Delta Stands Up For Passenger Wearing “Black Lives Matter” Shirt

Filed Under: Delta

A viral Facebook post shares what happened on a recent Delta flight, when a passenger was harassed over wearing a Black Lives Matter shirt.

Woman harassed over BLM shirt

Demetria Poe shares what happened last week on a roundtrip journey from Minneapolis to Washington on Delta, flying out on Thursday and returning on Sunday.

According to her version of the story, she helped the woman seated next to her with her bags, but then the woman disappeared for a bit, before returning with a Blue Lives Matter mask and pin.

The seatmate remained silent until the plane took off, at which point the passenger confronted Poe:

“I support blue lives because I support our officers”

As Poe describes her rebuttal:

I explained to her blue lives do not exist. The life of an officer exists but there is no such thing as a blue life and that statement is nothing but a rebuttal to the fact that BLM has been disregarded time after time after time.

At that point the passenger proceeded to make statements like the following:

“Africans from the west sold the most slaves”
“The reason Blacks were 3/4th was because the south would have too many votes”
“Having Blacks in America has been the best thing for them because they can work they way up”

The passengers seated across from Poe stood up for her, and told the other lady to stop. The flight attendant came over to check on Poe, and offered to move the other passenger.

What Delta ended up doing…

According to Poe, upon landing in Washington, a Delta representative told her that the other woman wouldn’t be flying Delta anymore, so it sounds like she may have been banned.

On Poe’s return flight on Sunday, Delta took special care of her:

  • She was upgraded to Comfort+ in advance
  • Delta provided her with gifts, including a handwritten card, a luggage tag, a notebook, and a Delta “Black Lives Matter” pin

As Poe concludes:

I said all this to say that it’s time and situations like these where these companies need to take a stance! This furthers why I will only fly Delta Air Lines! At this point make me an ambassador Delta. I just thank God that this didn’t flip onto me because too many cases Black people are guilty until proven innocent.

Bottom line

You shouldn’t be looking to pick a fight with a seatmate. Planes are confined spaces, and we need to treat one another with respect.

It’s one thing to wear a shirt making a political statement, while it’s a whole different thing to lecture someone else about how their ancestors should only count as fractions of people.

We’re increasingly seeing major corporations support causes, though often there’s not much behind it. I’m consistently impressed by the way that Delta not only stands up for what’s right on paper (even if it’s controversial, for all the wrong reasons), but also does so in practice.

  1. I miss the times when you could just go about your life without having to take a political stance all the time.

    Expecting people and businesses to constantly take a political stance is what we usually find in unfree countries. I just want to be able to live my life without having to explain myself. That goes for both sides.

  2. Setting aside the odious content of that passenger’s speech, it’s dangerous for her to approach flying as an opportunity to spark and escalate conflict. If you want to seek out arguments with strangers, do it on the sidewalk (or the comments section), not strapped in at 30,000 feet.

  3. With masks and face shields on flights I’m surprised strangers are talking to each other!
    Even if Delta has middle seats blocked I wouldn’t pick a fight with my seat mate.

  4. Thanks Ben for this post. Very classy of Delta. And also, to be clear for the whiny commenters, saying Black Lives Matter is not a political statement folks. It’s a human rights issue. Delta did not take a political stand here (even if people interpret it as such), they simply did the right thing and recognized and affirmed this woman’s humanity in the face of blatant racism and being lectured on why it was ok that her ancestors were deemed to be 3/4 a human.

  5. @chocolatefactory But black lives do matter. That’s not a political stance. You aren’t required to think black lives matter but companies that serve people of color absolutely are.

  6. @ChocolateFactory “I miss the times when you could just go about your life without having to take a political stance all the time.”

    When was this magical time in American history of which you so fondly speak? Had to be at least a couple decades ago. I recall post-9/11 how anyone who questioned the war in Iraq or didn’t loudly “support” the troops (whatever that means) was accused of supporting terrorism.

  7. Some context here. Last weekend was the 2020 March on Washington. Was that the purpose of the BLM passenger’s trip? We aren’t told, but it sounds like the “seatmate” (middle seat not blocked, or “rowmate” more accurate?) was being criticized not just for her T-shirt but for the purpose of her trip.

    Meanwhile, this story was posted to Facebook on the same day that President Trump appeared on Fox News and told this tall tale:

    “We had somebody get on a plane from a certain city this weekend, and in the plane it was almost completely loaded with thugs, wearing these dark uniforms, black uniforms, with gear and this and that.”

    Do you think he was talking about the same flight?

