Delta Airlines ended up going to extremes to eject a passenger who just had to pee while the plane was waiting and waiting to take off from Atlanta. The flight was delayed and taxied back to the gate, then the plane had to be emptied of all passengers.
The Delta pilot said it was a "security concern/issue." He could have added that it was a teachable moment for all those very tempted to do the same thing.
Kima Hamilton was kicked off the flight to Milwaukee after the plane returned to the gate at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on April 18 because, as Delta suggested, he didn't comply with crew instructions, reported WISN-TV.
Passenger Krista Rosolino said Hamilton got out of his seat to quickly go the restroom after, she estimated, the plane had been taxiing for about 30 minutes, even though passengers had been told they were third in line for takeoff.
Hamilton didn't deny it.
"I purchased this ticket. I've – I had an emergency. I had to pee. ... I tried to hold it the first time. ... I absolutely couldn't...and now I'm being kicked off the plane," Hamilton said on a video taken after he plane returned to the gate. Hamilton was confronted by two different Delta employees before relenting and leaving the plane.
Hamilton was interviewed by FBI agents once back in the Atlanta terminal. WISN-TV said Hamilton paid a higher price at another airline to catch a flight to Milwaukee.
Rosolino wrote on her blog that everyone was eventually made to get off the airplane and re-board. The attorney added that she believed Delta employees treated Hamilton rudely.
"The final event of this horrifying saga occurred when, after the plane was airborne, the pilot announced his apologies for the delays and explained that the situation was due to a security concern/issue," Rosolino blogged. "My husband and I observed the entire event (my husband accompanied the Nice Gentleman (Hamilton) when he was taken aside in the airport), and there was never any hint of a security risk or concern… unless an emergency need to use the bathroom after unpredictable delays is now considered a 'security risk/issue.'"
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said Delta Air Lines responded after the incident:
"Our flight crews are extensively trained to ensure the safety and security of all customers. It is imperative that passengers comply with crew instructions during all phases of flight, especially at the critical points of takeoff and landing."
The case sparks comparisons to the April 9 incident at Chicago O'Hare International Airport when, said the Washington Post, Dr. David Dao was dragged out of his seat, down the aisle and off a United flight after he refused to give up his seat for Delta off-duty crew.
The incident turned into a total public relations nightmare for United and now its CEO won't be returning.
Dao is considering a lawsuit against the airline, said the Post.
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