Photo Credit: Rob Carr
Two Kelowna Residents Sue Swoop Airline, Claiming Racism And Defamation
Two Kelowna residents sue Swoop Airline after two of the airline employees had them escorted off the plane by the police. The incident happened because of a seat-switch scenario. Global News reports that the couple believes that race had a huge part to play in their removal.
Jodean Batiste and Andre Henry chose to fly home to Kelowna from Toronto using Swoop Airline. After an onslaught of events, the budget airline, owned by WestJet, removed the couple from the flight before take-off.
Despite the airline offering an apology for the incident, the couple have decided to launch a lawsuit following the humiliating incident. Read below to find out what happened.
On August 10, 2022, Batiste and Henry were all set to fly home to Kelowna. Initially, the couple were not seated beside one another until someone offered to switch seats. A flight attendant, only named as Hannah, took issue with the switch, claiming that switching seats before take-off wasn’t permitted due to weight and balance issues.
She went on to explain that Batiste would be charged for switching seats to which Batiste agreed she would pay. The lawsuit went on to explain that despite this, the flight attendant’s supervisor was called. Hannah had allegedly accused Batiste of giving her attitude.
Racism, a motive?
The suit goes on to explain that even after safety demonstrations occurred, the aircraft returned to its game and Batiste was asked to leave the flight or the police would be called. Batiste and Henry were then escorted off the plane by police officers. The couple were escorted off the plane by police officers even though the other passenger involved in the seat switch advised staff he had agreed to switch seats as well as other passengers telling the flight crew supervisor it was the flight attendant who was acting inappropriately towards Batiste. The lawsuit reveals that neither the flight attendant nor the supervisor were answering Batiste’s questions about why she and Henry were made to leave the plane.
According to reports, in the wake of the incident, both Henry and Batiste are now “living a nightmare of an embarrassment” and also had to pay $2,000 for return tickets home.
Take it to social
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Batiste live-streamed the event while it was occurring and continues to update her social media demonstrating the aftermath and the lawsuit. The couple have suffered emotional and psychological harm as a result of the defamation according to the lawsuit.
Currently, Batiste and Henry are suing for damages and defamation claims against Hannah and Roberts, the pilot of the plane. Court documents claim Roberts misled the public and also made false statements on Instagram about Batiste. More, the documents also state that Roberts repeated the false allegations intentionally and that he stated Batiste played “the race card”. The lawsuit reveals that Roberts falsely stated that Batiste “cursed out” various staff members on social media.
A comment from the airline:
The airline has commented on the situation in a statement to Global News: “Swoop has zero tolerance for racism and discrimination of any kind. 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,”.