Video: Rude, Maskless Delta Captain Confronts Passenger

Filed Under: Delta, Videos

There’s some video footage circulating of an interaction between a Delta captain and a passenger on a recent flight. There’s not much context for what happened, so I’m doing my best to piece together the interaction.

What happened between Delta pilot & passenger

The video starts with the pilot approaching the passenger. It would appear that the passenger is wearing a hat that has the “F” word on it. I’m not sure if there’s more to it than that — perhaps it’s part of a phrase, but that’s the only word we can see.

The captain explains that the flight attendants had asked the passenger to remove it, but the she didn’t comply.

Was the airline in the right for asking her to remove the hat?

  • Delta’s contract of carriage reserves the right to remove a passenger when their attire “creates an unreasonable risk of offense or annoyance to other passengers”
  • While I’m not personally offended by the hat (I cuss a bit more than I should, to put it mildly), I can appreciate that many would consider this to be offensive

The captain approaches the woman and says “we’re not going to do that,” and gives her two options — she can either remove the hat or get off the flight.

The passenger responds “please tell me where that’s posted,” to which the captain replies “I’m the captain of the airplane, that’s where it’s posted, and Delta has guidelines, and I don’t have to explain it to you.”

He then asks her if she understands.

Passenger: “Yeah I heard you, sir.”
Captain: “No, no, do you understand it?”
Passenger: “I said I heard you.”
Captain: “Do you understand it?”
Captain: “Do you understand what the two options are?”

The captain then points his finger at the passenger, at which point she tells him not to do that. At that point the discussion continues with them going around in circles:

Captain: “Tell me now, so which is it?”
Passenger: “Tell you what? The hat is off. There’s nothing to tell you, the hat is in my lap.”
Captain: “For the entire flight?”
Passenger: “The hat is in my lap.”
Captain: “For the entire flight? It will not be worn the entire flight?”
Passenger: “The hat is in my lap.”
Captain: “Tell me it’s off for the entire flight.”
Passenger: “The hat is in my lap.”
Captain: “One thousand one, one thousand two. I’ve got six kids, I raised 10 kids.”
Passenger: “I’m not a child sir, the hat is in my lap.”

I can only write the same thing so often, so if you want to watch the rest of the interaction (“the hat is in my lap”), you can watch the full 2min20sec video here:

My take on this situation

First and foremost, why isn’t the captain wearing a mask while in the cabin talking to passengers without any amount of distancing? That’s the part of this video that I find most confusing.

Delta has banned hundreds of people for lack of mask compliance, and at this point in the pandemic it should be pretty clear that you should be wearing a mask whenever walking through the cabin, with zero exceptions.

As far as the situation as such goes, my general take is:

  • Personally a hat with the “F” word doesn’t offend me, but I can appreciate that objectively it’s inappropriate, and I don’t think the airline is wrong for asking the passenger to remove it
  • Based on what we see, the passenger isn’t being cooperative after being asked to remove the hat; she apparently refused to follow flight attendant requests, which is the point at which the captain got involved
  • The captain comes across as ridiculously arrogant, from saying “I’m the captain, that’s where it’s posted,” to pointing his finger at her, to his general condescending tone; this isn’t how you should talk to anyone, let alone a customer

Bottom line

I’m not sure anyone comes out of this looking great. The passenger was uncooperative with a reasonable request that’s support by the contract of carriage, while the captain wasn’t wearing a mask and had a belittling tone.

What do you make of this situation?

(Tip of the hat to Jon W)

  1. The captain did not handle this well.

    That said, the passenger should have been kicked off when it immediately became apparent that they were not going to comply or cooperate.

  2. Absurd. What does color have to do with this? Nothing, based on the evidence.

    Kick the passenger off the plane!

  3. If you don’t get it now, you never will. The mask thing is garbage. They are power tripping you and you’re going along with it.

    As for Delta, it’s an airline that can’t go out of business fast enough. Banning passengers for not complying with the stupid mask rule is one thing. But bullying a paying customer for something they’re wearing? Unless she’s naked or bearing breasts, behind or vagina, I’m not really interested. She can wear what she wants.

    This entire thing about “causing offence” it total bull. The rule should be removed permanently and the airline owes all passengers on the flight an apology, particularly the passenger being abused and bullied by this pilot.

    The pilot should be dismissed. This behaviour is unacceptable and if he were in any other service profession and spoke to a customer like that, he’d be sacked.

    It’s time for Americans in particular to grow up and stop being so puritan.

  4. Fire the captain. Delta doesn’t have unions defending trash like this guy.

    I will also add, as a brown man living in the USA, 100% of racist experiences at the hands of airline staff while traveling have been Delta. Guess that’s what happens with an airline based out of GA.

  5. Sure there was an exchange before with the FAs – otherwise, why would the pilot need to get involved. If he left the cockpit in a hurry I could see why he didn’t bring his mask – they don’t fly with masks on. At the end of the day, he’s right, he is the pilot and he doesn’t have to fly a passenger he feels could cause trouble in the air for himself or others. Your “bottom line” should be: they still flew the passenger (unlike United’s drag off incident.)

  6. Yes the captain should wear a mask. The passenger was arrogant and didn’t answer the question.
    I’ve got the feeling that she was fiming the captain in the hope that things would escalate so that we would have agaian and again the same discussion….

  7. She could have just said, “yes it’s inappropriate to wear in public. You have my word I won’t wear it the rest of the flight.” That’s all the captain was asking for. She knew what she was doing by refusing to commit.

  8. Who cares? The individual shouldn’t have been wearing the hat, period. Have half a brain and ask yourself why you think it’s ok to wear a hat with that word on it. If you have to ask, therein lies the problem.

  9. They’re both in the wrong. Pilot should be wearing a mask, and yes he came off poorly.

    Passenger is also absolutely in the wrong. He asked a very direct question and she acts like he’s playing games despite the fact that she’s intentionally offering an evasive non-answer.

    I have no idea why BLM is inserting itself here either. Did race play a part? It’s possible. But this is not the sort of thing that’s going to further the cause.

  10. To anyone who says this is a race thing, it’s not. I’m Black. Don’t wear a hat where you have to question if the language on it, is offensive. Why you even own a hat like that is beyond me, it’s not funny or cute. Grow up.

  11. I find the use of the term “cuss” offensive. It is a vulgarization of “curse.”

    Racists see racism everywhere. What an exhausting way to go through life.

  12. The passenger was in the wrong. She should not wear anything that is offensive to others. The captain is the lord of the plane and he has the right to remove a passenger in noncompliance. She filmed it to add fuel to the fire to shame the pilot and the airline. The captain probably did not wear a mask because he was in a hurry to help and defend his flight crew. Passengers need to comply with crew instructions or face removal of flight. That is definitely the language of any airline anywhere and it is always mentioned in the safety video which almost no one listens to carefully or seriously anymore. He asked her plain questions but she gave him a run around answer many times. She wanted to make it worse. Yes, the pilot should not have used that tone but nor should the passenger be misbehaving and aggravating the situation further from not listening the crew to not listening to the pilot.

  13. Masks are optional for airline captains.

    Last month on an American Eagle flight out of ORD, a deadheading captain was seated across the aisle from me in F. He had a bag of fast-food. After he finished it, 15 minutes after boarding, I gesutred to him to mask up. He didn’t. So I complained to the FA and asked that she request this guy to comply with AA policy. I went back to my seat and snapped a picture of the AH.

    Next thing I know, a gate supervisor comes on board and says the FA feels I was disruptive and isn’t comfortable with me on the plane. I was asked to disembark. They gave me a hotel room at the ORD Hilton and a meal allowance and rebooked me in the morning. Had I been truly disruptive, I’d probably been arrested by the friendly Chicago police.

    I chose not to make a big stink with AA, as I have 750K miles waiting to burn. I was frankly afraid they might ban me and cancel my miles.

    IF YOU FACE SUCH A SITUATION, DISCREETLY TAKE VIDEO! Without it, you can be screwed by the noncompliant employees.

  14. Agree that the captain should be wearing a mask but geez, what an obtuse passenger. Also can’t help but chuckle at BLM trying to defend this hill. Why undermine the whole movement by supporting this idiot?

  15. Captain should wear a mask and the woman should say it will be in my lap for the entire flight. Agree she is being a bit difficult, and the captain is probably pressing it too hard (since really, I doubt many people would care that much, or even notice it).

  16. After watching the entire video, I regret the last comment I posted. Pilot was calm and gave pax a lot of leeway.

    He didn’t even threaten to kick her off. Just that she had to give the FA her hat.

    Pilot in the right about the issue but he should have been wearing a mask.

  17. I don’t see an issue with this. Captain is PIC of the aircraft, and under FAA regulations he has final say when you have a customer that refuses to comply with crew instructions

  18. The captain is in the right the passenger is in the wrong. No matter how small of rule it is rules are rules. Do you trust someone in the air that can’t comply with rules on the ground ? Good for the captain. He doesn’t have his mask on because he shouldn’t be out of the cockpit at a crucial time of his job doing ore flight check to deal with an unruly passenger.

  19. Hey Lucky, you’re missing negative adjectives for the passenger in your headline. He was only rude because she was OBNOXIOUS from the get. Also likely violating the CoC by filming him, no? Your measured responses have escaped you.

  20. Whether the captain had a mask on is not relevant to this. It’s an entirely different discussion. The passenger had a hat on with objectionable language and gave the FAs a hard time. The captain was perfectly professional with this passenger who obviously mistook this for greyhound. I doubt greyhound lets such trash on, for that matter. Regardless, trash is trash and on a plane even trash has to follow the rules.

  21. It’s embarrassing that the pilot has to leave the cockpit during pre-departure preparations to handle a passenger not following FA’s instructions. They should have had her offloaded without any delay and without pilot’s intervention.

  22. The Captain should have worn a mask, but the request was reasonable and he showed remarkable restraint. The passenger showed poor judgment and was being argumentative. My family shouldn’t have to see vulgarity just because some idiot decides they want to be provocative. And please spare me the race card – it shouldn’t (and doesn’t) matter whether the person is white, black, or orange. Wearing clothing that broadcasts the F word for everyone around you is offensive.

    She was holding up the whole flight and interrupting the captain’s preflight routine. As a pilot, I’ll say that anything that interrupts your preflight routine introduces an added level of stress, and as such, decreases safety. Pilots aren’t trained to be psychotherapists or babysitters. Pilots shouldn’t be forced to deal with these sorts of issues – we’re there to fly the plane safely. If passengers don’t comply with crewmember instructions, they should be removed from the flight by ground personnel and/or law enforcement.

    Bravo for Delta for standing up for the greater good. Shame on BLM for condoning the passenger’s bad behavior. Civil rights leaders didn’t toil and suffer so that a few dreadful people could provoke and offend everyone around them for no reason – if that woman’s forbears had seen her choice of clothing and actions, they’d likely have spoken to her way more strongly than the captain.

  23. Oh nice, race baiting and mask shaming all in one post. I still can’t decide which is my favorite 2020 pastime so it’s great to have it together in one!

  24. Pilot was in the right… The hat has a curse word on it. All she had to do was say that she wouldn’t put it on for the rest of the flight. I’m not sure why people make things so difficult.

  25. Captain should’ve been wearing a mask. Apart from that I see no problem with how the Captain handled the situation.

  26. “Rude, Maskless Captain”…give us a break Lucky, he probably forgot it just like we all do after leaving the car and getting halfway across the parking lot to the store. Your title should have been “Rude, non-compliant, offensively clothed passenger”. I’m sorry added to your click count for this, but that’s beginning to seem like that’s your and the entire media industry’s primary objective these days.

  27. Describing a pilot exercising his duty and enforcing the rule as “berated and embarrassed a member of our community” …? Now I sort of know what kind of “community” it is.

  28. Captain handled it calmly and professionally, besides for lack of mask. However, the interaction could’ve been avoided if the passenger followed crew member instructions.

  29. Lucky, I have that same hat. It just says F*ck and to the left of that word is a picture of Trump.

  30. There is another possibility, the Captain was doing whatever he does preflight and was called out suddenly. He did’/t know if he was rushing to a violent incident, he just ran to the problem and yes, forgot his mask.
    Delta protects its crew fiercely and if this captain is let go on this bogus story sane people should stop flying or working for DL.

  31. Obviously no one in the group has read the “contract of carriage”. ALL…REPEAT ALL of the major airlines have this. It plainly states the rules about language, clothing, etc. Those rules are not arbitrary nor does it ever refer to race, color, creed, gender… ALL passengers will comply. The captain is NOT required to explain the rules. He/she is NOT the referee…ever. Like the captain of a ship at sea, the buck stops there. Since I work for a major airline and I am a flight instructor for that airline, I know what I am referring to. The passenger wasn’t singled out for anything but the hat. Now, what I hope will happen, she gets put on the “no fly list”…yes there IS a “no fly list”. Let her take on another carrier. They will do the exact same thing! End of my epistle.

  32. Delta never takes action against crew based on pax complaints anyway.
    I flew DL precovid with the wife.
    The flight was delayed for one hour just as we were boarding and then we had a tarmac hold for one hour. The cabin attendant was sitting in a way that blocked access to the lav due to DL’s version of Oasis. She would not move and it became a fat shaming issue. I let DL know what I thought of this behavior, still waiting for a response a year later.

  33. You are becoming a bigger snowflake by the day. Capitan is correct and he was not arrogant. You should stop being a snowflake. Passenger was a pain and should have been thrown out way before. BTW, did she wear the hat while boarding? If yes, gate agent should have not allowed her into the plane. If not, she did it on purpose just to test how far she could go.

  34. I can relate to both the passenger and the pilot. I drove my car by myself today and was not wearing a mask while inside the car. I can confirm that the “pilot”—and the occupant in my seat—were also a$$holes. What are the odds of such a coincidence in this great big universe?

  35. I don’t think the captain was rude, but what is Delta’s policy for the F word on hats or clothes? Maybe follow up your story with Delta’s policy.

  36. Lucky, not sure why you say we can only see F…at 2:12 we can clearly see the whole word. Even though I too curse alot, its still not an acceptable word in public especially at places where children can see it. As a parent, I would be pissed at the lady for wearing such a cap in public.

    To be honest, I too would have used similar language as the captain. I don’t think captain is at fault except for not wearing a mask

  37. The passenger should have complied far more quickly, and honestly, I’m surprised the Captain went as long as he did. I’m surprised anyone would go more than 30 seconds in a back and forth like this. He probably should have a discussion with his supervisor about how long it went on, but he wasn’t really in the wrong in here.

    That said, I do think he should get dinged for not wearing a mask in the cabin. Delta has been betting BIG on their health and safety campaign against the virus (which has worked on me – just this morning I got home from a leisure/weekend trip to MCO via Delta that I certainly would not have taken on American Deathtraplines), so being maskless isn’t a great look in this situation.

  38. Captain could’ve tried to de-escalate but in the end, the captain has the final say. The passenger is in the wrong for essentially starting a dare and expecting to get away with it by hiding behind the race card. Sorry, but no. This is not a race issue; it is about someone testing the waters and whining because they didn’t get their way. Passenger out!

  39. Another person/passenger thinking its ok to walk around with Minge, Boob, waaaay too much skin, or offensive words on display. She was in the wrong, but unfortunately the “culture” in the US promotes women debasing themselves….so.

    The captain is on a power trip, and is obviously a racist entitled Delta Airlines captain. He’s not alone here. As a carrier with its HQ in one of the top US black cities, he is toast…and rightly so.

    This woman needs to get a clue and dress properly, and this goes for the men who think its also ok to dress inappropriately or walk around with swear words on their clothing. Children see this, and we should ALL be setting a good example for the children around us.

  40. The passenger was rude and I dont want to be on a flight with that person. If Delta DID NOT boot her from the plane then I wouldn’t fly Delta. Not a matter of what the hat said, if the captain asks you to modestly modify your behavior to have a peaceful flight and you refuse, you lose the privilege of sharing the ride with others. Sorry but while captain could have handled it better, that is not the issue.

  41. The captain absolutely should have been wearing a mask. Other than that, he handled a combative passenger reasonably well and wasn’t rude.

  42. This has absolutely nothing to do with color, so I’m not sure I understand why BLM puts out such demands. Being an a$$hole is a choice, and not a matter of skin color. I would even go so far to say she’s cloutseeker, being unnecessarily provocative and plays now the victim

  43. Captain could have Covid-antibodies in which case wearing a mask is for show only. Only one person who had a compromised immune system in the US has been reinfected. Kick the non compliant pax off!

  44. The captain was not rude and her tone was not condescending. That’s true that the captain can make up the rules as s/he wishes in the plane, so it is appropriate to tell that “I am the captain, that’s where it is posted.” Not only that’s true, it is essential for the customer(s) to understand that s/he must follow the captain’s words just because they are captain’s words and not because of anything else. I applause the captain for doing this.
    The captain had one minor misbehaving, pointing his fingers, which he stopped doing it once the customer mentioned it, and he did not repeat it again.
    The most problematic part of captain’s behavior was that he was not wearing a mask. This puts passengers at risk, and is exactly the opposite of what a captain is expected to do: protecting people on board. I hope that Delta will discipline the captain.

  45. The captain could have handled it more gently but at the end of the day the passenger was in the wrong.

    Plus who wears a hat with the F word in public??

    The pilot should have asked her for the hat and given it back to her at deplaning if she wanted to stay on the flight.

  46. Arguing with someone who is about to fly you 30,000 feet above the air at hundreds of miles an hour probably isn’t a good idea… especially when it is because you feel entitled to wear what anyone would reasonably consider an offensive hat on private property (e.g. not yours) where others (e.g. the public, children, etc…) will be unwillingly forced to see it.

    Even with training, pilots are human. I wonder how long this was on his mind and he was flying the plane? Replaying it in his mind. I’d be distracted after a rude confrontation like that. She jeopardized the safety of the entire plane by needlessly being difficult.

    You say you are trying to piece together what happened… but your title certainly makes it look like you have come to a conclusion. Hopefully your influence in the aviation world doesn’t bias those at Delta in determining this Captain’s fate.

  47. I swear to God that a passenger could be pleasuring themselves in front of children and their response to being asked to stop would be “where is it written that I can’t **** off on the plane in front of others?”

