Sky-High Scandal: Delta’s First Class Turns Rowdy with Racism and Misconduct

A Delta Air Lines first class passenger shares just how badly behavior two other people were in the cabin, playing ‘coffee, tea, or me’ with the flight attendant, drinking too much, and complaining about their wives.

According to the woman in the cabin with them, these two men each drank five beers and three glasses of wine. It’s not clear what route they were on, so how long the flight was. That’s a lot regardless.

There’s even the suggestion that one of the passengers was tipping the crewmember in order to get overserved – the same crewmember reportedly being groped.

One of the men even “said the N word, while sitting in front of an elderly 74 year old man of color.”

One thing that did go well in the flight though – a note of thanks, something that United is the best at (recognizing milestone achievements like million mile status levels) while Delta is also known to do, recognizing passengers with Diamond status. He tried to get her number though and failed.

I have to think these two gentlemen are just sad. They’re drinking too much on a Delta flight and complaining about their lives. They’re acting out – and treating an employee badly – all without regard for the other passengers in the cabin. Mostly they have my pity rather than my scorn, although the other passengers would have my sympathy.

First class doesn’t mean you have class, although for some people it helps to tell a story about who they are that’s divorced from their normal lives. They’re living a first class life! Even when they’re not.

I’m skeptical that the flight attendant was actually being tipped, as much as trying to provide good customer service, and perhaps the passengers didn’t drink 8 beers and wine glasses apiece as claimed. Still, that impetus to provide good customer service, while laudable, was not even necessary in this case – even for a Diamond guest.

Airlines today are highly small-d democratic, even in the forward cabins, and they bring passengers will all of their problems and prejudices. And while too many crewmembers fail to provide basic levels of service, too many passengers have unreasonable expectations for the service that they should provide.

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. Not sure I believe it. A 3 hour flight andv8 drinks served. Never get that kind of attention on a much longer flight. 3 or 4 rounds is the max I have seen anyone get on a coast to coast flight.

  2. Not sure what is more troubling – the men’s behavior or the catty woman’s constant tweeting about it. Our society is in decline.

  3. BetteTheRipper should rename her account BetteThe KAREN. MYOFB lady! And what a fecking snowflake! Oh, there was a bad racist word uttered by a drunk, so I’m NEVER flying Delta nor to Atlanta ever again! Grow the F up!

    You’d think I’d be annoyed with the drunks, but it’s the tweeting idiot who pissed me off. Whine much, lady?

  4. She’s just jealous that a couple of bro’s are having a good time on a flight and paying attention to the hot flight attendant, rather than her 40 year old, single with cats self.

  5. Ignore the root cause of the issue and blame the person saying it’s unacceptable. That seem about par for a lot of folks on VFTW and American in general. @AngryFlyer I’m sure if someone made a racist/sexist/homophobic/anti-religious comment about one of your family members you’d just shrug it off and MYOB.

    Social decorum has totally imploded in our society BECAUSE we do not hold people to socially acceptable standards of public behavior. Does one stop flying DL because of this? No, it’s not their fault these guys are a@@holes. But when they are loud enough to disrupt those around them it suddenly becomes everyone else’s business.

  6. Wow, I upgraded to 1st on Delta from LAX-HNL last year and only received a room temp bottled water a full 2 hours into the flight. The racist should be put on the no fly list asap.

  7. Bettie needs to mind her own business. She’s the type of person that is outraged for others that aren’t outraged. Most people that complain on Twitter are assholes looking for likes, clicks or compensation for some perceived grievance.

  8. I’m surprised — shocked, even — by the number of people who wish to shoot the messenger rather than the actual people involved.

    Being a 50+ year veteran of the California wine industry, I’m always surprised with FA’s who violate the law by serving alcohol to people who are already inebriated. It’s a misdemeanor in all 50 states.* On the other hand, boorish men behaving badly, drunk and stupid, hardly comes as a surprise.