  8. @Michael F It is, inherently, a political issue. Whilst I agree that Black Lives Matter, obviously, I don’t support the organization. I cannot support an organization that wants to establish Marxism and chants “Death to America”. They don’t even hide it, they list those on their website.

  9. @ChocolateFactory

    Its not a political issue at all. Its a human rights issue. There was also a time when segregation and civil rights were debated as if they were political issues with two equal sides. But now we look back and see it for the human rights issue it really was all along. So no, its not a “political” stance to say that black lives matter, and that our country needs to do better by black people going forward. And that fact that you wish you could remain blissfully insulated from that shows just how privileged you are.

  10. @ Enzo, now you are just making sh*t up. Nowhere on the BLM website do they advocate Marxism or write “Death to America”.

  11. Hypocrites! If Delta’s assets weren’t mostly guarded by airport security, they would suffer from the ‘Burn, Loot, Murder'(BLM) domestic terrorism group the same way thousands of small businesses around the US.

  12. @MaX

    Any way to avoid actually addressing the grievances and concerns of black people in the US. If a broken window matters more to you than an actual life, you are a part of the problem

  13. They’re as likely to stand up for people wearing MAGA attire. No surprises there except for the Karen who made a fuss about it

  14. Wearing a shirt stating “Black Lives Matter” should not be a controversial situation in any way, shape, or form on an airplane (or anywhere for that matter). If you are so sensitive that a shirt stating “Black Lives Matter” offends you, then you should probably rent a car and drive instead.

  15. Thanks for sharing. Even though I have some issues with the organization of Black Lives Matter, the phrase I totally agree with, I would have defended this woman to the hilt and back. We should all believe in free speech wether we disagree or agree with what is being said. I personally don’t wear anything that could be taken as political on a plane especially during this pandemic for this very reason, but that should be a personal choice not mandated. The other passenger seems pretty extreme in their views. I don’t really believe in safe spaces but those were some really nasty and racist comments by the Blue Lives Matter supporter. More people are in edge right now with everything and you really have to be prepared and ready to deescalate situations anywhere no matter who you are. I have certainly had to deescalate a lot more situations recently just going about my daily life. It’s not great but its wear we are as a country right now, the more people that accept that and prepare themselves to deescalate situations the better off we will be.

  16. So are we to believe that BLM as an organization and slogan is completely divorced from politics? I believe that social justice circles have a saying, “the personal is political”. Such if this was the mindset of social justice activists, can we say that commentary about BLM has absolutely no connection to politics?

  17. This blog has officially becoming a leftist political tabloid. Jesus, Ben. I hope you eventually go back to operating an actual travel blog and stop being a clickbait troll disguised as a travel blog.

    Back to The Points Guy I go. You are unreadable.

  18. Ben, sorry for all the hate you receive on these “politically oriented” posts. I appreciate these posts because they do show how other people, especially people of color, are treated while they travel during this crazy time, whether it be from airlines, staff, or other passengers. These are things we should keep in mind when traveling and deciding who gets our business as consumers. No one should be harassed by their fellow passenger while stuck in a flying metal tube and I appreciate Deltas (correct) response. I know that between leaving middle seats open and acts like this, Delta has my business (whenever I decide to fly again). Black lives matter.

  19. Corporate leaders (including Delta) have one thing in mind, and that is profit. All Delta is doing is pandering to the latest fad of social justice. This, they believe will safeguard their customer base. When corporations get into social policies be wary of their true goals. Most don’t have the straight information or the wisdom to to make just decisions. The rule of law however does protect everyone’s right to wear a pin, hat or whatever to make their own statement. Like the “golden rule” says. We all need to treat each other with respect!

  20. When a CEO says he and his wife hase ONE OF MANY CONCERS about their African American. child safety when he goes out in case he is stopped by police it is a concern for me. Not being political as they have other concers that we all share.

  21. Mind your own business, especially on an airplane. What someone wears is their business. If someone wants to wear a BLM shirt or a Trump mask or a Free Palestine armband or Tzitzit or a Wehrmacht uniform, that might be odious to you, but your hurt feelings are the cost of living in a free society. People are going to disagree with you no matter what you say or do, and that’s a good thing.

  22. Abolish the police. Blue lives are just racist thugs who put on the blue uniform during their work hours to terrorize minorities and then change to their KKK robes during their leisure time.

  23. BLM is a marxist organization hell bent on destroying America and nothing more, it’s goals have nothing to do with actually helping black people in any way. It merely serves as a front that advocates anarchy and destruction.

