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Dispute Over Cell Phone’s Airplane Mode Causes Plane To Return To Gate As Woman Is Removed From Flight

Several passengers were kicked off a flight on Friday, June 29, over a dispute as to whether or not one flier’s phone was in airplane mode. An argument ensued and, altogether, 4 adults and a child were removed from the plane.

Much of the conflict was captured on video. 

Apologies y’all this is a LONG post but I have to share this. First, I want to acknowledge because I am painfully aware of the serious and profoundly heartbreaking injustices/events happening in our world and communities that I have grappled with sharing my experience. It seems small in the face of those things. But the micro is important and little things that go unchecked spiral. So I was on a flight leaving Fort Wayne, Indiana this past Saturday June 23rd after doing a DJ workshop for #gearfest @sweetwater for @serato when I was unfairly ejected from @delta flight 4527. Just before take off the flight attendant rudely told me to put my phone on airplane mode.As I was swiping to it the attendant menacingly stood over me with her arms folded waiting for me to do it. I told her “I know how to turn on airplane mode, you don’t have to stand over me” She became agitated and said “If you’re gonna act like that we can go back to the gate and you can get off” I held up my phone to show her that airplane mode was on. She stormed to the front then came back to my seat and said we were going back to the gate. She then accused me of not turning on airplane mode after being “told to do so several times”. She only asked me once. I then asked her “What can we do to rectify this so that we can all go?” She said “You can comply” and I repeated that I had and she argued I did not. At that point the passenger sitting behind me @ryanmillerphotos told her that I had complied and he witnessed me doing so. She then threatened to kick him off of the flight as well. A Latina woman two rows ahead politely asked the flight attendant to sit down so that we could fly and the attendant snapped at her. We returned to the gate an officer boarded the plane and the flight attendant directed him to take me, the Latina woman @ryanmillerphotos off of the flight then the entire plane had to deboard. Subsequently 4 adults and a little boy were ejected permanently from the flight and stranded in Indiana with no place to stay as @delta refused to put any of us,including the man with the child,in a hotel. That was the last flight out. Elena, the Latina woman who was also ejected was rushing

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Many are now accusing Delta and Skywest Airlines of discrimination.

The issue apparently began when passenger Robyn Rodgers was asked by a flight attendant to switch her phone to airplane mode. When the attendant continued to hover over her, Rodgers became annoyed:

“I told her ‘I know how to turn on airplane mode, you don’t have to stand over me,’ She became agitated and said, ‘If you’re gonna act like that we can go back to the gate and you can get off.’ 

I held up my phone to show her that airplane mode was on.”

The flight attendant wasn’t bluffing—she turned the plane around and kicked Rodgers off the flight.

Several other passengers spoke out in defense of Rodgers. They were also removed.

Rodgers later confronted an airport employee, who told her she was taken off the flight because the attendant felt “unsafe.”

The flight attendant works for SkyWest Airlines, who partners with Delta to provide connecting flights into small airports. 

SkyWest claims it is following up with all the customers involved. Similarly, Delta told WGCL-TV “that the airline accommodated the needs of stranded passengers.”

Rodgers disputed those claims in an Instagram post and on Twitter.

FUN FACT- Neither @delta or @skywestairlines have apologized for the actions of their FA. Delta and SkyWest have also misrepresented the facts in press interviews about providing accommodations for those of us ejected from the flight. Which is completely false. They did NOT provide ANY accommodations once we were ejected from the flight as they are asserting publicly. They have not compensated for ejecting us from the flight or for our hotel accommodations. My hotel was paid for by @serato who brought me to @gearfest and my fellow passengers paid out of pocket. @delta has left only one message and one vague email since I filed my formal complaint on Monday and since the social media and media attention. They are essentially waiting for this to blow over. For those of you that see what’s going on here please keep the pressure on @delta. I’ve been open to rectifying this with them but they have tried harder to repair this on a PR level than with any of the wronged passengers. @cnn @bet @joyannreid @msnbc @the.root @abcnews @npr @ryanmillerphotos

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Something must be done to rectify this situation.

H/T – USA Today, Instagram, Twitter


Written by Collin Gossel

Collin Gossel is a writer and comedian living in Brooklyn, New York, but there are nights when he looks up at the stars and wistfully thinks to himself “there’s got to be more out there…” You can catch Collin improvising new musicals every Tuesday night at the Magnet Theater’s Musical Megawatt, or follow his unfiltered thoughts on Twitter and Instagram @CollinGossel.--