Demetria Poe, a kindergarten teacher from Minnesota, shared a story about Delta Air Lines on Facebook about the seat mate from hell – that Delta told her would be banned from the airline – and about how other passengers around her reacted to the incident. The story ends in an upgrade, and a gift bag from the airline.
She was flying to Washington’s National airport last Thursday to attend the Commitment March, her seat opponent struck up a conversation after departure. Since she was flying Delta they had the middle seat open between them. Ms. Poe is black and the woman sharing her row white. The woman got up, presumably going into the lavatory, and returned wearing a Blue Lives Matter mask and pin and as a conversation starter declared, “I support blue lives because I support our officers.”
That’s always a good way to start a conversation, and then continue to defend the three-fifths compromise in the U.S. constitution, to talk about slavery being promoted by West Africans, and that this was a net benefit to African Americans today. The woman also stated that “Floyd didn’t die from suffocation. He was on drugs.”
Two other passengers sitting nearby intervened, and a flight attendant came over offering to move the obnoxious woman. Ms. Poe reports that, according to a flight attendant, that woman “would not be flying with Delta anymore because they do not personally or as a company stand for racism and discrimination.”
“I felt the genuine and sincere concern the flight attendants had for me and the people around me,” Poe said. “I was shocked. I was happy, but I was still fearful. Living in Minnesota, I have seen how things get blown up. I just really wanted to get off the flight.”
According to Delta, “When we say Black lives matter, we mean it. You matter to us, Demetria.”
For her flight home Delta upgraded her to Comfort+ extra legroom seating. Would first class have been too much to ask? Delta gave the woman a gift bag on the return flight, too. Here she is opening it:
Last year Spirit Airlines forced a woman to move because a seat mate didn’t like their race while United reseated a passenger who wouldn’t sit next to a black woman. In each of these situations, though, the best response is precisely this:
Notice that the upgrade here isn’t to extra legroom coach.