Delta Captain Kicks Black Woman Off A Plane, But He’s The One Not Wearing A Mask

A black woman wearing a hat deemed offensive was kicked off a Delta flight. Video of the incident is circulating widely in social media. The woman’s hat has ‘the F-word’ on it. The video doesn’t show the rest of the context. One Mile at a Time writes, “perhaps it’s part of a phrase, but that’s the only word we can see.”

Over the summer a woman was was kicked off an American Airlines flight over the message on her face mask “F- 12” (with F being a four-letter epithet) which stands for ‘F’ the police. As far as the meaning of the phrase, it’s about the need for police reform. A shock phrase is the point. In one telling it’s derived from the 60s TV show Adam-12, about two LA cops whose patrol car was 1-Adam-12. After the murder of George Floyd this summer the phrase went far more mainstream.

Apparently a flight attendant asked the woman to remove her hat and she wouldn’t. And that’s when the captain got involved. He’s objecting to the hat she’s wearing, but the bigger problem seems to me that he isn’t wearing a mask.

The captain gives the woman a choice:

  • remove her hat, or
  • getting off the plane.

But that wasn’t going to be enough. The passenger eventually takes off the hat. Then the captain wants her assurance that she won’t put it back on during the flight.

He doesn’t want conflict on the flight, and doesn’t want to divert. She’s offended by the question, she’s already taken the hat off. He insists she pledge not to wear it. It’s a test of wills – the white man in a position of authority, the black woman whose hat is all about abuses of authority. She’s taken off the hat, but she doesn’t want to say ‘uncle’. He counts “1001, 1002” and then says “I got six kids, I raised 10 kids, I know better.”

Pilots generally aren’t required to wear masks while in the cockpit though they have to wear masks throughout the rest of their journey. Some pilots complain that they can’t perform their duties effectively with a mask on, though other pilots dispute this and equate it to passengers feigning medical excuses. Regardless, a pilot absolutely should be wearing a mask inside the passenger cabin. It’s his attire that’s most inappropriate here.

That said, the airline doesn’t have to allow the passenger to wear the hat. You can clearly wear an ‘F-12’ shirt in a courtroom, but not on a plane. For its part, in response to the incident the airline emphasizes their intolerance of discrimination.

What’s appropriate attire for a plane is an ongoing source of dispute. Earlier this month a pilot gave his shirt to a woman so she could cover up on a Southwest flight. Vague statements about inappropriate attire lead to confusion and acrimony, and we’re a far cry from the days when passengers dressed up to fly. (As an unaccompanied minor circa 1980 I had to wear a jacket and tie.)

The pilot exercised his authority rather than defusing the situation here, the way the Southwest pilot did giving a woman his own shirt recently. And he wasn’t wearing a mask, which is a bigger deal than the hat the woman was wearing. Only the captain isn’t the one kicked off the flight.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. The Capitan is right. Rules should be enforced. The passenger could have said “yes I understand”. But she chose to be a b*tch. Well deserved.

  2. GOOD for this Captain. As a law enforcement officer, I find that hat to be highly offensive. Imagine if the hat said F any specific race, or religion? There’d be no question that passenger should be kicked off the airplane or asked to remove the hat.

    I FULLY support the actions and behavior of this captain.

    And the mask thing? This was clearly an evolving situation. The pilot may have left his mask in the cockpit, where he is exempt from wearing it.

  3. First: Pilot should have been wearing a mask.

    Second: I am guessing that in order for the pilot to get involved, there must have been some previous altercation with the flight attendants that we don’t see. The pilot wouldn’t just come out and be the first to tell her to remove her hat.

    When flying, the flight attendants and pilot have final say with good reason. You don’t want an altercation at 35,000 feet.

    Yes, pilot’s tone was inappropriate. Instead of even talking about the hat; he should have explained that his crew must be listened to and their orders obeyed. If she doesn’t like it, she can get off or file a complaint after the fact.

    Passenger should have just removed the hat originally, put it under the seat or in her bag, rather than drag the pilot out to treat her like a child.

    When you get on an airplane you give up some of your rights. That’s just the reality.

  4. Maybe she was daring him to have her arrested — get national coverage and win the litigation lottery too.

  5. Saying that the pilot has white privilege is a racist statement but not surprised because it came from a racist organization. #defundblm

  6. Masks are viral theatre: you don’t have to wear one when eating or drinking on the plane, and the odds that they do anything the rest of the time are low. That said, I think the pilot should have put on a mask to please the Karens before confronting the customer. At the same time, the customer was also engaged in theatre, albeit of an offensive kind. I don’t think you should be allowed to wear attire with curse words on an airplane — much less curse words directed at a certain group of people — and I suspect the vast majority of customers would agree with me. And no reason the airline had to tolerate “cute” behavior. So there’s nothing wrong with this woman being removed from the plane. Let her sue. For what? It’s not hard to behave like a decent human being.

