The Delta Dilemma: Flyer Rights in Post-9/11 America
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

The Delta Dilemma: Flyer Rights in Post-9/11 America

If you're not a part of the solution, you're a part of the problem.

17
The Delta Dilemma: Flyer Rights in Post-9/11 America
Wikimedia Commons

Fifteen years after the 9/11 attack on the twin towers, islamic and arabic people face extreme prejudices, shunned by Americans who perceive them as a threat. This detail, compounded by stricter airport security and flying regulations, creates a breeding ground for airline conflict. Last week, popular youtuber and prankster Adam Saleh released a video of confrontation with passengers and flight crew on board Delta flight 1 from London.

According to Saleh, he and friend, Slim Abaher, were escorted off of Delta flight 1 before departure on Wednesday, December 21st, after speaking on the phone with his mother, in the Arabic language. His claims of discrimination have prompted considerable backlash at Delta Airlines, which released a statement claiming their decision was made, "after a disturbance in the cabin resulted in more than 20 customers expressing their discomfort." London's Metropolitan Police spokesperson Camilla Goodman verified that neither man removed from the flight did "anything lawfully wrong" despite their mandatory departure from the plane. This is just one of many recent and highly publicized incidents with US Airlines, provoking conversation about flyer rights and transportation discrimination laws.

It is important to acknowledge that U.S. Code does indeed grant American citizens the right to fly, written in Title 9, Subtitle VII, "A citizen of the United States has a public right of transit through the navigable airspace."

In a notice to U.S. Airlines following the attack of 9/11, the U.S. Department of Transportation urges airline safety and security personnel to be particularly considerate of passengers that may be perceived to be of Arab, Middle Eastern, or South Asian descent and/or Muslim, strictly forbidding all forms of transportation discrimination. However, DOT encourages U.S. Airlines and contractors to lawfully, "Take all available facts and circumstances into account in identifying persons or property that may be a safety or security risk." In addition to this, it is important to recognize that DOT prioritizes transportation security: "Although your actions may, at times, offend the person involved, you would continue to be justified in conducting additional questioning, inspections or searches, for safety or security reasons, in certain situations,". In following these standards, airlines are permitted to otherwise operate by their own policy. One such policy: removing passengers that may create unnecessary conflict and disturbances in-flight.

According to Delta, the decision to remove Saleh and Abaher from the flight was in standing with their current policy and Contract of Carriage. After reviewing this Contract of Carriage, it is clear that the U.S. Airline is justified in their decision, and that passenger deplaning does not warrant actions that are "lawfully wrong", as many citizens may believe. Delta's Contract of Carriage states that the airline may remove passengers for a variety of reasons including, "when refusal to transport or removal of the passenger is reasonably necessary in Delta’s sole discretion for the passenger’s comfort or safety, for the comfort or safety of other passengers or Delta employees...". What kind of actions may warrant this decision? According to Delta, the following: "When the passenger’s conduct creates an unreasonable risk of offense or annoyance to other passengers". The ambiguity and subjectivity of language like "unreasonable risk of offense or annoyance" creates considerable room for interpretation. Interpretation that justifies the airline's decision, given Saleh's history of provoking racial confrontation and tensions on-board planes. The prioritization of security, safety, and comfort of passengers aboard planes is thematic among airline policy, validating actions made by airlines to deplane passengers that create considerable "risks" in-flight.

However disconcerting the circumstances and implications of this particular confrontation, the airline's actions appear to be constitutional, even as Delta Airlines unintentionally contributes to cultural and racial tensions in American. Circumstances such as those presented on-board Delta flight 1 on Wednesday are particularly hard to navigate and unfortunately, the resulting actions often-times validate, or make appropriate, American prejudices. Prejudice and discrimination is particularly hard to combat because the nature of its origin and perpetuation is not black and white. Many believe that any party not a part of the solution, is a part of the problem. It is this reason that many are critical of Delta's decision, despite the fact that the individual prejudices and discomfort experienced by the complaining passengers is to blame. Clearly, the sensitive nature of racial tensions warrants further reflection and examination of transportation policies, in hopes of producing a more effective and appealing remedy. However, we should expect nothing less than U.S. Airlines making the most commercially reasonable decisions within the boundaries of the law.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
11 Songs That Will Hit You In The Feels, No Doubt About It

One of my favorite things to do when it comes to music is making different playlists on Spotify. I find it so fun to go back to old songs, find new ones, and categorize them into my different playlists. We all have that one playlist that we resort to when we are really feeling some type of way — also known as a "feels" playlist. If you have one of these playlists or feel ~inspired~ to make one, here are 11 songs that are a must to add.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

To My Fellow Girls With Resting B**** Face

A letter to my friends with RBF about understanding your own face and helping others deal with it.

2134
Jupe du Jour

To the girl with resting b**** face:

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

The Boyfriends Of The 2000s

Thank you, J14, for the Posters

4778
J14 magazine

Every girl remembers her first crush. Even if your first crush was the boy in your kindergarten class that ate crayons, your first true love will always be the one that holds the key to your heart. Growing up in the 2000s, everyone knew who your dream guy was. Your family probably still give you grief and your best friends probably still reminisce, so it is impossible to forget your first celebrity crush. You bought a Tiger Beat magazine every chance you could just to read up about what your favorite celebrity was doing. Your room was fully decorated with posters of them, and it wasn't unusual to have fights with your best friends over who was going to marry him. If you were a 90's baby, lucky you because the 2000s were full of boys that were easy to love. I hope you enjoy a walk down memory lane and quickly realize that Bieber was definitely not the first guy with that hair cut. Here are 15 90's baby's first boyfriends.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

20 Things I Learned By The Start of My 20s

No one expects you to have your life together by the time you're 20, because honestly, they didn't either.

15019
Allyson Foutty

We are all often faced with many life challenges throughout the time leading up to our 20s. Before this time, and throughout it, we often look back at the things we've learned and how they've influenced who we are as people today. Some of my biggest influences were some of the challenges I've faced, but they've taught me 20 important things by the start of my 20s.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

The Boyfriend Recipe

The ingredients to build a relationship are a little more complicated than just a bouquet of flowers and a box of candy.

12028

Relationships. Long distance or not, significant others are much more than just that. I would be lying if I said I did not love the sweet gestures that only a boyfriend can give. The flowers, funny phone calls, hand holding, breakfast dates, and tight hugs are special but my relationship and many others out there exist on much more than just these little gestures. It is a tricky concoction that consists of one part boyfriend and two parts best friend and would not work without one part or the other. While having a relationship may not be quite as easy as baking a batch of cookies, it has its own recipe (with a few variations for flavor) to follow for a good match.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments