Delta Flight Attendant Accuses Grandparents Of Trafficking Mixed Race Grandson

Two grandparents traveling with their 11 month old grandson were met by police on arrival in Detroit on Sunday after a flight attendant reported them for human trafficking.

They had flown in from Punta Cana, where the grandmother had spoken at a conference. Dee Dee Ohara Blizard is Black, and her husband is Japanese. And the child’s skin color looks different than theirs. That appears to have raised alarms with Delta cabin crew.

They had taken their outbound trip without issue, and had no problems on the first segment of their return. However on the flight from Atlanta into Detroit a flight attendant questioned her.

  • She was seated in first class
  • Her husband flew coach
  • And they took turns holding the child

Blizard, who travels frequently, likes to travel in first class but said that her husband is fine with traveling coach and they were taking turns holding their grandson.

The flight attendant denied anything was amiss in the questioning, suggesting that she was “just asking because we didn’t have all the information that we needed for one of the children on board.”

When the plane landed in Detroit they stopped to change the boy’s diaper in the lavatory. Then when they got off the aircraft they were approached by a Delta supervisor and by police, who spoke to the flight attendant that reported them by phone.

“The officer said, ‘I need you to come with me.’ And immediately, I froze,” Blizard told 7 Action News Thursday.

…”They are telling the police officers that I was suspected of child trafficking,” said Blizard, adding that the Delta supervisor lacked compassion for their ordeal and kept repeating, “I’m just doing my job. I’m just doing my job.”

She had the child’s passport, boarding pass, and documents showing their relationship – but were held for two frightening hours worried they were going to have the child taken from them.

Delta Air Lines, for their part, defends the flight attendant, saying they are taking “what this customer says seriously” (emphasis mine) but,

While we are looking into what may have transpired, we train our crew members to remain alert and use their professional experience and best judgement to ensure the safety of all our customers.

Presumably the grandparents failed to spend $75,000 on their co-brand credit card to earn immunity from trafficking allegations when they travel. Delta flight attendants have previously falsely accused a frequent flyer of trafficking his special needs daughter.

Airline and hotel employees are taught to use their prejudices to spot and report human trafficking, and this often works out badly. Flight attendants are told they need to be on the lookout, and you have to sympathize with the position that puts them in. Imagine if they didn’t say something when they could have stopped a bad situation? That would haunt them. So better to raise the accusation or flag innocent people for law enforcement to sort out. And that gives you situations like,

Hotel staff, too, are trained by the Department of Homeland Security to report guests with too many used condoms in the trash, as well as:

  • frequent use of the “Do Not Disturb” sign (you’re tired and don’t want to be bothered)
  • guests who avert their eyes or don’t make eye contact (you’re tired and don’t want to be bothered)
  • people with “lower quality clothing than companions” (no one ever accused me of fashion)
  • people who have “suspicious tattoos” (which just means you’re from Austin or Portland)
  • having multiple computers, cell phones, and other technology (you’re a blogger)
  • “presence of photography equipment” (you’re a blogger)
  • refusal of cleaning services for multiple days (you ‘made a green choice’ or ‘fear Covid’)
  • rooms paid for with cash or a rechargeable credit card (you have to unload your gift card purchases somehow)
  • guests with few personal possessions (you refuse to check a bag because you’re a frequent traveler)

See something, say something, when you’re encouraging amateurs to do it, leads to so many false positives that real cases of sex trafficking seem likely to get less attention. Employees think they are ‘trained’ when they’re really using their prejudices – in this case against against a mixed race family which appears to have raised alarms with a Delta crewmember.

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. When are they going to stop this madness?
    Have they ever “saved” anyone?
    Reminds me of the Red Scare of the 1950’s.
    Just another excuse for racism.

  2. And it’s all stired up by Republicans to distract the working morons who support them from noticing Republicans only care about billionaires.
    Last time I checked notes republicans were they ones always getting caught for sex crimes.
    Too much sex on the brain?

  3. For fair balance, could you at least do some research to see if flight attendants have prevented instances of child trafficking? Are there *any* cases where this “training” has actually done any good?

  4. The airlines that do these accusations need to be sued to the point of bankruptcy in a class action lawsuit and the flight attendants should be sued just as aggressively. There is no need for doing that. Mixed race couples are normal.

  5. Human trafficking is very real and is a life-destroying situation for many innocent women and children. As I’ve commented before on what is fast becoming a very tired topic for Gary, who recycles his post that has been published before, and makes light of the crisis. I’d rather see some false positives than see people condemned to a life as a sex slave or worse. Airport and airlline personnel need to handle it discreetly and efficiently, but don’t stop trying to save lives because columnists try to stir things up for clicks. And yes, JorgeGeorge Perez, airline and airport personnel do save people from this disaster:

  6. @JorgeGeorge

    Totally unessary post that has nothing to add to the conversation but only illustrates your narrow mind and only adds to the hatred and intolerance of fellow citizens with a different view.