  7. The woman was ignoring reasonable orders from the captain. She was combative. The captain was very measured and gave her many opportunities to comply, more than she deserved. She knew what she was doing. She deserved to be kicked off. Good riddance!

    Should the captain have put his mask on before talking with the insurgent? Yes, but he probably forgot in the heat of the moment. If there were video of the captain being asked to please put on his mask for safety and not complying then he should be reported. I do not see this on the video so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that he just forgot.

  8. No surprise you are trying to make it into another race issue. The hat was offensive and she argued with the FA, decided to record the captain and then tried to get cute and refused to commit to not wearing it once the plan took off. She should have been tossed off the flight. Sorry the captain isn’t wearing a mask. Of course he should have put one on. That being said he was likely busy prepping the flight on the flight deck when he got pulled out to deal with this nonsense from the passenger. Strange we don’t have the video showing what led up to the FA having to go get the captain. Guess the passenger doesn’t want us to see that part.

  9. By the way where do you see it saying she was kicked off the plane? That’s certainly not how the full video ends. Maybe check your facts first because I didn’t see that mentioned anywhere.

  10. Stop trying to devide people… White man of authority, black woman… Terms like this is deviding and pushing your agenda. Do you really want to make everything about race?

  11. As Chris Cuomo taught us, wear a mask when on camera in public, but be a sneak and defy mask policy when inside a building that requires it. Also, quarantine as required when on camera in your house, but sneak around town and break the quarantine whenever you can. Sneaky Democrat rules based on Sneaky Democrat Privilege made by Sneaky Democrats in the media. Do as I say, not as I do at its very best. So is it any wonder why BLM and Defund The Police folk don’t believe they have to follow any rules? After all, they can have Democrat Privilege.

  12. I think it would be good corporate policy if the Captain did not get involved in (these types of) issues on the ground.

    The airlines have trained customer service managers who handle these types of disputes on a regular basis.

    Of course the Captain should be consulted, but leave the “face-to face” passenger issues to the ground management staff.

  13. Wow. There are some extraordinarily privileged people on here talking about things they should not be talking about. Just wow. Masks help, its science. Even if you think its for show the whole point is to provide a good example- we’ve seen the horrible consequences when leadership doesn’t wear a mask and followers are sheep and follow along and don’t wear masks- COVID epidemic not under control. Finally, if you are white or rich or frankly even a man- don’t comment on a white man and a black woman having a confrontation. You have no notion of the power difference and how that pervades every thought or action with people (that’s why it’s called a systemic problem).

    Good leadership demonstrates patience, kindness, and compassion. Big egos show off their power and belittle others. Good leadership follows the rules to set a good example. This pilot did none of that. Regardless that the rules were on his side (which is debatable since its such a vaguely written rule how could anyone know how to comply- the fact remains the pilot gets the final say even if you don’t agree) he could have shown grace from a position of power and instead he treated another human being like a child. And before you get all high and mighty with me- I am married to.a LEO who worked at the protests, and we both fully support someone’s right to their opinion on social injustice and systemic problems and that they have a right to express that opinion. Especially when its race problems that have festered for hundreds of years.

  14. First, masks do virtually nothing to prevent the spread of viruses per multiple peer reviewed published medical articles. Second, making it a race issue and white privilege? What BS. This is now the go to excuse for anything. I hope you are able to report more fact and less fiction in the future.

  15. Seems like earlier in the pandemic it was mostly “Karens” causing these entitled scenes but lately its been mostly “Shaquannas.”

  16. @Lara,

    Your comment “Finally, if you are white or rich or frankly even a man- don’t comment on a white man and a black woman having a confrontation” is incredibly racist and sexist.

  17. 100% stand with the Captain. All this garbage has gone too far. Had enough of this kind of display. The Captains enforcement clearly had NOTHING to do with race. But if you’re black and aren’t allowed to act belligerant, hateful or like an animal then the person is racist. GET OVER IT and O B E Y!

  18. This article has nothing to do with race. The Captain would have told anybody the same thing. She didn’t want to give her word (promise).
    Children learn this in school.
    If serving is beneath you, then leadership is beyond you.

  19. Typical defiant low life behavior. Such an attitude and disrespectful gesture to wear a hat like that. BLM is sure proud of their brood. A simple I am sorry if I offended someone and I understand what you told me. Seems to hard for this person to understand plain English.