  24. Nine out of ten black homicides are committed by other blacks. Who should they realistically be afraid of? That’s one question that woke America, Oboma, LaBron, NFL, NBA, will never discuss. Look at the body count every weekend in Chicago , Oboma’s hometown. Silence by him and BLM.

  25. Having lived in the south for many years back in the ‘80s when DL was a regional airline, they have always been on the forefront of hiring African Americans, they were the Airline of the US Army, much of which was stationed at southern bases back then and they were the most friendly. It was always a pleasure to transit ATL.
    One of my greatest memories is returning from Operation Desert Storm in 1991 on a Delta Charter, landing at Hartsfield, the Captain waving an American Flag out the cockpit window as we taxied to the gate. Delta has always been a class act, treating people with dignity and respect. This was right thing to do and is consistent with their long-standing corporate culture and not some gimmick.

    Hopefully in January 2021, the healing will begin and civility, health and prosperity will once again return to our country. Black Lives Matter.

  26. Since when is the worth or value of a black life a matter of politics? Sure, there are political levers to be pulled as a practical matter to enact the changes necessary to ensure that black lives really are treated equally. But the cause itself, the expression that black lives have value and worth that this country is often blind to, is as far from a “political” issue as one can imagine

  27. Ben, I just want to let you know that i appreciate these stories and your perspective. I hope the commenters who are willing to defend this woman do pick up and leave.

  28. It is sad that people have to constant exaggerate in a desperate attempt to try and denigrate the other side. Enzo is a clear example of that. I’m guessing he has never even been to the web site much less know what is on there.

    Are there some extremes that side with BLM sure, but there are many more extremists on the extreme right who refuse to abide by laws and make a scene over everything including this flight.

    Those people may be loud but fortunately they are largely out numbered and I think that frustrates them the most. They can’t win a fair election without gerrymandering or trying to rig things. They are desperately against allowing everyone a vote since they simply can’t win. So lie, cheat, steal, is their path.

    Look in the mirror you are the problem and will lose in the long run.

    I’m not particularly fond of any party but I am in favor of fairness and equal opportunities and the need to hold people and companies accountable for their actions unlike the current political administration.

  29. History has shown that when a group of people are repressed, they will eventually rise up. Gay/trans, black people, women, etc. Then the bigots, racists, and sexists act surprised when it happens. You can’t make this stuff up. You don’t have to like everyone you meet, but to harass and repress them is taking it too far. They are going to fight back!

    I will admit that there are groups of people I don’t like. I am a minority myself and some other minorities annoy me. But I would not repress them or hesitate to hire them for a job if they have the skills.

  30. Typical woke capitalism: corporation protecting the latest liberal holy cow. I despise hectoring karens, but the woman with the shirt should not have been allowed to board wearing that racist crap uncovered.

  31. Leaving aside, for the moment, the content of the harassment by the odious seat mate, Delta did exactly the right thing. You ban the passenger who tried to pick a fight in the air. Comforting the one who got harassed is a nice touch, too. Too all who are saying “politics”, get a clue here. Trying to start a fight on an airplane is offensive if not criminal behavior, and Delta needs to have and enforce a clear policy to protect their business.

  32. How about these corporations stay out of politics altogether and stop alienating fifty percent of one side or another ?? This is America. Apparently 1st Amendment freedom’s only apply if you take a certain supposedly “moral” view. If not, you can expect protesters (on both sides), boycotts, and even physical harm. I’ve stopped spending my money on supporting professional sports, Hollywood movies, and concerts. I get enough politics in my daily life for free. I’m not going to pay my hard earned money to watch or listen to a diatribe of people wanting to “pat themselves on the back” feigning outrage on both sides. I’m certain millions of people all across this great country feel exactly the same. The more these corporations decide to choose sides, the less profits they’ll make.

  33. Ben – Keep up the good work and save your breath and fingers trying to point out the obvious to some of these fools. I hope more stories like this will help flush your audience of the “outraged” Kens and Karens. I’m flying next week (yes, Delta) and will be asking Delta how I can get a pin too.

  34. Glad to see Delta’s response here, both in supporting this passenger and in banning the one who harassed her.

    I don’t care what your opinions or political views are. A confined metal tube is not the place to provide others with unsolicited lectures on them and people who try to do that should 100% be banned, especially when they don’t stop after being asked to.

  35. It does not surprise me. Delta was the first carrier to add induction loops for people with hearing loss to their renovated counters. As a result, other airlines are making changes as well. I would love to see the site do a story on hearing access at airports and airlines.

