American Airlines messed with the wrong Black people Sunday, leaving the company with a lawsuit, an inevitably (and rightfully) costly settlement, and some extremely nasty press.
Allan Ali and his partner, Kamia Hoilett, along with their seven-week-old baby, were forced off a Philidelphia-bound flight from Charlotte, North Carolina, after a white passenger and a flight attendant got into a verbal altercation with the family.
The whole thing started when the passenger, Brandon, asked the couple with the infant to stand up and allow him into his row. “Y’all have to get up,” Brandon demand, obviously peeved there were other folks sharing the row with him aboard this public flight.
Why oh why do the whites behave this way? I have to ask myself every time I see a story like this one—and that’s pretty often.
Hoilett, who’s likely had about an hour of sleep in the last few months, what with the very recent pregnancy and having a newborn baby attached to her body every moment since, asked the flight attendant—whose name has not been released and will henceforth be known as Karen—to move back so they had room to move out of their co-passenger’s way so he could gain access to his seat.
This is the point at which the flight attendant goes from being gainfully employed to a Karen with her job on the line.
She asks the new mother, “Is there going to be a problem?” To which Hoilett responds, “No, and who are you talking to? No, there’s not a problem.”
Karen then says, “Okay. Now, you go and sit down and put your seatbelt on.”
Hoilett then asks her, “Who do you think you’re talking to? I’m not a child.”
Karen then says, “I’m talking to you,” and then proceeded to storm off to report the Black people to management—who, in this case, is the pilot.
Ali says the crew was unkind and unprofessional. “No attempt was made to make sure [Hoilett] was settled with their seven-week-old child. No patience. No tolerance.”
The incident became serious when the couple was then accused by another flight attendant of “being aggressive,” which is code white racists use for “being a Black person.”
This caused Ali to begin recording flight attendants as they demanded the family leave the plane. At one point, one of the male flight attendants hit Ali’s phone out of his hand. That didn’t stop Ali from continuing to record.
“Today could’ve been avoided with a little human decency and compassion,” Ali captioned the Instagram clip. “I ask you, had my queen not been Black… would this have occurred? The answer is unequivocal no! @americanair we need answers! Please continue to share we need justice!!!”
As the family walked off the plane, several other passengers vouched for the couple and their side of the story.
Hoilett can be seen in the video crying as she silently exited with her family, holding her infant to her chest.
The airline company told The Grio they are investigating those involved in the situation, including the passengers and employees.
“Our values demand that all customers are treated fairly and with respect, and we find the video posted by the family concerning,” the company said in an email. “This matter has our full attention and we will take appropriate action as necessary.”
Ali and Hoilett say that despite being seated on another flight on Sunday evening, after the way they were treated they will be filing an official complaint through their attorney.
We hope the complaint ends in a whole lot of money and the prompt dismissal of the flight attendants involved.