Black Doctor Asked For Degree On Delta Flight Speaks Out On Red Table Talk
Photo Credit: Lucy Snow/"Red Table Talk"

Photo Credit: Lucy Snow/"Red Table Talk"

Black Doctor Asked For Degree On Delta Flight Speaks Out On Red Table Talk

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Parker Diakite
Parker Diakite May 17, 2021

It’s been five years since Dr. Tamika Cross, a Black doctor, was asked to prove that she was a doctor on a Delta Air Lines flight as she was trying to help a passenger mid-flight.  It was a belittling situation that still haunts her.

On a recent episode of the Red Table Talk, Cross said one of the flight attendants onboard prevented her from helping the unresponsive passenger, as reported in Blavity News.

“I raised my hand to grab her [the flight attendant’s] attention. She said to me, ‘oh no sweetie put ur hand down, we are looking for actual physicians or nurses or some type of medical personnel, we don’t have time to talk to you,’ I tried to inform her that I was a physician, but I was continually cut off by condescending remarks,” she recalled.

The flight attendant proceeded to push Dr. Cross, even going as far as asking for proof of her diploma. Soon after, a white man intervened and shared with the flight crew that he was a doctor.

“Thanks for your help but he can help us, and he has his credentials,” the flight attendant says, despite not presenting any documentation, according to Cross. 

Following the criticism and backlash, Delta eliminated its policy requiring medical professionals to provide credentials.

“When situations like the one described by Dr. Cross arise, we have a responsibility to our employees and our customers to review the circumstances and our policies for opportunities to listen, learn and improve,” senior vice president for in-flight service, Allison Ausband said in a statement, according to The Chicago Tribune. 

And while Delta promised to be better, it is important to note that two weeks later, another Black woman doctor was asked to prove her credentials.

Dr. Fatima Cody Stanford was traveling on a flight when the woman next to her began shaking and hyperventilating.

Dr. Stanford said she was already aiding the passenger when a flight attendant came by to check the situation, even after Dr. Stanford told the flight attendant that she was a doctor. 

Then, another attendant came over and asked to see her medical license. That still wasn’t good enough.  

Both flight attendants came back, questioned her credentials and asked if the medical license she was carrying belonged to her. Stanford took to Twitter to voice her frustration, stating the whole experience shocked her, as Travel Noire previously reported.

“The validity of me as a physician is being called into question,” Stanford said of the experience. After the passenger was stabilized, she decided to share her story on Twitter, directing her anger at Delta.