On Friday, the US Department of Transportation ordered Delta Airlines, to pay a fine of $50,000 over allegations that the airline discriminated against Muslim passengers. The case involves two different incidents, in which Muslim passengers were asked to leave after their mannerisms made flight-attendants and co-passengers, nervous.
US Department of Transportation's order
The US Department of Transportation ordered Delta Airlines to pay a fine of $50,000 over violation of federal law, "prohibiting US and foreign air carriers from subjecting any air traveler to discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex or ancestry". The airlines has been told to "cease and desist from future similar violations".
Along with the fine, the order "mandates civil rights training to certain Delta flight and cabin crews and customer service representatives, and requires the carrier to enhance its e-training civil rights program".
The two cases for which Delta is accused of racial profiling
One of the two cases took place in July 2016, in which a woman passenger complained to a flight attendant that a couple made her nervous. The woman was wearing a headscarf, while the man, the flight attendant claimed, was writing "Allah" several times while texting on his phone.
The couple were US citizens who were returning from Paris to their home in Cincinnati and "raised no red flags", according to Delta's corporate security office. Flight's captain refused to let them re-board and they returned home the next day.
The second incident occurred a few days later, on a flight returning from Amsterdam to New York, in which the fellow passengers voiced concern that a fellow passenger had received "a small package" from "a person of similar ethnicity in the gate area."
The captain, preparing to begin the New York-bound flight, returned to the gate and had the man and his bags removed and the area around his seat checked. The man returned on a later flight, which did not put him through additional screening, which, according to the Transportation Department, showed his removal from the flight was discriminatory.
Delta refutes claim
In its response, Delta disagreed "with the Department's contention that it engaged in discriminatory conduct". But the airlines has admitted that both cases "could have been handled differently... Delta asserts that it has learned from the two incidents at issue here, and has improved its processes because of them," the airline said.