The man says that he asked a stewardess to go to the restroom, but was told that they would lose their place in line for the start.
A Delta passenger who was kicked off a flight in April for the use of the toilet while the plane was taxiing has filed a federal lawsuit against the airline for alleged racial discrimination.
In the lawsuit filed Tuesday, Kima Hamilton, a black man, says the color of his skin was a factor in Delta’s decision to remove him, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. The suit wants unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
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On 18 April, Hamilton was on a plane to Atlanta Hartsfield–Jackson International Airport bound for Milwaukee. After a wait of about 15 to 20 minutes on the tarmac, he asked a stewardess to go to the restroom, but was told that they would lose their place in line to ascend, and he would have to return to his seat.
After waiting some more, Hamilton could not take it any longer, so he quickly went to the toilet then went back down. Shortly after, the pilot announced that the plane would be returning to the gate, so that a passenger can be removed. Two Delta employees on board of the plane and approached Hamilton, the one after the other, telling him that he needed to get out of the plane.
A fellow passenger sitting on the other side of Hamilton, Krista Rosolino, recorded the incident on her mobile phone. “I bought this ticket. I have — I had an emergency. I had to pee. … I tried to hold it the first time. … I absolutely couldn’t…and now I’m a kick out of the airplane,” Hamilton can be heard saying in the clip.
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After initially refusing to step off the plane, Hamilton met and was with FBI agents at the gate. All of the other passengers had to leave the plane, the Sentinel reports.
Hamilton was subsequently denied the purchase of a plane ticket from Delta, but he was credited for a portion of its original rate. Hamilton told WDJT he was forced to buy a ticket for a Southwest flight at three times the price of the original Delta ticket home for later in the day.
Delta issued the following statement regarding the incident and Hamilton’s lawsuit.
“Our crews are extensively trained to ensure the safety and security of all customers. It is necessary that the passengers follow the FAA regulations to comply with the instructions of the crew during all phases of flight, particularly on the critical points of the take-off and landing, which our findings indicate this customer does not do so,” Delta spokesman told Fox News in a statement.
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“We take all claims of discrimination seriously, but we cannot comment further on pending litigation.”