Another case of flying while Black.
On April 22, Jeanne Lehman was flying on Air Canada from Halifax to Edmonton, Canada. According to ThisIsInsider.com, she was diagnosed with shingles a few days before her flight, “but doctors in Halifax had given her medication and told her that she was not contagious. Lehman said that she attempted to tell the flight crew that she was not contagious, but she was removed from the plane regardless.”
Once she boarded, she asked for a window seat because she felt self-conscious about her appearance. She was given the window seat, but a flight attendant allegedly returned wearing a mask and gloves. She was told to collect her belongings and exit the plane. Lehman said, “No one talked to me. No one listened to me. She said to me, ‘You’re contagious.’ She was practically screaming it in front of everyone.’ I told her, ‘But I am not contagious! And even if I was, this is not the way to say it. Please don’t say this in front of everyone.'”
The pilot said the flight would no longer be departing “because a contagious woman had been on the plane. Then the crew removed all of the passengers from the plane, provided them with overnight accommodation, and told them that they would fly out the next day.” The airline forced her to go back to the hospital, she was diagnosed with shingles (again) and got clearance to fly the next day. However, the next day she was told she couldn’t fly again. However, she presented the doctor’s note from her second visit and was finally allowed to fly.
Leehman said, “The flight attendant wouldn’t have done this to a white woman,. She wouldn’t have said it so loudly in front of everyone. There is something about a woman like me that makes them think they can say that without consequence. I feel sure that this is a case of systemic racism.” Other passenger even agreed, one woman told CBC News, “It was bizarre. I started to feel angry that she had been treated this way.”
Lehman said Air Canada did not apologize, but they released the following statement, “For privacy reasons we cannot provide details about individual customers, but we can confirm that once the passenger received medical clearance she was able to travel. Our priority is always the health and safety of our customers and employees, so we acted out of an abundance of caution. Regrettably, the situation resulted in inconvenience for some customers and we will be dealing with them directly.”
Lehman said, “I have this trauma now. I cannot even sleep. I still have flashbacks.”
Sounds like this could be a lawsuit in the making, especially if she was already cleared to fly the day before.