  48. If you live anywhere else in the world and then fly with a US Airline you’ll soon discover that US Flight Attendants, Crew & Ground Staff have a propensity to be rude, arrogant and generally unhelpful compared to other Airlines from most Countries. Less so upfront, but at the back they never got over the concept that they run a bus service not and airline.

  49. The passenger seems to have the IQ of a 2 year old. My 3 year old daughter would know better to answer a simple yes or no question.

  50. The hat would clearly be offensive to some passengers. The captain was right and he was not rude. The pax was trying to play him but he caught on to her game and did not play it. Pax deserved to be offloaded. Ben, you are wrong on this one.

  51. Whether the Captain was rude or not, clearly she was looking to provoke the crew. I’m willing to bet she wasn’t wearing that hat nor displayed it in front of the gate agent or the other passengers in the gate area or on the jetway until she took her seat. And clearly she was intending on wearing the hat again after takeoff or she would have put it in her luggage instead of just holding on to it. Jeez, she wouldn’t even agree not to wear it after takeoff. Captains fault was for even dealing with it. I would of had no discussion and simply removed her.

  52. Pathetic, Delta. When your own staff abide by the far more significant rule about masks, then they *MIGHT* be in a position to cite ‘rules’ to others about appropriate signage on clothing.
    I think that particular ‘F’ word is in common usage ( it’s really hard to turn on a tv show without hearing it every 5 minutes), so the argument about protecting kiddies from it is a bit limp. It’s not like the old days, however fondly we like to recall them.

  53. What stupid ass person walks around wearing a hat with Fu&$ on it. The right there tells you the type of person you are dealing with. All they had to say was yes I will not put it on and this is non issue. Instead they need cause an issue.

  54. the passenger would not comply or cooperate. the captain has the final words. kick her to the curb. color has nothing to do with this.

    and…if it is not acceptable for me to punctuate my sentences with plenty of “fuck”s on a plane then same goes for her with her head billboard.

    how I wish we could get back to common sense and decency!

  55. The captain didn’t ask the passenger whether he was heard or not.

    The captain didn’t ask where the hat was at that moment.

    This passenger decided to be a smart ass and simply ignore directly answering the captain’s pointed question. She should have been ejected.

    And BLM can piss off…trying to make it a BLM issue is just pathetic.

  56. @albert, so true….unfortunately we now live like it’s Selma in 1962 with a fair dose of Salem in 1692.

  57. Lucky

    This is a joke. Clickbait at its best, but the title is so defamatory to the captain. He was 100% in the right he was clear and direct of his instructions and yes he spoke to the pax in an unfriendly way but she was speaking to him like garbage from the get go. Also as a parent this hat is 100% not acceptable imagine if my kid saw this.

    OMAAT just lost another daily reader.

  58. @Richard
    “Unless she’s naked or bearing [sic] breasts, behind or vagina, I’m not really interested. She can wear what she wants.

    It’s time for Americans in particular to grow up and stop being so puritan”

    It looks to me like there are value judgements embedded in your answer, but they are just different to those of the pax or the captain. How is it Puritan to ban swear words, but not Puritan to ban breasts? Is breast-feeding an infant something that should be banned as unacceptable?

    In public places (and, even though it’s private property, public (sic) transport— and much of it even before COVID operated with tax-payer support — is a shared, public space) it seems reasonable to expect all of us to make some adjustments so that our fellow humans can be comfortable. As kids, most of us are taught to behave in a way that is situationally appropriate: eg, there are “indoor voices” and “outdoor voices”. As an adult, there are clothes that I might choose to wear in the privacy of my own sex dungeon*, but they are probably not the “clothes” I (or anyone else) would consider appropriate for the streets.

    So it’s just a question of where to draw a line.

    I think a situation where lots of other people will be forced to sit in close proximity to me for several hours (and, worse, with no opportunity to get away from me) means I need to be a bit more considerate for others. But there are always some people who choose to push the limits for amusement, to show what a rebel they are, or for God knows what other reason.

    The only mystery to me is why the Captain didn’t hand it over to local law enforcement much sooner. They’re (allegedly) the experts in dealing with this sort of stuff, and they can sort it out on the ground while the rest of the pax can fly away. I thought his behaviour otherwise was within acceptable limits, and not wearing a mask in this situation might even be better — it enables the pax to read his facial expressions much more effectively while also being a bit more human. I’d give him the benefit of the doubt.

    *This is a hypothetical: I don’t actually have a sex dungeon. Honestly.

  59. I’m not sure why some are making this a race issue. The passenger was clearly playing games and should have just been tossed from the flight. I’m disappointed to see these Jerry Springer type of articles on this blog. It does nothing to expand my travel knowledge and I have seen other travel blogs overrun by nonsense stories like these. Please don’t go that route just to get clicks.

  60. “Personally a hat with the “F” word doesn’t offend me,” The hat actually says F— 12. Maybe that doesn’t offend you but it does offend some people and its certainly not appropriate on a plane.

  61. World gone mad….. offended by the tiniest things.
    What about the brand FCUK
    Really don’t understand the issue here.

  62. Captain was stubborn as a mule! I hope I did not offend the mule.
    Captain could use some classes in communicating with people, you cannot act like a parent to people in this day & age.

  63. I don’t see why the twitter thing put this as a race thing. Seems like every day airlines vs passengers behaving badly.

  64. Captain with another company here. The captain was well within his right as a captain has the final say as to what will happen on a plane under their control. However, and not to sound like a Monday morning quarterback, anytime a situation escalates in the cabin, call a customer service manager. I’m trained to fly and manage the airplane. Agents and cabin crew are trained on deescalation techniques, not me. The days of scenes from the movie “Airport” where the captain goes into the cabin to “save the day” are long gone. Cell phone cameras are not new, and I act as if someone is watching me at all times. I learned to accept this new way of life, and, if anything, it helps to keep me more accountable in ensuring that correct procedures are followed. I’ll fly the airplane and for situations that fall outside of this realm I’ll be sure to call/delegate the task to the appropriate individual.

    Second, we are not exempt from wearing a mask anywhere we interact with other customers/staff, including the aircraft cabin. If I am not wearing my mask in front of our staff/passengers, how can I ask them to wear theirs?

    No one is perfect, except for me (joking), so hopefully this will be treated as a learning experience for all.