  7. Not so much the Red Scare as the non-existent child sex rings in day care which ruined lives a generation ago. The trouble is, there’s just enough truth in any of this to put FAs and others in the middle. Maybe the airlines need properly trained employees to vet suspicions before the aircraft land. They can ask better questions about the situation in a calmer environment, access more travel information and so on. If there is clearly nothing to be said, then the cabin crew will be told to say nothing.

  8. It’s not so much the post flight checking that upsets me, it’s the heavy handed treatment by Delta employees and sometimes police officers that too often follows (2 hours after proof of relationship was provided).

  9. What do you really expect? Made a cottage industry of plastering airport and hotel bathrooms with posters.

  10. And it’s all stirred up by Democrats to distract the working morons who support them from noticing Democrats only care about billionaires.
    Last time I checked notes Democraps, were the ones always getting caught for sex crimes.
    Too much sex on the brain?

  11. So, so far no one has a solution to this issue. I certainly don’t. Trafficking is a world wide problem. It’s not a racist issue (look up the definition of racism). One moron’s comment above says that “…republicans were they (sic) ones always getting caught…” is not only false but goes with the character of the commenter…stupid! Political party has nothing to do with human trafficking. All one has to do is look at the current border crisis. Odds are, there are lots of instances of human trafficking going on down there. So, again, what are the transportation companies to do? They can’t ignore the possibility that there may be trafficking. Ideas?

  12. Perhaps flight attendants and staff need better training to include defusing and explaining the concern to the accused passengers instead of just hiding behind the facade of doing my job.

    There are real ramifications to people who are accused, the very least being missed connections and appointments while they are stuck there during questioning.

    Provide the actual customer support instead of treating them as guilty parties, which seems to be a lot of how these employees are treating them. These employees who make decisions based on very little actual fact, and not provide any support to customers as the customers wonder what is going on.

  13. “Democrats to distract the working morons who support them from noticing Democrats only care about billionaires.
    Last time I checked notes Democraps, were the ones always getting caught for sex”

    This is your brain on Newsmax and Fox News: Reality can be whatever you conjure it to be.

  14. It has happened to our family on numerous occasions.
    It’s so frustrating because it’s just racism.
    Let’s call it what it is … it’s beyond “prejudice ” … it’s just flat out racists causing problems for mixed race families.
    With trafficking, they usually look similar, rarely have proper documentation etc.
    We though tend to carry EXTRA documentation just because we know we have more problems.
    In general, Black moms with lighter skin children have more issues than the reverse too.
    My family is Nicaraguan. My ex-husband is darker. I’m very light. My oldest son is darker than his dad. My daughter is in between.
    I was once told that “a white woman doesn’t have any business having black children “. …. that happened at our local Walmart in Maryland.
    Celebrate diversity??? I guess only when it’s convenient for some!I

  15. There are many instances of FA who have in fact saved kids from trafficking. Some of them make the news (y’all know how to Google…) and most will not, since in the US we are sensitive about publishing details that can identify minor victims of sex crimes.

    Discrimination/profiling is bad, but the “burn the place down” attitude of you Internet warriors is idiotic and frankly dangerous. Yes let’s not have FA do that anymore because of a few bad apples so pimps can freely traffick underage girls. Heck why not prevent police from doing that too, they do a bad job too…

  16. And every time in flight trash like TS and Flyer1 jump in and go “look at us, we’re special, we’re not just in flight waitresses!” – THIS is why we get to go “yea, you are. You’re morons too”.

  17. Trafficking could be almost anything.

    Someone planning to overstay their visa or assist the travel of someone doing that. Possible look: average person, man or woman.

    Someone planning to take a child away from their spouse. Possible look: any child or teen traveling with one adult. Could be the same race or different.

    Someone with a sugar daddy or mommy type relationship. Possible look: any single man or single woman traveling alone. Age range could be anything up to age 80.

    A pimp traveling with a sex worker. Possible look: two unrelated people (usually unrelated) traveling together. Can be the same sex or opposite sex.

  18. Nobody would disagree that many people are just plain bigots. That fact is so horrific to those of us with rational brains. It takes an unbelievable amount of self-absorption and stupidity to be a racist these days. “Human trafficking” is real. Theoretically, people in the travel biz might be a lifeline to a victim. As usual, the government is ‘just trying to help’. It’s got to be a horrendous experience for all involved. I wish that the people who are ‘accused’ would get beyond their personal humiliation and anger. If even one human life is rescued by the intervention of a stranger, the system is worth it. To accuse your accuser of racism is just narrow-minded, it does the situation no good at all. Think beyond yourself, see the big picture. We can’t let evil prevail because our feelings are hurt and we feel humiliated.