  36. I dont want my airline to be a political airline. And I dont think Delta wants to be a political airline either.

  37. Before one makes judgement, we should hear the other woman’s story. Is it possible that the woman with the BLM Tshirt was offended by the blue lives mask and pin and either said something first or showed disagreement with her body language? In my opinion, it is beneficial for conversations to occur between those with opposing views. Unfortunately that has become nearly impossible when those conversing are on opposite sides. I remember when I was camping on a beach at Lake Baikal in Russia and there was a group of Russians engaged in a lengthy debate. A Russian friend approached me and asked if you could discuss politics in the US and I exclaimed only if you agree with the other’s point of view. Shame that every day my exclamation is proving more true than ever.

  38. Why choose sides Delta needs to stay out of politics!!! Period. Sick and tired of these companies, sports teams etc getting involved in social issues. Leave politics out of business and you won’t offend anyone.

  39. Its just humans having opinions and say things to each-other. Let do away with them all and especially the ones that think it will matter in the distan future moving themselves from one point to another binding oxygen to carbon doing so.

  40. Totally agree with Mike, Willy, MaX and others. OMAAT is turning into a leftist political activism site. Very unprofessional. Note that there is no mention that the other woman was rude or uncivil. She just happened to hold another view than the leftist, “woke,” BLM position. But apparently for Delta and other leftist activists, you’re not allowed to have another opinion. If the woman was banned from Delta, then we are dealing with Orwellian totalitarianism, folks. Woe to you if you dare to dissent from the leftist orthodoxy. You will be cancelled and banned.

    Let’s not even get into the overt Marxist ideology of BLM or the countless acts of violence and looting that they have instigated. Looks like the leftist indoctrination of the masses is nearly complete. Shame on Delta. I am against racism as much as anyone else, but this kind of ideological thuggery is disgusting.

  41. Blacks were not counted as 3/4 of a person in the Constitution. That’s 25% too much. They were counted as 3/5, and hence “The Three-Fifths Compromise:”
    ‘The Three-Fifths Compromise was a compromise reached among state delegates during the 1787 United States Constitutional Convention. Whether and, if so, how enslaved persons would be counted when determining a state’s total population for legislative representation and taxing purposes was important, as this population number would then be used to determine the number of seats that the state would have in the United States House of Representatives for the next ten years. The compromise solution was to count three out of every five slaves as people for this purpose. Its effect was to give the Southern states a third more seats in Congress and a third more electoral votes than if slaves had been ignored, but fewer than if slaves and free people had been counted equally.’ – wikipedia

    And before anyone gets their knickers twisted about Blue and Black Lives, I’m just a middle aged white guy with a thickening middle who not only supports Delta on this, but I am probably related to more cops than any of you know. Throw in the guys I know from high school who’re cops, and I run out of fingers and toes to count them all.

  42. How many of you guys know what BLM is actually about? It’s simple, go to the BLM website, then click on the ‘What WE Believe’ subsection and read with mounting horror what radical ‘solutions’ they prescribe for society. Hint: there’s something about abolishing family units. Try selling that to your spouse, your parents and grandparents.

  43. I’ve always thought that wearing ‘statement attire’ especially in confined spaces, like aircraft, is at the very least, ill-advised.
    As it screams “LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME!” the wearer should be prepared for comment, favorable or not. If this report is correct , the BLM passenger was coherent and on point in countering the lunatic woman who thought Blue Lives Matter was even a thing.
    As to the politics of BLM, it is pretty obvious that Trump and his ignorant rabble are not supporters, and most Democrats are, speaks for itself. You choose for yourself which side of history you are on.

  44. @Enzo. @John. Agreed. The entire episode is political and total nonsense. While I support equal rights for all, black, white, yellow, brown…but I would not support organization such as BLM which is partly funded by domestic terrorist. I would try to avoid Delta as much as possible.

  45. Delta should not defend either party over a private conversation. They should intervene only if it turns physical or actual threats are made. Even then, Delta need only separate the two and that’s it. In this case, treating one party to perks puts Delta in the crosshairs. I think no one should wear political or social statement shirts onboard but if they do then everyone on both sides should just shut their mouth to avoid a cage fight. Nothing wrong supporting either equal rights or law and order…But let’s all just pipe down for a breather.

