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A Delta Customer Asked an Airline Employee For Her Manager’s Name. The Employee Asked For Police To Be Called

The customer, who was black, filmed the interaction. She believes the employee’s behavior was racially motivated.

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BY Chris Matyszczyk - 20 Sep 2018

A Delta Customer Asked an Airline Employee For Her Manager's Name. The Employee Asked For Police To Be Called

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.


Luggage gets damaged.

So, on occasion, do airline employee-customer relations.

This time we're in a Delta Air Lines baggage office at Boston Airport.

A woman who told Yahoo Lifestyle that her name was Arlene wanted to report that her luggage had been ripped.

She says that while she was waiting for a manager, some Delta employees had sniggered at her.

Still, the manager talked to her, left and she proceeded to file her customer complaint.

Things then seem to have turned in a peculiar direction. And when they do, you know what happens, don't you?

The customer pulls out their phone and starts filming.

Here, it seems that Arlene asks for the manager's name -- perhaps because she feels he didn't listen to her complaints about the allegedly sniggering Delta employees.

She wants to add his name to the complaint.

For some odd reason, the baggage agent refuses to give his name. She claims that the airline doesn't do that, that no one at the airline even has a business card.

Worse, the Delta employee -- whose name appears to be Teddra -- objects to being filmed.

We've been here before.

Who can forget the United Airlines gate agent at New Orleans Airport who insisted that a passenger needed her permission to film her?

She was so miffed that she canceled the passenger's ticket and called the police.

In this case, Teddra put in a call for the state police to be summoned.

Which doesn't seem entirely in keeping with the action shown on the video.

Moreover, it's impossible not to notice that Arlene is black and Teddra is white. Arlene says that Teddra's imperfect attitude to customer service was racially motivated.

It wouldn't be unknown. Just this week, as my colleague Bill Murphy Jr. reported, rapper Wale -- who is black -- was allegedly told he didn't belong in First Class.

Then there was the white Flight Attendant on a Delta flight who appeared to talk down so much to a black customer that five passengers ended up being removed from the plane.

Naturally, I asked Delta whether it was against the rules to film its staff and whether it was policy not to give out staff names.

Neither is, in fact, the case, although in the case of filming airlines prefer not to show interactions with other customers and don't want filmers interfering with employees trying to do their jobs.

About this particular incident, which happened on August 24, a Delta spokesman added:

We apologize to this customer for her experience in the Boston baggage service office and Delta is in contact with her to better understand what transpired. We take situations like these seriously and we are working directly with this customer to use this as an opportunity to learn from her experience and improve on future customer interactions.

Of course, what you never see from two minutes of fascinating action is what happened before.

How long, indeed, had this been going on before Arlene began filming?

What had been said and how? What might have been the dominant word to describe the atmosphere?

What seems clearer is that Teddra refusing to give the manager's name escalated the friction.

Yes, sometimes individual employees take a severe disliking to individual customers. Yes, some individual employees have racial prejudice mar their behavior.

The big problem for the airline is that the behavior of an individual employee can severely affect how that airline is seen for a long time.

Just ask United Airlines.

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