to return to the gate.
In a video posted on YouTube by a fellow passenger, an airline employee asks Hamilton to exit the aircraft, and Hamilton pleads his case to remain on board. At the gate, all passengers were forced to deplane, and Hamilton was met by airline employees and law enforcement, according to the Journal Sentinel.
Footage of unpleasant passenger interactions with airline employees appears regularly on social media, as travellers with smartphones can record every incident. One of the most shocking was the violent removal of a passenger from a from United Airlines flight earlier this month after he refused to give up his seat.
Fury over the incident, which caused the passenger injuries, prompted a series of apologies from United and, on Thursday, a plan that aims to ensure something like it will never happen again.
It’s not just United and Delta. Last week, an American Airlines flight attendant was suspended after getting into a heated confrontation with a passenger that was recorded by a fellow passenger. The flight attendant also took a stroller out of a woman’s hands and nearly struck a young child in the process, the passenger who recorded the video said.
In Delta’s case, the requirement for passengers to remain seated while taxiing is not the airline’s rule, but a federal aviation regulation.
According to Delta, the crew’s account of the event differs from that of the passenger, but the airline declined to go into detail.
In a statement to Business Insider, Delta said: “Our flight crews are extensively trained to ensure the safety and security of all customers. It is imperative that passengers comply with crew instructions during all phases of flight, especially at the critical points of takeoff and landing.”
Federal regulations say the fasten seat belt sign must be turned on while the aircraft is in motion on the ground, during landing and takeoff, or when the pilot in command sees fit; all passengers must remain seated with their seat belts fastened when the sign is on; and all passengers must comply with seating orders given to them by the crew.
However, it’s unclear how much latitude employees at Delta and other airlines have to make judgment calls in instances such as Flight 2035.
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