  46. Black lives matter as a statement of fact, that black lives are just as valued as other lives, I don’t think there are many people that would disagree. That being said, hate to break it to everyone, but Black Lives Matter (the movement) is totally political. The platform they use for donations is called ActBlue. Look at where 99% of those donations go to (DNC and democratic candidate campaigns). According to ActBlue’s own website “ActBlue is a nonprofit technology organization established in June 2004 that enables left-leaning nonprofits, Democrats, and progressive groups to raise money on the Internet by providing them with online fundraising software.” To say that these two are not conflated is being disingenuous.

    And for those that say BLM isn’t a Marxist organization (which inherently makes it a political entity), here’s a few quotes (verbatim) from the website.

    “We practice empathy. We engage comrades with the intent to learn about and connect with their contexts.”

    “We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.”

    As you can see, BLM is very careful with how it words its causes. So, the use of “comrades” and “extended families and ‘villages’ and collectively” is not by accident. They are taken from Marxist ideology, which is not hard to infer considering that two of its co-founders (Patrisse Cullors and Alicia Garza) are self-proclaimed “trained Marxists”.

  47. And did anyone else notice that two of the three points mentioned by Poe are historical facts (3/5ths and african slave sellers). I don’t think these two points should be used as an argument for either side when passing judgment. It’s ridiculous that people get triggered by historical facts. What next, are we going to start censoring history? That always goes well.

    By the way, I’m not condoning this type of aggressive, confrontational behavior. It sounds like the situation was completely unnecessary. But I also believe we should get to hear both sides of the story before passing judgment. Do we know if the other party was the one who instigated the whole thing for sure?

    Optimistically, I hope Delta’s decision to ban the other passenger was based on harassment, not on the words that Poe mentions. Because the only controversial thing that was said, arguably, would be the third point mentioned, being a personal opinion. People are allowed to have different opinions in the US, or at least it used to be that way.

  48. @drew: first amendment freedoms only actually matter when it is the government that is prohibiting (or punishing) speech. it doesn’t apply here. corporations are free to reward and/or punish speech as necessary to preserve their business.

    that said, delta did the right thing here.

  49. Blue lives do, in fact, exist. They’re called Smurfs.

    To the people who insist on calling the fight for racial justice a “political” issue: your own true colors are showing. And they don’t flatter you.

  50. Delta is headquartered in my home city. It has always been a stand up company. Well done Delta. If more of these types of consequential actions are taken against, bigots, racists, and bullies, then the incentive for such behavior will almost disappear and we will return to being a much more normal country than currently exists with people in high places stoking division. Delta will continue to be our airline of record for all our frequent travels.

  51. To the people saying things like, “Delta should stay out of politics!” or complaining that folks “make everything political,” think about this: what does it feel like to have your life or humanity denigrated? What does it feel like to not have the same rights as everyone else in your country? What does it feel like to be treated as though your humanity, your life, does not matter? If you cannot empathize and answer these questions, you have too much privilege and won’t ever understand. To those who can empathize and answer these questions because you’ve experienced others denigrating your humanity, ignoring your lived experiences, and pretending that your existence isn’t, in itself, a political statement (because politicians make policy all the time that hurts certain groups of individuals, and thus those group members’ lives are political), many of us see you, hear you, and support you. You deserve better than many of the folks on these threads can provide. Thank you, @Ben, for continuing to use your platform to shine a light on the everyday indignities many of us face, and thank you to those of you in this space who see those indignities and use your privilege to speak up about and fight them.

  52. @ John – that “horrifying” section you refer to :

    We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.. .

    Note TO THE DEGREE that the named are comfortable.

    The nuclear family concept is largely a failure of the 50’s onward – prior to that we lived in multi generation homes, fewer issues of old people alone, latch key kids or having to work 2 or more jobs

    You really should stop lying – but I’m guess since it seems you drink the Orange Kool Aid – lying comes naturally

  53. Despite what the internet and media would have you believe 38% of the American public and rising oppose this ‘movement.’

    Airlines better be careful taking sides and banning paying customers while at the same time begging for more tax payer bailout money and a CARES extension.

  54. How about lets just stop being assholes to each other! Treat everyone how you want to be treated. A smile and a hello goes a long way especially now.

  55. I’m fine with BLM pins or clothing, there’s room for more than ones thoughts to express. However, as long as your employees can also wear Blue Lives Matter.
    Be fair about it. Otherwise you are practicing racism too.

  56. Agreed Francis.

    It appears both parties to this conversation were at fault here. Both escalated the situation, wanting to impose their views on the other.

    Either could have calmed things down by being tolerant, without trying to start a debate on a plane. Both made inflammatory statements that were obviously going to aggravate the person beside them.

    Whatever happened to people understanding context of the environment. Your airline seat isn’t a political soapbox.

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