Delta Air Lines reportedly removed passengers from a flight departing Washington National airport on Saturday, after riots at the Capitol last week, “because they was having a private conversation about supporting President Trump.” We have video of the passengers leaving, and from in the terminal after their removal, but not of the actual comments that prompted Delta to ask them to leave.
— Mike Yoder (@Yoder_Esqq) January 9, 2021
Delta airline landed a plane to remove these people because they was having a private conversation about supporting President Trump. pic.twitter.com/x1o9yeKVjb
— The Dirty Truth (Josh) (@AKA_RealDirty) January 9, 2021
The contents of private conversations can be deemed a threat. Just ask anyone making private jokes about bombs at a security checkpoint, or who is Muslim or a professor carrying weapons of math instruction.
My serious take here is that in the wake of last Wednesdays events on Capitol Hill, for flights departing Washington National airport, there was a heightened sense of fear and concern among airline crew and passengers who weren’t involved in the protests or riots. Small comments could be an early signal of future trouble. So just like innocuous comments can be taken out of context as a terrorist threat in the post-9/11 world, so too can even innocuous comments linked to last Wednesday’s events.
While I think we need to guard against overreaction – there’s hardly a need for new ‘domestic terrorism laws’ against actions that are already illegal – it’s also completely understandable that humans would be on hair trigger alert. If you’re boarding a plane after participating in events that disrupted the democratic order in this country, however briefly, just don’t talk about it until you’re safely back at home.
Now takes like this one on twitter are bad:
Won’t be flying @Delta ever again, not that I did anyways! Disgusting and unconstitutional!
— KMO (@KMO1980) January 9, 2021
First “I won’t fly them now, but I didn’t fly them anyway” is almost the definition of meaningless, and no what Delta did it isn’t ‘unconstitutional’. This tweet might be a candidate for @badlegaltakes.
However at some point, and I’m not arguing we’re there, do all of the massive subsidies for what’s already one of the most highly regulated industries, make the major airlines sufficiently a quasi-government entity such that first amendment protections begin to apply? The federal government now has an ownership stake in even Republic, Allegiant, SkyWest and every large carrier in the country and with the second round of so-called payroll support grants presumably will be taking additional stakes.
And while Delta does own a stake in China Eastern Airlines, I don’t think that makes them a Communist Marxist..China Company” as claimed on Parler. In fact Delta’s CEO was supportive of Trump before the 2016 election and was encouraged after his election – but that was self-serving, he wanted Trump’s protectionism to work to his airline’s benefit against carriers from the Mideast.