  65. Race is entirely irrelevant but sadly this is the world we live in. The captain on the other hand didn’t wear a mask and the passenger didn’t wear the hat. Many Americans go apoplectic at the sight of an ankle

  66. Captain is right and the woman is a complete moron. I wouldn’t feel safe flying at 30k feet with her in the cabin either. Kick this dumbass off immediately.

  67. He acted like a Captain should! He was firm and demanding and wasn’t going to play the passenger’s games.

    The hat is disgusting and inappropriate. I’m an adult, I can just shake my head, but I travel frequently with young kids who are impressionable and don’t need to see/read garbage like that.

    Good for him and Delta.

  68. Oooh… the anti maskers are back!!!

    The Captain is representing Delta poorly… he should wear a mask. No mask is unacceptable while interacting with customers. People like him is helping to fuel the Covid increase. Even if he forgot to wear one, the plane is going nowhere without him flying it!!!

  69. The captain was beyond reasonable with this woman. She said he was playing games? Uh, no, ma’am…that’s all you. You knew what he was asking you to say, and you flatly refused.

    Even as he was walking away, you could tell he *wanted* her to simply assure him that the hat wouldn’t go back on the second they were in the air. He didn’t want to kick her off the flight. That’s a headache for everyone. She knew exactly what she was doing.

    As for people saying this is white privilege… you are hopelessly lost. Save your fervor for situations where people are treated unfairly due to the color of their skin. To play the proverbial race card when it obviously doesn’t apply is incredibly damaging to the BLM cause.

  70. The only thing I want out of my pilots is to fly the plane safely and communicate about delays (the latter seemingly something some pilots at AA don’t do well). Other than that I could care less. They can wear a gas mask for all I care although I would imagine it would make communicating on the radio quite hard to do.

  71. Regarding the mask: this is simple, irrefutable proof that masks have been nothing more than a pointless and token gesture since Day 1. Even companies that demand their usage know they are only for show. It is unconscionable that Delta has the audacity to ban passengers for failing to properly wear these badges of stupidity.

    Regarding the passenger: gutter trash, particular given the need to seek out BLM advocacy and cry racism where none exists. An absolute affront to blacks of integrity everywhere.

  72. I watched the entire video and would make the following comments.

    1. The captain was calm and never rude. He should be reprimanded for not wearing a mask and given some unpaid leave as a punishment.

    2. The passenger refused to say she would not leave the mask off the entire flight, despite being asked the question about 20 times. It was simple to say she would leave it off the entire flight – she was the one trying to cause the confrontation. Either she should have said “YES” or removed from the flight as she was breaking her contract with the airline.

    3. It is wrong to bring BLM into this. The rules apply to everyone. Anyone who raises race is just trying to exaggerate the situation. Neith the Captain or the passenger mentioned anything about race.

  73. Passenger is a moron. Captain is completely correct and doesn’t have time for that crap. She should have been ejected after the 2nd or 3rd time she intentionally refused to answer his question.

    Captain should have been wearing a mask, yes, but had most likely already taken it off in the flight deck (where it’s perfectly normal for them to do so) and forgot to put it back on when an FA asked him to come out to deal with the unruly pax.

    Delta should put the idiotic BLM organization that posted that tweet on blast. They should call them out directly for that crap. Blaming anyone but the pax for this is 100% idiotic and it has nothing whatsoever to do with race. This kind of crap is exactly why the BLM movement at large often gets a bad name. Idiotic stuff like this distracts from real issues of racism and violations of civil rights (like the rightful protests over the murder of George Floyd or Breonna Taylor) and also makes them less likely to be believed.

    If I did what this passenger did – especially with the attitude and refusal to directly answer the Captain – I would fully expect to be removed from the aircraft and probably banned from the airline. And rightfully so. Both the airline and the other passengers have better things to do than deal with morons who are intentionally trying to cause a disruption.

  74. It’s people on power trips. The FA asked them to remove it and didn’t comply (which the airline has a right to ask). So, the captain asked them to remove it and they still didn’t comply. At that point, walk away, alert superiors that a passenger won’t comply and let the next higher up person take charge of the issue. People make stuff so much harder than it needs to be.

  75. Appreciate the Captain for performing his job and the fortitude enforce his responsibility.

    Where does the race thing come in? Are we first looking at the color of one’s skin before we look at the content of character?

  76. The pax probably complains she has no money! Why would anyone waste money on such a stupid purchase?
    I think the pax was angling to get “compensated” for her supposed ill treatment by the FA and Captain. She would settle for $100,000. Now that she’s on the no fly list…..she can take the Greyhound bus on her next trip.

  77. U.S. FAA FAR 121.533(e) gives broad and complete final authority to airline captains: “Each pilot in command has full control and authority in the operation of the aircraft, without limitation, over other crewmembers and their duties during flight time, whether or not he holds valid certificates authorizing him to perform the duties of those crewmembers.”


  78. I would not have wasted my time going to talk to that fool. Not listening to the flight attendants? You’re off the flight. Take your hat with you.

  79. Passenger was leading with their chin, pushing the captain, wrong.

    Captain comes across as an arrogant a_ _. No way that customer or any customer is treated with that lack of respect.

    No mask!! Close to being fired on this one. Be willing to bet this isn’t the first incident like this for Captain Arrogant.

    I hope Delta’s Team Leadership has a long talk with this guy so this does not happen again. And I hope the passenger learns to chill.

  80. Captain without a mask is a non issue.

    He is the captain of the ship even if it is a plane. He said the contract and he both say the hat goes. The hat or the passenger should be gone. Does not matter if they are white, black, brown, green, blue or candy striped, plaid, or transparent, they rule applies to anyone who violates it.

    Take of the damn hat. Put it away. No one wants your Fuck whomever hat.

  81. Lucky – you totally missed the ball with this one.

    BLM – gimme a break. Nothing racial at all in this. Captain was very very nice. I wouldn’t have been so calm.

    Why is everyone so “entitled” these days? Just covid stress?

  82. This is ridiculous. That woman should have been removed from the flight after she denied the first request. She was playing games for the sake of feeling righteous and entitled. The pilot showed restraint.

