Just a few short weeks after United Airlines came under fire for its violent removal of a passenger from an overbooked flight, Delta is now being accused of the unfair treatment of a passenger for needing to use the bathroom while the plane was sitting on the runway awaiting takeoff. The incident took place on April 18, aboard Delta Flight 2035 from Atlanta to Milwaukee. After the plane taxied to the runway, passengers were told that they were third in line for takeoff. And then, they waited.
About 30 minutes went by when Kima Hamilton, a 39-year-old Milwaukee-based artist and poet, felt a sudden and strong urge to use the bathroom. Since the plane had not moved for an extended amount of time, he thought it would be okay to use the restroom. Upon moving to the back of the plane he was told to sit back down by a flight attendant who claimed that they would lose their place in line for takeoff. However after sitting back down and still not moving for several more minutes, he realized he needed to quickly go take care of business.
Fellow passenger Krista Rosolino, a lawyer from Milwaukee traveling with her husband Mike and baby daughter — who were all sitting across the aisle from Hamilton — estimates that he was out of his seat for less than a minute. But soon after Hamilton returned to his seat, the pilot came on the loudspeaker and apologized to passengers for the inconvenience, but that the flight had to return to the gate to remove a passenger.
Rosolino later captured the incident between Hamilton, who she described as a “Nice Gentleman” who played hide and seek with her daughter as they waited to takeoff, in a lengthy blog post titled “Frustrated Passenger” as well as two separate YouTube videos of Delta agents attempting to remove Hamilton from the flight (above and below). She writes that eventually the entire flight was forced to deplane and Hamilton was then taken aside and prohibited from re-boarding.
“It was already understood and decided that I was a problem and I was getting kicked off the plane,” Hamilton later told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “When I exited there were FBI agents waiting for me with Delta personnel.”
Despite the fact that in the second video, a Delta agent is seen plainly assuring Hamilton that he would be re-booked on another flight and eventually taken to his destination, he was eventually only given a partial reimbursement and left to find his own way to Milwaukee, where his checked luggage from the Delta flight would be waiting for him. Finally Hamilton was forced to purchase a walk-up ticket on Southwest Airlines which ended up costing him three times the amount of the refund he received from Delta.
Hamilton, a 6-foot-3-inch African American man with dreadlocks, felt that it was his appearance that led to the micro-aggression, which Rosolino also suggested in her blog post by questioning whether it was the color of his skin that airline employees didn’t trust.
It’s also worth nothing that this incident occurred just nine days after the United incident took place and was still very much in the headlines. While the Delta employees were admittedly as polite as they could have been to Hamilton during the entire ordeal, you have to wonder what it may have looked like had the United incident not transpired. Airlines have gotten so accustomed to intimidating and bullying passengers, but as you can see several people filming the incident go down in both videos — it seems as though that time may be coming to an end.