As you might expect, the scguide blog has a lot to say about Delta Airlines. In recent months, Delta has been hit with a number of lawsuits, including one from a family who claimed a Delta employee told them their special-needs daughter was a “cash cow.”

Last month, the Federal Aviation Administration suspended an airline employee for two weeks after the employee posted a message on Facebook that said, “I wish I could ship her back to the US and have them have her a special needs [sic] check done on her [sic].” The incident has once again raised concerns that airlines use “special needs” passengers to pad their stats, and that the government has effectively given airlines a license to discriminate against the disabled.

Delta accuses a frequent flyer of kidnapping his disabled daughter

Gary Leff 24. June 2021

Peter Espinosa was traveling first class on a Delta Airlines flight from Minneapolis to Dallas with his 20-year-old daughter, who has a genetic condition called Fragile X syndrome. They were on their way to visit his son – their brother – for Father’s Day.

People with Fragile X are anxious and tend not to make eye contact. They can also be easily overwhelmed, especially when questioned.

The flight attendant noticed the woman’s behavior, made a move to interact with her, and began asking her questions. Then she became agitated.

Espinosa, who is CEO of a mortgage fintech company and a Delta millionaire, tried to intervene, but the flight attendant insisted that her daughter respond. The flight attendant asked the captain to report her to the police, and upon arrival the plane was met by four officers. They arrested Espinosa for human trafficking.

I now understand what it’s like to be a falsely accused minority parent, to fight for your freedom to defend your child, he writes.

He told the officers who he was and that the person he was stealing with was his daughter and asked the officers to have Delta search him.

…Espinosa said the whole situation could have been avoided if Delta had taken care of special needs passengers or if flight attendants had not treated him in a racist manner. …a 20-year-old girl in trouble. Accompanied by a Hispanic man old enough to be her father. He’s probably a human trafficker, Espinosa writes.

Espinosa says he has been asking Delta for years to flag customers with special needs in SkyMiles profiles to identify them for employees. He believes that their systems should be able to detect that his regular trips with his daughter over the years should direct airline employees to a less suspicious location, and that the airline should provide this information to those who need it.

According to Delta,

Nothing is more important than the safety of our customers, and that means creating a safe and comfortable environment for all customers, especially those with disabilities. While Delta employees remain actively involved in the fight against human trafficking, we remain committed to making sure our clients with disabilities feel supported.

Espinosa says he returned his Delta Platinum American Express card, his Sky Club membership card and his Diamond Elite card to Ed Bastian, CEO of the airline.

Airline and hotel employees are taught to use their biases to recognize and report human trafficking, and this often does not work well. Flight attendants are supposed to be on their toes, and you need to understand the position they are placed in. Imagine if they had remained silent when they could have prevented a bad situation? It will haunt them. So it’s best to file a complaint or report innocents so the police can sort it out. And this leads to situations like,

The Department of Homeland Security has trained hotel staff to report overused condoms in the trash, even to guests:

  • frequent use of the do not disturb sign (you are tired and do not want to be disturbed)
  • Guests who look away or don’t make eye contact (they are tired and don’t want to be disturbed)
  • People who have inferior clothing as a companion (no one has ever accused me of being a fashionista).
  • People with suspicious tattoos (which just means you’re from Austin or Portland).
  • Own multiple computers, mobile phones and other devices (you are a blogger).
  • Availability of photographic equipment (you are a blogger)
  • Refuse cleaning services for a few days (you’ve made a green decision or you’re afraid of the Covid).
  • Payments in cash or with a reloadable credit card (gift card purchases must be charged one way or another).
  • Guests with few personal items (you refuse to give up your bag because you travel often).

Seeing something, saying something, encouraging amateurs to do it leads to so many false positives that real cases of sex trafficking get less attention. Employees think they are trained, when in fact they are using their preconceived ideas.

(HT: Jared)

Lake View from the Wing

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