A Delta Air Lines employee is under fire after she was caught on video calling police on an African American woman who asked to speak to a manager about damaged luggage.
The traveler, who only wanted to give her name as Arlene, said the customer service representative’s call to police was “racially motivated” and left her feeling “insulted.”
“I think when people feel, ‘OK, I’ll just call the police, the police can deal with you,’ you wouldn’t do that if I was white. I truly believe that in my heart,” Arlene told The New York Post on Thursday.
In a video that has now gone viral, the woman can be heard asking the Delta Air Lines representative, who is now often referred to as BaggageClaim Becky on social media, for the name and phone number of the manager on duty so that she could give him/her a followup phone call about the service she received. The Delta customer service rep can be heard repeatedly telling her “no,” and that it was policy that they could not give out the name of another employee, even a manager.
As the woman continues to refuse to give Arlene the name or number of the manager on duty, Arlene asks her to call him back, to which the airline employee once again refuses to do. The employee eventually notices that Arlene is recording her.
“Are you recording me? Because you’re not supposed to be recording me,” the agent tells Arlene in the video. She then picks up the phone and calls police.
“I have a lady who’s in my face who’s recording me and won’t leave the office,” she tells the person on the line.
The Boston resident said she arrived at Boston Logan International Airport late on Aug. 24 and noticed her bag was damaged on the front and had its buckled ripped off, according to the New York Post.
When she walked into the Delta office to file a complaint, the situation escalated quickly, ending with the Delta employee calling airport police. Arlene left before police arrived, stating that, as a black woman, she was worried about her safety.
“For me, as a black woman, I felt like my life was in danger,” she said in explaining why she took off. “You cannot call police just because you want to. I’ve seen it end badly for so many people. I’m insulted.”
The airline defended the actions of the employee however, stating that Arlene used “foul language and berated employees during the roughly 45 minutes to an hour that she was in the office,” according to the New York Post. They also implored Arlene to take down the video from Twitter, to which she refused.
Despite the airline claiming Arlene was in the wrong, Delta still reached out to the Boston woman to offer her an apology and a $300 travel voucher, which she declined, the New York Post reports.
“You’re out of your mind if you think I’m going to travel with you again,” she told the airline.
A spokesperson for Delta told the New York Post that they were still investigating the incident to better learn what transpired. “We take situations like these seriously and we are working directly with this customer to use this as an opportunity to learn from her experience and improve on future customer interactions,” he said in a statement.