  19. jsn55 – absolutely not to “get beyond”. For a false accusation, police interview, etc.? GYFS. That is ABSOLUTELY lawsuit worthy, and I hope they get the in flight waitress for everything they have.

  20. The value of a flight attendant’s observation regarding human trafficking should carry no more weight than any other citizen. Anymore their interaction with passengers is minimal. See something, say something should apply to everyone. Judgement should not be flight attendant work.

  21. I agree with jsn55, ALL of us are bigoted to some degree. Human nature. “I’m with the government and I”m here to help!” Yup…although our Constitution specifically says that one is innocent until proven guilty, some members of law enforcement and over zealous “do gooders” (including some flight attendants!!) think like third world countries “guilty until proven innocent”. We see “see something, say something” plastered everywhere since the tragedies of September 11, 2001. If we, as a population, let our guard down, history could repeat itself. Same thing with human trafficking. If we let our guard down, it will continue to explode. So, one can be trained, coached, whatever you want to call it but some people will “over report” the “see something…” which will escalate tensions. The accused should try to stay calm. Hard to do that…you betcha. But, exploding only exacerbates the problem. Law enforcement should stay calm and polite…”innocent until…” “We can’t let evil prevail because…” SPOT ON!

  22. @DaveS – five years ago two girls traveling alone flagged for tickets purchased using a fraudulent credit card is totally different than fligth attendants over and over calling the cops on interracial couples, or parents with mixed-race or different race kids. Come on. Do better.

  23. Well I know how to google and can come up with a list but it’s probably not going to convince you. You have decided human trafficking is not enough of a problem to be worth trying to stop. Or it’s even something worth joking about with a lame quip about credit card spend.

  24. Come on Gary it’s time to stop mincing words. The FAs who improperly flag these “traffickers” are clearly racist, and DL has more than its fair share. What’s even more disturbing is that LEOs spend hours interrogating obviously innocent people for something that should be resolved in 5 minutes with a warning to the FAs.

    This could be fixed with a few high profile lawsuits by ACLU or Ben Crump

  25. @JorgeGeorge Paez

    Projecting again
    Race politics and grievance politics are what the Democrats use to maintain power. Just look at the lies that caused BLM to be a thing

    Oppression delusions.

  26. @AndyS that is a flat out intentional lie.

    Every research study on pedophilia has shown that heterosexual men are by a huge majority the most common perpetrators of pedophilia.

    Your lies are pathetic, hateful and unacceptable. Sad thing is, you have proven yourself to be racist and homophonic over and over again. How sad you are.

    And, for the record, statistically, a child is safer with a may man than they are a priest, a scout master, an athletic coach or a school teacher.

  27. @SOBE ER DOC


    A majority of sex abused of children are committed by members of the same sex.
    You can try and make excuses for it but the data proves it. Also most gay men are victims of molestation.

  28. @Gary: “Presumably the grandparents failed to spend $75,000 on their co-brand credit card to earn immunity from trafficking allegations when they travel.”

    Heh, heh, heh, heh……

  29. It is clear that FAs are not getting enough training to identify human trafficking and a few are jumping to unfounded conclusions based on skin colors that don’t match. Small minded prejudices. You would think all the travel they do would broaden their minds. That said, when my white son would pick up his white son to fly from Portugal to the US for the summer, his paperwork was scrutinized with suspicion several years in a row.

  30. @DaveS
    Flight attendant, on plane. Find something, you found something that did not even happen on a plane.
    It is like saying something about loaded guns on airplanes and you report about a loaded gun in the airport, pre-security.
    I doubt you know how to google. You may know how to type in words into a search engine but finding information that has a criteria?
    Show us. That list you said you had.

  31. Qanon morons who believe in “human trafficking” definitely pass the “borderline retarded” test that seems to be a prerequisite for working as a FA. Yet another case where someone forgot to SHUT UP AND POUR THE DRINKS.

  32. Here’s the legal angle: do the police have the authority to detail someone simply based upon a flight attendant’s suspicion? That’s the thing. I see no probable cause here for the police to detail this couple, let alone the lower bar of reasonable articulatable suspicion. At some point, law enforcement needs to man up and essentially tell the airline employees that they need more than a gut feeling to actually detail someone.

  33. @Rick, flight attendants have been empowered since 9/11 to demand that anyone on a plane do anything they say and have them arrested if they don’t comply. The people who joined the profession primarily because they enjoy the idea of wielding this power are the ones who ruined it. Every existing FA must be fired and the culture rebuilt from the ground up.

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