Photo Credit: Suhyeon Choi
Black Couple Says They Were Kicked Off Swoop Airlines Flight Due To Racism
A Black couple was booted from a Swoop Airlines flight after a situation involving a consensual swapping of seats. However, as reported by Simple Flying, the couple says the real motivation behind their removal from the flight was the color of their skin.
Jhody Batiste and Andre Henry were traveling on flight WO315 from Toronto, Ontario to Kelowna, British Columbia on August 10. Although they were traveling together, their assigned seats were not next to one another. Batiste asked another passenger if he would mind switching seats with her so she and her partner could sit together.
The passenger agreed, but a flight attendant soon approached them and told Batiste that the airline would charge her for the seat change.
“OK, charge me then,” replied Batiste. The flight attendant then came back with another flight attendant, who told Batiste that there was an issue.
Here’s What Happened
The flight attendants initially claimed that the passengers’ switching seats caused a problem with the weight of the plane. Batiste says they returned several more times, each time with a new issue, before the flight attendant finally told her, “It’s not even about switching seats anymore, it’s about your attitude.”
Batiste was told that one of the flight attendants felt uncomfortable with her remaining on the flight. One of them said, “If you don’t leave, we’re going to be phoning the authorities” to which Batiste replied, “OK then, phone the authorities.”
The police were called, and they came and escorted the couple off the flight. Batiste and Henry had to catch an alternate flight home, which cost them C$2,000 last minute.
Jennifer Aviss, another passenger on the flight with Batiste and Henry, witnessed the whole ordeal. She agrees that the decision to remove the couple from the flight was racially motivated and that Batiste was not the one with an attitude problem.
“She wasn’t rude,” says Aviss, adding that when one of the flight attendants accused Batiste of getting an attitude, another passenger defended her, saying, “No, your staff are the ones giving them attitude.”
Aviss says she attempted, to no avail, to talk to the flight attendants and pilot to intervene. “This was very clearly racial,” Aviss says. “The other person that switched seats with Jhody was a Caucasian male — never spoken to. They didn’t say a word to him.”
A Spokesperson for Swoop said, “We take these matters very seriously and immediately launched an investigation into this file. We strive to make all travelers feel welcome and comfortable and regret that was not the experience some travelers had on this flight. We are reviewing the incident internally and have been in contact with Ms. Batiste directly to follow up on her concerns.”
Batiste says Swoop Airlines has apologized to her and offered to reimburse the money the couple paid for their last-minute alternate flight home.