  83. The Captain should not be bothered by this type of B.S. He is command of the aircraft and everyone aboard. I don’t think he overstepped his bounds at all. It doesn’t matter if you are offended or not, the rules of carriage say you cannot wear something that may be offensive. I agree with a previous comment by the woman who said it would be offensive to her children. He asked her to simply give him her word that she would comply, and she refused. She deserved to be booted. If you wanna pitch a fit you do it on the ground inside an airport but an aircraft in flight is no place for this type of behavior.

  84. Has anyone else realized that the passenger was arrogant to start with asking him where it is posted. Sure, he is arrogant, but he is equally not wrong that she could put it on during the flight and he asked her simply to agree not to wear it and she did not do that directly. I’m not defending the captain, but part of his arrogance is as a result of hers. And we don’t know what lead up to this. Consider the flight attendant already spoke with her.

  85. Ben, been an almost daily reader for a few years now, but you are lately turning into too much of a snowflake. Your articles are too much clickbait lately too. Will rather go and read proper articles on more professional blogs.
    BTW, captain was 100% in his rights.

  86. That is pretty much all about being black.
    I am white and American, have travelled to various countries and there are times in some countries whether it be for US political reasons or some other, have been treated with prejudice.

    All she had to say was ok I won’t wear it on the flight. But if the Delta pilot acted as if he were addressing a white American, he created the anger, he denigrated her (because they are prejudice against other countries people, say if she was South American, Korean or Russian) things would have gone more smoothly.

    I say he needs a class where they sent Alec Baldwin. It could have all gone better by him.

  87. The captain was only there because the passenger failed to comply with the instruction of the flight attendants. So, she started out with the captain with two strikes against her already, and deservedly so. Her non-compliance with the flight attendants’ instruction caused the captain to divert from his duties to address an issue caused by a passenger acting like a two-year-old. At 34,000 feet in a pressurized aluminum tube, likely with no law enforcement available, airlines take safety very seriously, as they should. And such safety includes the behavior of passengers who show an unwillingness to abide by flight attendants’ instruction. Boot her off the plane. If that doesn’t correct her behavior, let her lawyer up.

  88. The Pilot was right in his stance bud erred by not wearing a mask. I understand in the cockpit a mask can be restrictive but in the passenger cabins, he should have donned a mask.
    Airline Captains have awesome responsibilities. He is an excellent Captain for one of the best airlines in the world. He was doing his job well, albeit sans a mask.
    He should have made short work of this belligerent passenger and removed he/she/it from the flight.
    End of story. No racial thing here! Had the passenger been green, black or red, white& blue, same ending—off the flight.

  89. It’s time for people to grow up of all colors. If it was a restaurant and the person was asked to take off the cap or leave, they can have the person removed, the restaurant makes the rules. The captain is the boss of his airplane and the person was given many opportunities to remove the cap but instead turned into a smart ass and did not comply. Off she should go, end of the story.

  90. OMG I swore off your ridiculous website a year ago due to articles JUST like this. It’s apparent that you’re still up to your old tricks of writing stupid-ass articles just to get clicks. Unfortunately this was picked up by another site I do follow. Note to self, read the source before I blindly click and wind up on your travel site turned sociology 101 discussion group.

  91. This was a setup by the passenger. She knew and was apparently prepared with a plan to be disruptive and document the exchange if she was challenged about the hat. In legal terms, this would be Entrapment. The passenger is the one who brings race into the event, because she wants to create a scene and blame actions against her on White privilege. Open your eyes, this straight out of the BLM play book.

    As for the captain, it would have been better had he been wearing a mask, but put yourself in his shoes. His priority and that of the flight crew is to fly the passengers safely to their destination. Sounds like the FA engaged the captain when the woman refused to comply with a crew member directive. He is already perturbed that this woman is needlessly delaying the flight. People are mistaking his firm handling of the situation with arrogance. As the captain, he is in command of the aircraft and will therefore exercise his position of authority when needed, as it was here.

  92. It’s the Captain’s plane. Period. The hat is offensive and inappropriate. Period. Wearing a hat like that is just classless and sets a very poor example. If I was the Captain – as soon as she disrespected the attendants, his staff – I wouldn’t have given the woman any options. I would have had her removed from the plane. Done.

  93. Asshole passenger just trying to create a confrontation so she can make a claim. Same attitude as people who don’t wish to comply with police requests.

  94. The ” F’ word is so commonly used these days by most of the people in all sort of situations to let off their frustration. And I just hate it. Never used it. Many, many years back such words were rarely used. people knew how to deal with a situation patiently. Now it’s like ” my life, my wish, my freedom. I can do,say,wear anything”. If people find such words written somewhere they find it offensive, but then speaking/cursing that word is okay ???? Also, the companies who are making such derogatory products should be banned. How and why such products are coming in market?
    And yes, the captain should have worn mask.

  95. One of the posters said he called out an airline employee for “not wearing a mask” after eating. He gave the employee 15 minutes which is what HE thought was an adequate amount of time. First, this issue of mask wearing has become so political. I know that there are medical people who say that wearing a mask is a great thing. There are other medical professionals that say wearing a mask is not necessary. It is strictly an OPINION right now. There are NO STUDIES that prove mask wearing will protect others. (I have asked for links to any studies that one may have with no response) What we have is medical people on ONE side, primarily, saying that wearing a mask is a cure all and other medical professionals saying the exact opposite. What is TRULY correct? I believe the jury is still out. Gang lunacy will never rule the day for thoughtful people. Personally, I wear a mask in businesses where they ASK and/or request one. I do not wear one outside. Rude people demanding that people wear masks does not work especially where one has no authority to DEMAND that others follow their conscience. All of this being said about mask wearing I believe that the FA should have KINDLY asked for the passengers cooperation and if she was not willing to cooperate the FA should have summoned the Police her/himself. They could have asked for her cooperation and if she did not cooperate they could have said “either you must cooperate or leave the aircraft”.

  96. I personally feel the author was predisposed against the pilot with the title of this article. This obviously was done to motivate the reader to read further. A more appropriate title would be “Pilot Confronts Obstinate Passenger About Profane Hat”.

  97. What has her race got to do with it? She’s just another arrogant, rude, entitled person who can’t handle it when she’s called out. She actually believes wearing a hat with the F word on it in public is acceptable? Wish the captain had her kicked off the plane.

