A deaf couple planning to fly with Delta Air Lines is claiming that they were discriminated against by a gate agent when trying to change their seats — but Delta has since said there are "conflicting versions of events" about what transpired.
Socorro Garcia and Melissa Elmira Yingst took to Facebook with their version of the events on Sunday, the same day they were scheduled to fly to Los Angeles with Delta. In a video, the two claimed they had learned they weren’t sitting together upon arriving for the flight at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, per a translation Yingst posted in the comments.
At check-in the two were told they could sit together, they claim, but the couple later double-checked with a gate agent, who told them they would not be able to change their seating assignments.
Garcia says they attempted to discuss the matter by typing it out on an iPhone, but the agent “rolled her eyes” at them.
“After a few moments, she finally wrote on a piece of paper and said the flight is full and [she] can't book us together,” Garcia wrote on Facebook. “I wanted to continue to communicate and decided to try and write on that same paper but instead of giving us the paper we asked for, she crumbled it in front of us and threw it in the trash.”
Garcia claims to have tried to retrieve the paper from the trash can but was “pushed” away by the gate agent, at which point Yingst and the gate agent both took out their phones and started filming.
“You want me to call the police?” the gate agent can be heard saying to the couple in footage posted by Yingst.
“Yes,” someone is heard saying.
“OK, I’m going to call the police,” she responds. “No more talking.”
Garcia and Yingst later said on Facebook that they were instructed to leave the area, and that the gate agent told police Garcia had assaulted her.
The couple was ultimately denied boarding and booked another return flight through a separate airline, the Associated Press reported.
A representative for Delta, however, has stated publicly that there are “conflicting versions of events” surrounding the incident, but that the carrier is investigating, AP added.
According to Delta, Garcia and Yingst had purchased their tickets separately — and at two different fare rates — and had known previously that their seats weren’t together, NBC News reported.
The couple was told that it might not be possible to accommodate them in adjacent seats, the airline further told the Detroit Free Press, and informed the two that she would ask flight attendants to see if someone would be willing to switch seats.
The carrier also claimed that Garcia went behind the agent’s counter, at which point the couple was denied boarding. Their tickets were also refunded, Delta said.
“Delta is in contact with two customers who reported having difficulty communicating with a gate agent prior to their flight," the airline wrote in a statement obtained by Fox News. "We have reviewed the situation with our Detroit team and continue to work with these customers to better understand what transpired. We take situations like these very seriously and as part of our culture of continuous improvement, we are using this as an opportunity to learn.”
The couple, meanwhile, has said they do not understand why the situation was handled the way it was.
“This really isn't about us not being able to sit together but how they handled communication and refused to provide us access to the needs we asked for,” Yingst said in Sunday’s Facebook post.
“Loss for words,” added Garcia. “What did we do wrong?”
The Associated Press contributed to this article.