Passengers Kicked Off Delta After Woman Sasses Crew Who Insisted She Put Phone in Airplane Mode

Four passengers were kicked off of Saturday’s Delta flight DL4527 from Fort Wayne to Atlanta as a result of a flight attendant and passenger arguing over putting a cell phone into airplane mode.

Since the ban on use of electronic devices during taxi and takeoff was lifted, passengers are still supposed to have devices in airplane mode (non-transmitting) once the doors of the aircraft are closed. However this is almost never enforced at all, and certainly not systematically, on the hundreds of flights I take in the U.S.

Prior to takeoff the SkyWest flight attendant told a passenger (“rudely” in her estimation) to put her phone in airplane mode and then waited by her while she did so.

The passenger took offense to the flight attendant ‘standing over’ her to verify she actually did it. The flight attendant took offense to the passenger taking offense and reportedly said “If you’re gonna act like that we can go back to the gate and you can get off.”

Passenger Robyn Rodgers insists she put the phone in airplane mode and showed this to the flight attendant. Nonetheless the flight attendant spoke to the captain, the aircraft returned to the gate, and the woman was escorted off the aircraft by law enforcement. Other passengers who stood up for Rodgers were ejected as well (“4 adults and a little boy”).

The altercation wound up delaying the flight about three hours. Here’s video of the altercation between passenger and flight attendant, a photo of law enforcement coming on board the aircraft, and video of what happened once off the aircraft.

A post shared by dj reborn (@djreborn) on

Despite SkyWest saying they were working with Delta to get in touch with the passenger, the passenger posted that they haven’t heard a word.

(HT: Jessica Puckett)

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. I have stopped flying into Ft. Wayne Indiana. The town is full of Trump supporters who think that rules and laws don’t apply to them. The FAA has rules that cell phones are to be put into airplane mode. It’s not really that complicated to understand..

  2. I’m sorry, but the rueles are the rules, like ’em or not. If crew doesn’t enfore the rules with the pax, then the pax mentality will degr.ade to the level of the drunken sots on RyanAir and EasyJet flying out of the UK.

  3. @Mark — it’s only “complicated” if you lack critical thinking skills. The cell phone ban is specious. It’s not a matter of electrical engineering, but of empiricism. Corroborating Gary’s experiences, I have been on countless flights where the “airplane mode” rule was not enforced in even a cursory manner. Eyeballing passengers up and down the aisle will show many still texting and instagramming well into the runway/takeoff phase of departure.

    Cell phone enforcement is a convenient way for FA to find an excuse to kick of pax they don’t like, perhaps with racial undertones (as in this encounter).

  4. No sympathy for the pax here – don’t argue with an FA, period. Especially don’t argue with an FA who is enforcing a valid rule.

    How often the rule is enforced (or not) is a red herring – and Gary knows it. The point is it’s a valid rule and arguing with an FA rarely ends well. The FA holds all the power in these situations.

  5. Its BS the woman with the phone got kicked off much less that four other passengers plus a youngster got booted for “standing up for her.” Since when did disagreeing with strong-armed tactics bu flight crew become a federal offense? Absolute power corrupts absolutely. So much for Delta customer service. This episode is United worthy.

  6. First off this is a basic instruction given on every flight. Second there was no reason to get in a back and forth with the FA. Millions fly every year without having issue with FAs so not sure why this person needed to make it into an issue. Third, we don’t know what happened before the camera was turned on. Fourth, I think the woman with the phone while she should have just dropped it she was pretty much calm and the flight was going to continue as planned until some special snowflake of a guy decided to butt in and escalated the situation. Then this article doesn’t mention it but another woman actually told the FA to go sitdown. At that point with passengers acted soo disrespectful to a FA to the point of trying to order her to sit down I can see why people had to be removed. I wouldn’t want to takeoff with passengers who are going to be openly hostile to the staff. What if they get physical in the flight? So while the FA should have handled this better the other passengers who jumped in should have minded their own business and everyone got kicked off because of their actions.