  20. She is such a vile, arrogant, self-conceited individual. She makes flying more inconvenient and less safe for everyone else. She should be banned.

  21. All the carriers have a policy of not offending others, this hat is clearly confrontational. It is a nasty word and I for one no longer want to see it in print. This word is so offensive, the networks are not allowed to use it….it is bleeped. Kids today learn from watching and listening, and they do not need to learn this word any sooner than necessary!! The issue should have been addressed by the agents before boarding!! The purpose of having agents deal with this is to keep the “confrontation” off the a/c.

  22. You will not even spell the word out in your own blog. Captains should never have to be involved. If the captain needs to be involved call the police, remove them, refund them, and ban them from the airline for life. There are not many airlines. Even idiots like this that think it is appropriate to wear a hat like this will learn to behave. The captains tone was perfect. The woman was acting like a spoiled teenager.

  23. Can someone point to a rule that requires pilots to wear a mask when they are not in the cockpit?

  24. Does Delta have a rule prohibiting profanity on clothing worn on the plane? If the rule prohibits profanity, she should have been shown a copy of the rule.

    If the rule prohibits “offensive” attire – then that is too vague to enforce. I’m not a BLM supporter but I don’t find the hat offensive – on the other hand I’d find a MAGA hat to be extremely offensive.

    But I wouldn’t dream of prohibiting attire simply because I personally find it offensive.

  25. I’m a life-long Delta flyer, and this story makes me like my home airline even more. Good for the captain to require her remove the hat or walk. Rules are rules, you get on board, you listen to the crew. The mask is just not the issue…
    I’m appalled that race is brought into this discussion. That’s precisely what causes all the polarization and turmoil in our country! Shame on you if the first and the only thing you see in this situation is the race.
    @Lara – your post is too horrible to even discuss. YOU are the racist here; you should look in the mirror, and stop accusing everyone else of it.

  26. You mean to tell me that people are more offended by the hat and not the pilot who didn’t have on a mask? Putting others, aside from the young lady, in danger?

    Very strange.

  27. The , I refuse to call her a lady, but the belligerent, uncivil, and racist punk wearing the hat should have been given the option of, remove the hat now, or leave the plane. Do not debate and argue, that is exactly their plan. Give them 30 seconds to decide then remove her racist, animal a. ZZ. They can call me a racist or whatever they want. They don’t know me, and that’s just a tactic they use to embarrass people. NEVER EVER LET THEM INTIMIDATE YOU, JUST SMILE AND LET THEM FLAP THEIR JAWS. THEIR ENTIRE GAME IS INTIMIDATION. THEY ARE UNABLE TO HOLD CIVIL INTELLECTUAL CONVERSATIONS. AND DONNOT HAVE THE COURAGE TO CONFRONT ANY WHITE PEOPLE ON A ONE ON ONE. THEY NEED SEVERAL FOR THE INTIMIDATION FACTOR. ALWAYS REMEMBER TO LAUGH IN THEIR FACE. THEY CANNOT DO ANYTHING TO YOU, AND IF THEY DO, TAKE LEGAL ACTION ALSO AGAINST BLM, THEY GET TONS OF DOUGH FROM GEORGE SOROS. I AM A WHITE LIVES ALSO MATTERS, OR ALL LIVES MATTER. BUT I WILL NEVER SAY BLACK LIVES MATTER ALONE.

  28. Thanks for proving my point and the BLM POINT, THAT WHITE SUPREMACY IS A MAJOR ISSUE IN THIS COUNTRY.

    Let’s have a civil conversation here without you feeling intemediated of my black face on the other side of this screen.

    As you’ve stated we call people racist that feel the type of behavior you just mentioned and displayed is okay.

    I’m sorry you and 73.8+ million people feel it’s okay to talk like this.

    Let me enlighten you, African Americans, Black, colored people have been generationally oppressed for over 200 years.

    Because of certain laws over time “we’ve been able to” express ourselves more than our ancestors.

    So I “apologize” that you and several other people feel intimidated of the way we express ourselves after being generationally oppressed; not matter if its wearing a hate, raising a hand, or simply walking down the street.

    I sarcastically apologize again that all people, yourself, and I are products of our environment. “Animals” as you all call us, is ironic because white supremacists created this barbaric/viking society that we all live in.

    Until we reprimand white supremacy and social injustice in this modern day society, it’s going to be more and more obvious that white supremacy, oppression, and social injustice, and IMPERIALISM IS NOT OK.


  29. @Anon: “”I’m sorry you and 73.8+ million people feel it’s okay to talk like this.”

