Man reportedly fired after Delta worker racially abused in argument over masks on flight

No criminal charges have been pressed relating to the incident

Graig Graziosi
Friday 11 February 2022 18:13 GMT
Related video: Man kicked off plane for not wearing a mask while eating Twizzlers

A man was fired after he reportedly disrupted a Delta flight and used the N-word to insult an airline worker.

Passengers on the flight speaking with the Lincoln Journal Star claim that a group of Buildertrend employees had been drinking at an airport bar prior to boarding a flight bound for New York City. After boarding, the group allegedly was being loud, disrupting other passengers sitting near them in the back of the plane.

A Black flight attendant reportedly walked to the back of the plane to talk to the passengers, but came back "very shaken."

The flight attendant had reportedly asked the passengers to put their masks on, after which one of them called her the N-word.

The company's CEO, Dan Houghton, issued an apology for his employees on Wednesday and said the company was investigating the incident with "internal and external parties."

"We sincerely apologize to the passengers and employees of Delta Air Lines; to our employees and customers; our partners in business and philanthropy; and to the communities we serve," he said in the statement.

The CEO's statement did not include a direct address of the racial slur used. The CEO said he also felt "the frustration, disgust and concern that many have expressed in the wake of this incident," adding that the "behaviour does not reflect our values we hold as a company."

The incident ultimately delayed the flight. The plane was taxiing and prepared for takeoff when the racial slur was used. The insult and the general rowdiness of the group caused the pilot to turn the plane. Police forced everyone off the flight and investigated the incident.

According to one passenger, "noticeably fewer people" with the Buildertrend group got back on the plane after the police intervention.

The passenger claimed that the flight attendant refused to re-board the plane, as the pair of passengers who started the incident had also returned to their seats. Police escorted the two off the flight.

Ultimately the flight was delayed nearly three hours.

No charges were filed resulting from the incident.

Mr Houghton claimed that his company takes "these accounts of unacceptable behaviour very seriously" and is "working diligently to determine all requisite next steps."

One of those steps was reportedly firing worker. It is unclear if the man who Mr Houghton fired was the one who used the racial slur.

"It is our promise to continue being outstanding stewards of the community and our employees. We will learn from this experience and continue to grow as a company," he said.

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