  98. The captain definitely should have been wearing a mask. But as far as the passenger is concerned, this is not acceptable. She should have been kicked off. It is nothing to do with race and all to do with the way she behaved. People who are acting like that, giving repeated partial and not complete answers – what a waste of time.

  99. If you feel like there are two people in-the-wrong here, it’s not like they cancel each other out. They are separate issues.

    First, the unmasked captain… I don’t see this as a problem here. National guidelines recommend wearing a mask when social distancing greater than 6 feet for more than 10 minutes cannot be maintained. I don’t know how much more stringent Delta’s policy is, but perhaps respectfully the captain could have worn a mask, as the passengers were and are expected to while in the cabin area. If the captain was in-the-wrong then I’m sure it’ll be noticed and handled at the appropriate level. But don’t let that distract from the other issue trying to be managed here.

    As for the Passenger… I can’t believe she has the audacity to tell the captain he is playing games while actually recording incriminating video herself playing a cat and mouse game with the captain.

    “Do you understand?” That is a yes or no question. Give the captain a straight answer and don’t play games.

    “Do you agree not to wear the hat or post it (e.g., make it visible to other passengers) for the entire flight? Do we have an agreement” Also questions where the only appropriate answer is either yes or no. Give the captain a straight answer and don’t play games.

    Sure, at some point the passenger did remove the hat, but What is so difficult about simply giving a straight, appropriate answer and comply at the risk of being escorted off the plane?

    As for the finger-pointing captain… how can anyone possibly extract from that action that it was any more or less as impolite or offensive than the passenger or the vulgar hat? Again, this is an attempt to distract from the issue. The passenger is trying to make the captain out to be over-acting by bringing to attention that his finger pointed at her. We’re going to hang a captain for not wearing a mask, pointing at the passenger, and having a stern voice with a woman that was non-compliant? When the flight attendant points a finger directly at a passenger and asks for a verbal confirmation if they are able and willing to comply with the responsibilities inherent of a passenger sitting in an exit row… is it appropriate at this point to respond to the flight attendant “I heard you, don’t point at me.”

    They both said and did dumb stuff, but deal with them as separate issues. Don’t try to make one problem appear like a non-issue based on the actions or words of the other. In the end, the captain has no right to have the passenger escorted off the plane because at some point, though she wasn’t ever straight with any of her responses, she did take off the hat.

    In my opinion, the real problem is how long it took to handle the issue. The issue should have been handled one way or the other so quickly that the passenger would have only had a video of the moments she was being escorted off, or she wouldn’t have had any video at all because she simply complied from the get-go and the issue wasn’t needlessly dragged out by some stupid back-and-forth dialogue. It seems obvious that the passenger lives her life by pushing the extents of common sense and decency and the ten kids that the captain raised got their way a lot.

  100. The comments really are priceless. So many triggered by the mortal threat of the F word, but couldn’t care less about the captain not wearing a mask in public in the middle or a resurgent pandemic. Who honestly finds the word ‘fuck’ offensive these days? Guessing if the hat read ‘fuck antifa’ or ‘fuck blm’ the bulk of these hillbilly gate lice ‘but i’m silver medallion!!!!’ flyers wouldn’t be nearly so outraged.

  101. Captain 100% correct.
    She have been taken off.
    He should have had mask on.
    Been on United, American and Delta has been the cleanest and safest this pandemic season.
    Should be ashamed wearing a hat like that to begin with.

  102. This is not a racist incident. The captain was doing his job and forgot the mask. How was he to know she was going to be so uncooperative? If this was a health risk she is to blame.

  103. Most people don’t understand that there is a contract of carriage you agree to when you buy the tickets, and if they do they don’t read it.

  104. It doesn’t matter if the writer is not offended by the F-hat. The airlines has rules and she broke them. When confronted she was belligerent. No apology needed from the captain or crew.

  105. When I read these comments I wondered if the commenters have ever actually flown in the US recently, or know how flying works these days? Whether or not her hat broke some rule that Delta has, or whether the FA was just on a power trip, or whether the FA and Captain are racist pieces of s**t who decided to waste their time and everyone else’s by picking on that woman that day, IT DOESN’T MATTER. The FA said bye bye hat, the Captain said bye bye hat, so BYE BYE HAT. The message delivery may have sucked but the passenger was wrong. I support BLM 1000% but this was BLM DC and they really need to learn how to pick their battles.

  106. The title of the article says it all about your opinion. The pilot was right and the passenger should have been removed from the plane. Race has nothing to do with it other than the fact of wearing the hat in the first place. Put her off the plane quickly and get on your way.


  107. This obviously shows why there will always be race division in this country (and every other). This BLM take on a non-racist issue is the ongoing problem. Stoking the fires of racists on both sides.

  108. Nicely said @Alan. If Delta fires this pilot or even disciplines him, I will reconsider my Diamond status. I agree with the earlier post about the title. I thought the pilot was very polite actually.

  109. Perceived disrespect is disrespect. In other words, if a person feels disrespected, they were disrespected, even if no disrespect was intended. That may not seem to make sense, but it’s reality, in my opinion. Almost everyone could be better at how we deliver and receive messages.

    This went off the rails very early, and once it does, there’s no right or wrong anymore. Once it’s a respect battle, it’s about not backing down, not the issue. I think you would have to say it started with the hat. But Captain Reilly wasn’t very good at flying the conversation. There’s a more complete version of the video, in which it appears he took off in the worst possible direction. But it’s not clear if that video shows the entirety of the confrontation, either.

  110. Captain was VERY polite. The passenger has refused to comply with the captain’s request. She was belligerent troublemaker. It was the captain’s decision. He should have removed her. Period.

  111. The person wearing the hat was in the wrong and was looking for confrontation & got it . She was real lucky that the Captain was reasonable and gave her a choice, as I would have had her removed ( without any discussion or small talk) from the aircraft & arrested for obscenity in a public place. Anyone who defends her actions is equally stupid and naive.

  112. Airlines have a lot of power and do what they want to passengers. The pilots and the FA’s have been given god like powers to do or say what they want to and don’t question them. I have flow over 1.5 million miles and have seen it all.


  113. A lot of the comments were obviously made by folks who do not have young children. If I boarded this flight with my grandchildren (ages 5-17), I would not have wanted to encounter the “advertisement” this passenger’s hat provided.

