Delta Air Lines has been forced to pay a $50,000 fine imposed by the U.S. Department of Transportation to answer for allegations the airline discriminated against Muslim passengers.
According to a consent order issued by the DOT, Delta “engaged in discriminatory conduct” against three Muslim passengers on two separate incidents in 2016—one on a flight from Paris to Ohio and another on a flight from Amsterdam to New York City.
Delta disagrees with the government’s contention that it engaged in discriminatory conduct.
“While Delta does not dispute that each of these two incidents could have been handled differently, Delta asserts that this fact does not necessarily lead to the conclusion that Delta acted improperly,” according to the order.
The airline said in a statement to CNN that it strives to “model inclusion.”
“While we understand that our best customer service was not reflected in how the incident was handled, we disagree with the Department of Transportation’s contention that Delta engaged in discriminatory conduct,” said Delta spokeswoman Emma Kate Protis. “For that reason, we have worked to improve our investigative process since these incidents and we have supporting programs, policies, training and procedures that back up our commitments in this area.”
According to CNN, in the Paris incident a married couple, both US citizens, were at the center of a fellow passenger who raised concerns with a flight attendant.
The couple was interviewed and cleared before the plane departed.
The Amsterdam flight several days later returned to the gate over passengers’ concerns that a fellow passenger had received “a small package” from “a person of similar ethnicity in the gate area,” according to the order.
Delta said that two flight attendants observed the passenger switch seats while onboard and behave nervously.
“In short, in both cases, Delta maintains that it acted on observations of behavior, rather than identity,” the order said.
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