    Who is that?

  30. I am a Trump supporter. That being said this Captain is clearly in the wrong. The mask mandate applies to him as well and quite frankly this passenger could say he put lives in danger. This passenger clearly agreed to keep hat off and the Captain was rude to demand anymore agreement than was offered. I think this passenger agreed affirmatively that hat was removed. So now we have to speak as we are told to speak? This interaction is unfortunate and I personally hope the Captain faces consequences.

  31. It is crazy to me that people don’t see this as an issue of discrimination.

    Imagine if the pilot was a black woman. Would the conversation have gone the same way?

    Imagine the passenger as an old white male. Would he have gotten the semantics fight and the “1001, 1002” countdown as if he were a child?

    I haven’t heard of any consequences for the captain which makes me feel that Delta’s assertion that they do not condone discrimination as hollow words that are meant to con the public.

    As for him being maskless? That should only have solidified Delta’s case for termination!

    (Note: The pilot’s Linkedin page shows Delta as a current employer)

  32. It is crazy to me that people don’t see this as an issue of discrimination.

    Imagine if the pilot was a black woman. Would the conversation have gone the same way?

    Imagine the passenger as an old white male. Would he have gotten the semantics fight and the “1001, 1002” countdown as if he were a child?

    I haven’t heard of any consequences for the captain which makes me feel that Delta’s assertion that they do not condone discrimination as hollow words that are meant to con the public.

    As for him being maskless? That should only have solidified Delta’s case for termination!

    Also (See ATL DL MM comment) this crazy trend of racists trying to diffuse and deny their own ignorance and racism by calling people who are working towards a more equitable society racist is beyond ignorant and also comical. We see you for who and what you are and every time a racist called me a racist a black angel gets its wings.

    (Note: The pilot’s Linkedin page shows Delta as a current employer)

  33. When you get on a plane, the captain of that plane is, as far as you’re concerned, God. You either do as you’re told, or get off. It’s not just the lives of over a hundred people that he’s responsible for, but keeping the peace as well, which means dealing with potentially antagonistic passengers. That hat had that potential, and he did exactly the right thing. Not only that, but you complain about him ‘exercising his authority’ as if, what, he doesn’t have it? He absolutely does.

    It’s really not that hard to dress reasonably on a plane. You might not need to wear the tie anymore, but if this was my plane, I would have asked once, then had her removed at the first sign of non-compliance. Captain has that authority, too, for the sake of keeping the flights moving and not backing up the airport and ATC due to delays caused by unruly passengers

  34. The pilot was right. Maybe he should have had a mask on but that’s not the point in question. No vulgar attire. It has nothing to do with race. I’m tired of that card being played. Put on your big girl panties and act like an adult who cares about other peoples comfort.

  35. >> UAPremierGuy says: As a law enforcement officer, I find that hat to be highly offensive. Imagine if the hat said F any specific race, or religion? There’d be no question that passenger should be kicked off the airplane or asked to remove the hat. <<

    People aren't born "police" or "blue" and it doesn't end when they go 10-42. That's the difference.

    As for who was right and who was wrong, the maskless CP or the hat wearing PAX? They can both be true.

  36. MAGA hats are offensive; passengers should not be allowed to wear on any aircraft.

  37. I love how the author literally turns this into a race thing. “White man kicks off black woman” at no point is their race relevant to the story. Stop race baiting. People like this are the entire reason we are going backwards.

  38. The article’s author’s last name, ‘Left’, tells you all you need to know about the absurdity of his ‘woke’ position! Try to focus on the issue at hand, Gary, instead of shifting focus to find fault with the pilot who was making a reasonable, calmly delivered request. Face it, if the pilot had been wearing a mask (which SCIENCE proves is as effective as a screen door on a submarine) you would have still found something to reinforce your brainwashed, knee-jerk white privilege narrative, rather than acknowledging that civil societies rely upon a hierarchy of authority and respect for authority.

  39. Gary your reporting is a joke. Nice job trying to blame the captain for this woman’s incredible ignorance and stupidity.

  40. Wow. It is so important to mention white man or black woman. Goes to show America is divided thanks to stupid reporters like this one. The captain behaved with respect and the woman decided to act stupid. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes. If I were approached by a black captain I wouldn’t blink an eye, because I don’t care about the skin colour mr reporter, I care about the tolerance towards others. I wouldn’t care one bit about a mask on a plane you kidding me? The plane runs on a ventilation system, so one mask wasn’t going to save you.
    And to all discrimination or racism fans out here, go get your house in order instead. You obviously live in the past.

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