    People in winery tasting rooms, servers in bars and restaurants all need to be trained and understand the law. I can’t see why it would be any different for FAs. Besides, how difficult is it for an airline to set a company policy to limit pax over 21 to only ____ number of drinks per flight? And how difficult can it be for FAs to follow the law?

    * Of course when the Kansas State Attorney General, along with state troopers, met a TWA flight at JFK and arrested the FA’s for serving alcohol in the airspace over a dry Kansas county, the case was eventually tossed.

  9. If any of this is true, we have found the trifecta of humans behaving badly. Stupid drunks, judgemental passenger and foolish FA. Personally I find it difficult to believe.

  10. Just remember flight attendants, you can marry more in 5 minutes than you can make in a lifetime of being a flight attendant!

  11. The evil that commenters exhibit here in trivialising racism shows this is the dregs of the internet.

  12. @Don…you sound like a real Winner there Donnie. Unlike you, not everyone thinks life is all about money. Grow up.

  13. Also bad for the Delta Flight Attendant in this case, that they are not unionized. If the word is her against the customer – Delta (as Qatar would) might side with the customer and not the FA. In this case union protection would help her. However, seeing it from both sides: There are definitely customers with unreasonable expectations or health issues and there are also FAs that don’t provide the required service knowing that the Union will save them.

  14. I don’t believe it at all. Guys getting drunk on a plane whatever, there’s maybe a spoonful of truth in this barrel of virtue signaling BS.

    More likely this sad cat lady who hates men has to write fictional accounts of her travel in order to share her misery

  15. @rj: It is not impossible to develop a rapport with an FA on a flight to the point that they will pre-emptively keep your drink full. I do think it would be a challenge for a single person to get 8 drinks in on a 3-hour wheels-up-wheels-down flight though, so I’m guessing it was 8 drinks between the two of them… which would be an unremarkable number of drinks to consumer in 3 hours.

    @Jason Brandt Lewis: The speed limit on the expressway is 70 MPH and almost no one obeys that either. Bars serve drinks to inebriated people. 98% of bars I am familiar with will serve you until they don’t think you can stand on your own / you’re bothering other customers. (Less if they think you’re driving.)

  16. I’m skeptical, particularly of the part about knowing the ‘elderly man of color’ was exactly 74 years old – unless she was traveling with her father and knew his exact age, seems like an odd question to be asking under the circumstances… ‘Excuse me sir, that drunk guy just called you the N word – so, how old are you?’ doesn’t make sense to me

  17. Doesn’t pass the smell test.

    8 drinks on a three hour flight?
    Taking out take off and landing that’s like a drink every 10-15 minutes.

    As for the hand written letter…. Delta does that all the time in first. I got one yesterday from my flight attendant. . Everyone did.

  18. Interesting how the vast majority of comments go after the woman who had to endure these douchebags rather than the cause of the problem – the men.

  19. Yeah this doesn’t fly. Likely a too-sensitive person talking through all of this. The funny thing is that kids do these kinds of loud and behaviors all of the time and parents just think it’s the cutest thing. They feel it’s completely fine for babies and kids to yell, scream, kick seats, run around, make horrendously loud noises and misbehave the entire flight while parents just “tune it out”. But Heaven help us if an adult does it! Ok off my own high horse here…

    Someone was offended at passengers being friendly with flight attendants. Or jealous that they were not getting the same attention. I’ve had somewhat flirty flight attendants on flights. It was fun. No one got hurt. Sounds like this overly-sensitive nosy person felt left out so of course there is an injustice to them.

  20. I agree “BettieTheRipper”needs to rename her account BettieTheKaren. Didn’t Bettie have anything else to do but post constant Tweets about these guys. Sorry No compassion from me Bettie. Get a life!

  21. “Christian” you are so gullible! Why don’t you start a go fund me for Bettie’s therapy. Clearly she was traumatized. Lol

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