  114. The passenger should have been removed when she refused to comply with the instructions given by an FA. Involving additional members of the flight crew only served to present her with further opportunities to record her antics. Meanwhile the flight cannot leave the gate until this nonsense is resolved. The policy should be ‘one and you’re done’.

  115. If there’s any “privilege” in the exchange, it’s on the passenger’s side, who, even in the face of being asked and refusing, and then being told and being condescending in her own way with non-committal answers to specific questions – had the captain acquiesced, then it would have been “black privilege”……. she knew it would be offensive and create a reaction, then either she or someone would throw the race flag and it’d be game on. She should have been shown the exit………

  116. Captain wasn’t rude. But he should have been trained more completely in how to deal with brain-dead pax. He should have known that someone obnoxious enough to wear a hat with the F-word needs to be told “Put the hat away or get off the plane”. Nothing else. No questions, no further conversation. Count to 3, call airport police, get her off the plane. You can’t apply adult reasoning with a dope like her. She was obviously ready for him. Flaunting authority is very fashionable these days, and I’m sure she’s having a ball knowing that this video and story are all over the internet. And the Captain will be disciplined.

  117. Rude? I think not. The captain of an aircraft, is the “captain of the ship.” He/she is judge and jury. Right, wrong or indifferent, what they say/demand is to be followed. They haven’t time for games. Passengers seem to always respond with challenges or, “I know my rights.” Well, f—k that stance. If you can’t obey, you should be removed. Fairly simple.

  118. The passenger was clearly playing word games, not answering his request but reiterating her same reply over & over as though that would make things better, like a rebellious teenager. She was being uncooperative period. If the Captain asked her to promise she wouldn’t put the hat back on once in flight she should have answered him accordingly, yes or no. It’s clear to me that she is taunting the Captain wanting to create confrontation with him, filming it at the same time so that she could post it if she finally could get a rise out of him and make him look bad. She should’ve been escorted off the plane after repeating her same non answer 3 times IMHO. If I was on that plane I would have been uncomfortable flying with that passenger. It is not about BLM, it’s about ALL LIVES MATTER. Yes, the Captain could’ve worn a mask, but that’s besides the point of what is happening in this video with that passenger.

  119. I hope those of you who responded in defense of the Captain like I did will respond to the tweet in a way that cannot lead to you being accused of being racist.

  120. Black, White or Indifferent, the woman wearing the F’n hat deserves to be banned from flying forever for inciting the situation by wearing that hat….. Some people, such as this woman, seem to think the god-given right to do and wear whatever they want, because of a sense of entitlement…. Well guess what you pompous dumbass, you are not entitled to anything you haven’t earned and you did not earn the right to wear that hat by being smart!!! Dumbass is right!!!

    Oh, and by the way people, ALL Lives Matter, not just Black Ones!!

  121. Ben, your choice of title for this piece is biased and not worthy of what I’ve come to generally like about your site.

    The Captain had to be called from the cockpit, in the middle of preparing for a flight, to deal with a belligerent, defiant passenger so maybe he forgot his mask.

    The Captain should have just told her point blank: put away the hat for the rest of the flight or get off.

    But he was not rude and conducted himself way more patiently than I would have.

  122. MAGA hats and BLM shirts offend me…is the airline going to force those wearing them to remove it? If the answers is not, the hat this lady was wearing is fine.

    BLM and MAGA apparel is offensive to me and no one is removing folks from the plane for wearing it.

    The Captain and the passenger were jerks and they should have both removed themselves.

  123. For some reason, my comment didn’t make it on earlier, but they were along the lines of 2808 Heavy. Some people might find a shirt with a marijuana leaf on it offensive. As a Seahawks fan (and always a Saints fan in my blood), I find Niners hats completely doubly offensive. I only partially jest, because I was told when visiting Scotland a few years back that Celtics and Rangers fans in the U.K. can be stabbed for wearing the wrong team logo. So someone really may find even a logo violently offensive. So each random crew gets to decide that threshold? I say crew, because it was a crew member who alerted the captain who must have agreed. Another captain may have said, “Nice hat.” Who knows since the COC is whatever each separate captain says it is.

    It’s nice to know that due to the vagaries of whatever possibly prudish “Clothes Police” crew you get, they decide what’s offensive. I thought in America even hate speech was protected. Yet I find out here, that the COC trumps the US Constitution and we have as many interpretations of what’s offensive as there are pilots in the Delta family.

    Crews should trying flying the plane and keeping things safe. Let parents explain to their children that the lady, who is free in America to wear even what they consider an offensive hat, is tasteless.

  124. I am a furloughed fa, and after reading some of the comments, I believe that the fa was in the wrong. He or she felt like power tripping over something stupidly petty. The captain over reacted, he should have called a Pax service supervisor, and let them handle the situations.
    I feel like the captain lower himself by interfering in this foolishness.

  125. Hmm, today many people want to take offense and be a victim yet feel like they can step over their bounds.

    Having traveled for more than a decade, I have seen the decline in the decency of passengers; who thinks it cute to fly in pajamas, slippers, rollers, and everything else the lack of values and home schooling gives you. It is probably what happens when you cheapen the seats so that planes are so full and emotions run high and you run into rude, obnoxious people.

    The furloughed FA doesn’t sound like anyone who has a handle on their job; another passenger probably asked for the person’s hat to be taken off, especially if they were flying with children or the elderly. I have done so when I know those folks are afraid to confront a situation as this.

    While I don’t think the captain was in the wrong, I think he should have allowed someone else to take out the trash. This person appears to have done this on purpose and these type of people make traveling a bear. I try not to travel, just to avoid stupid anymore. This world is just coming down to that.

    Typical racists; if you see racism here, it is because you are seeking it. The passenger was an idiot.

  126. Oh get out of here with the notion of being offended by the F-word. I say a lot worse out loud on a plane on regular basis. Want to hear the F-bomb dropped 36 times in a minute? Catch me at DFW and having to deal with American lying over the PA about why our flight is delayed yet again…or why we’re stuck waiting at the gate because the dang First Officer didn’t get out of the hotel bed on time.

    This shirt didn’t say any more than anyone will hear on the latest episode of American Dad, Family Guy, or South Park.

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