A hearing-impaired traveler says he was mistreated by a flight attendant due to his disability.
The passenger, who was flying with Delta, says he was wearing a mask on a plane, but it briefly fell below his nose. He then claims he didn’t hear a warning from a flight attendant before he was confronted and eventually escorted off the plane.
Andre Hilton says the incident occurred on a Delta flight out of Detroit last month, WSB-TV 2 reports. Hilton claims that he wears hearing aids in both ears, and needed to continually pull his mask back up over his nose while waiting on the plane for takeoff. He says he was surprised when a flight attendant suddenly approached him.
The attendant reportedly told Hilton that he was being warned for the final time about keeping his mask on, although Hilton says he never heard any previous warnings, possibly due to his impairment. However, when he tried to show his hearing aids to the flight attendant and explain the situation, he claims the flight attendant continued to berate him.
When he asked the flight attendant for his name, Hilton says the situation escalated and he was soon kicked off the plane. He was reportedly placed on a later flight, though he was reimbursed and ultimately received a private apology from Delta CEO Ed Bastian.
Despit this, Hilton says he would like a public acknowledgment of what happened.
In a statement obtained by WSB-TV 2, a spokesperson for Delta said HIlton's experience was "atypical."
“As part of our many apologies and exchanges with this customer about his very atypical experience last month, we fully refunded his airfare in addition to other gestures of goodwill. Our teams continue to be in touch with his attorney.
“Our deep-seated values of diversity and inclusion of all groups in the world we serve extend especially to our customers with disabilities, as evidenced by Delta’s Advisory Board on Disability," the statement continued. "In place for more than a decade, this Delta board consists of individuals with unique insight as both Delta frequent flyers and who each are experts on a variety of disabilities. This group continues to advise Delta on how we can continue to provide thoughtful and safe service to customers with disabilities.”
The carrier was contacted for further comment.