A Black couple who were asked to leave an American Airlines flight while they were travelling with their newborn over the weekend say they have decided to take legal action.
The couple, Allan Ali and Kamia Hoilett, were asked to deboard the plane after a brief verbal altercation with a white co-passenger and a white flight attendant.
Mr Ali and his family were headed to Philadelphia, where they live, from North Carolina’s Charlotte.
They said that the disagreement began after the couple stood to make way for their co-passenger to get to his seat but he objected, saying: “Y’all have to get up”, reported The Shade Room.
At this point, they say they tried to get up and exit the row to let the man in but were blocked by a flight attendant who was standing there. When Ms Hoilett asked for space to move, the airline official asked her: “Is this going to be a problem?”
The woman was asked to sit down by the flight attendant, who told her to buckle her seatbelt in a “passive-aggressive tone”, she said, following which the conversation heated up, according to The Grio.
Ms Hoilett told the flight attendant that she objected to the manner in which she was being spoken to. Seconds later, the flight attendant reported the incident to the captain, who asked for the family to be removed from the flight before it took off.
A video shared on social media showed Ms Hoilett repeatedly saying “I didn’t do anything” while holding her infant. Shortly after, Mr Ali was asked to stop recording the incident.
After deboarding the 1pm flight on Sunday, the couple were booked on another flight leaving Charlotte later that evening.
Mr Ali said he was ready to file an official complaint against the alleged unfair treatment they received on the flight.
The airline said it was investigating the incident and has reached out to the family as well as other people involved. “Our values demand that all customers are treated fairly and with respect, and we find the video posted by the family concerning,” American Airlines said in an emailed statement.
It added that the matter had their “full attention” and it will take appropriate action as necessary.