  7. Lol. “Mind your own business” “follow the rules” that worked well for my Jewish people a few years ago…1. It’s a stupid rule without merit 2. Plenty of good FA’s but the idea that all FA’s are perfect and should be trusted 100% is really stupid. We’re at the point where a few bad apples need to be publically fired to hopefully settle things a bit. 3. It’s too bad the pax wasn’t a gender fluid black dude, could have been a great opportunity for a summer march to grab headlines.

  8. “Don’t argue with a FA?” A flight attendant is a sky waitress. Nothing more. Serve drinks, say yes sir and yes ma’am, and otherwise shut up. Enough with the air nazis. You are there primarily to serve. We can handle our own safety, thanks.

  9. “Since when did disagreeing with strong-armed tactics bu flight crew become a federal offense?”

    Since 9/11. Where have you been?

  10. I was also crew but with Southwest 5 years ago. The FA I remember also worked on Southwest and looks like she moved. Let’s just say she is not pleasant to work with and on the occasion I worked flights with her (3-4 times at most) she was very unpleasant to passengers of color.

  11. I was on a recent SW flight and ready to land seatbelts on and FA strapped in. A lady passenger decided to get up and stand in the middle of the aisle contemplating to use the bathroom, I’m thinking. The FA shouts “Ma’am make up your mind if your going or sit down!” The passenger next to me said that was rude how the FA spoke to her. I said but she has to follow the rules! What if there’s turbulence and she falls, there are safety issues.

  12. It really is very easy. Instead of replying with sarcasm, just STFU and comply. You can always write a whiny little bitch letter to Delta afterwards.

  13. The giveaway on the FA’s racism is when she says “attitude”.

    How many times, growing up in the South, did I hear a permutation of THAT one!!! Any Black person who didn’t “yas sir!” had an “attitude” problem.

  14. Gee Mark I didn’t see a single thing in this article that suggests that this woman was a Trump supporter. Please feel free to correct me if I am wrong. I think your broad brush comments about people from Fort Wayne are Trump supporters and don’t feel they need to follow rules and laws is a rather bigoted comment.
    As a Fort Wayne native I am strong supporter of enforcing rules and laws. As a matter of fact I have made a career out of it of doing just that. You are correct that Donald Trump collected 56.5% of the vote in Allen County where Fort Wayne is located. So it is obvious that the town isn’t full of trump supporters unless of course the majority of the other 43.5% have changed their support since the election.

  15. Mark is triggered because Trump gets another SCOTUS pick. And childishly boycotting Fort Wayne isn’t going to stop that!

  16. Jimmy, the FA did not have to use the word ‘attitude’ to show how condescending and patronizing she was. Racist? Almost certainly, but she reeked of talking down whatever the motivation.
    SHE allowed the incident to become a power struggle.
    Wow was she offensive!
    Do these folks receive NO training in de-escalation? The FA has the atomic bomb on her side (going back to the gate) but must they use it so frequently?
    Granted “the public” is dreadful to deal with, but don’t become a swimmer if you don’t like water.

  17. It is sickening how the FA condescends and behaves the way she did – this isn’t her first time being mean and nasty for no other reason other than because she can.

    She should be fired.

    It was obvious to me the FA had an agenda to be mean and cruel. Even without any prejudices the FA *may* have, the FA is nasty. The FA has *attitude*. The FA abuses her authority and is abusive to pax and then kicks off the pax because she has that authority to do so for any reason, valid or not. Fascist Flight Attendant Felicia.

    When you have other unrelated pax defending the pax being harassed and not the FA, it is pretty obvious the problem is the FA. These were reasonable people being reasonable. The FA was being a d-bag. And that is being generous.

  18. @Pat: Shame on you! You should know better than to demonstrate intelligence, common sense, maturity and a solid understanding of the issues. Setting a good example for @Mark, @Jen and @Sandy is totally uncalled for. Heaven forbid they resign from the Whiny Little Bitch Club and learn personal accountability.

  19. I always find it hilarious when snowflakes have to inject President Trump into every subject!!! Not the first time we have seen little marky do that in this blog and surely not the last!!!


  20. Oh no Mark you can no longer fly into New York now. The woman is from New York and not from Fort Wayne.

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