Delta Employee To Passenger: “You Can Take My F*cking Picture, You A**hole!”

This is sort of crazy. Video footage has emerged of an incident that occurred at Portland Airport on Sunday, February 11. Per kgw.com, the incident took place between a 37 year old scientist with a PhD in electrical engineering, Ruhul Amin, and two Delta gate agents.

In the below video you’ll see that the Delta representative says to him “you can take my f*cking picture if you want to, a**hole.” Clearly the Delta representative feels provoked, as the passenger is filming the two Delta employees without their consent. However, I think nothing justifies talking to someone that way, especially when you’re at work.

According to the passenger, his Delta flight from Honolulu to Portland was delayed twice, and he was eventually rebooked on Hawaiian. However, his checked luggage was apparently still transported by Delta (and that’s what his claim tag said), yet the Delta employees in Portland told him he had to talk to Hawaiian. He started recording once he was treated poorly.

Here’s a short clip of the way the Delta employee spoke to him:

Delta has suspended the employee in question, and issued the following the statement:

“The actions displayed by this employee do not in any way reflect the standard of customer service and professionalism we expect from our employees,” Delta Airlines said in a statement. “This conduct is unacceptable and we have reached out directly to the customer and apologized.”

Delta called the passenger on Monday to apologize and offer a $200 voucher. They also found his bag and dropped it off at his hotel.

In addition to the above short clip, the passenger uploaded a few other videos to Facebook:

Of course we don’t know what transpired to cause things to get to this point. I don’t think the passenger was in the right for recording employees the way he did, though I think nothing justifies how the Delta employees acted. At some point the Delta employee should have just stopped engaging with the guy rather than talking as rudely as he did. It’s also quite sad how post-9/11 the first reaction when there’s any sort of confrontation is to call the cops.

What do you make of this situation?

Comments

  1. Why do these incidents always paint the airline as the bad guy, when it’s pretty obvious the passengers are not so innocent themselves?

    I believe the guy was probably an asshole, even though airlines cannot (and should not) call him one.

  2. No one can defend Delta on this one. I do not care what transpired first. the guy went through having his flight cancelled, then back lost… lots of people are a-holes at that point and employees should be trained to empathize no matter what. I spent 7 years in wireless, people used to yell and curse at me when their service was turned off for their bill being 6 weeks late, we were trained how to calm people down and not stoop to at or below their level . Airlines are the worst companies on the planet, and will continue to be.

  3. Literally sums up everything that’s wrong with the culture of domestic air travel in the US in one clip. The employees are dismissive and outright rude to the customer just for asking for help and clarification. While we don’t know the full background here, it’s also worth noting that the older employee who later cursed at him asked his colleague to call the police early on in one of the longer clips – essentially as a default response to an unhappy customer.

    Generally I agree that filming people without their consent is a no-no and people have taken the whole “record customer service employees” trend too far, but the shocking attitude of these Delta reps makes me sympathise with this guy, even if it escalated the situation.

    200 bucks is not enough for being cursed at and having the police called on you, just for trying to get your lost bag.

  4. @keitherson, just curious: what did you see in the videos that led you to believe that the passenger, who suffered through a twice-delayed flight followed by a lost bag, was an asshole?

  5. It’s a good thing he did record them “without their consent.” He’s in a public place. He doesn’t actually need their consent. And do you think Delta would admit their employee acted this way if it wasn’t on film? Hell no. There is no “oh maybe he was a jerk too.” So what? If he was abusive they had a remedy to call security. If he was merely upset they refused to help him get his luggage, in what sounds like a very frustrating situation, and said so, they had no remedy to call security and were stuck talking to him. This was how they decided to do it.

  6. I know most airport and airline employees don’t have easy jobs but in the US, throughout the airline industry, there does seem to be a sense of being “entitled to be rude” at every level, including TSA (of course) but also many airline ground staff. It’s this that makes flying in the US such a more unpleasant experience than most other parts of the world.

  7. “I don’t think the passenger was in the right for recording employees the way he did…”

    Would someone else witnessing the exchange have been in the right for recording it, as in the many recordings of police brutality that surfaced, and finally shined the spotlight on it? What’s the difference?…

  8. Delta has racist employees. Its a southern airline. What do you expect? There are more racist whites in this country than we see. Always have been. All walking around with a thin veneer of civilized air but racism comes out in moments of stress.

    Its good this country is rich or we would have nazis running in this country in no time doing exactly what the nazis did.

  9. The employee looks like hes pretty close to retirement age anyway. Just as well because he will never work in the aviation industry again.

  10. Benny – He totally had right to record what was happening. You crazy. Airline employees constantly Mistreating passengers. Good to have video and that they get suspended and or fired for being a..holes.

  11. @Debit. Really? Really? Unbelievable. Nothing about this video was racist you’ve made such a snap judgment because the guy filming had an accent and the guy with the attitude is white. You’re a racist. And Delta is a racist airline because it’s a “southern” airline? Stereotype much? Pathetic.

  12. @Df I agree with you. Delta is not like the way Debit portrayed them to be and he is jumping the gun. I completely agree with you about Debit’s racist, prejudice and self-entitled attitude.

  13. One can choose to fly with an airline or one can choose to fly with Delta.

    But hey – it’s all Emirates/Qatar/Turkish/Etihad’s fault! If only they didn’t exist!

  14. Picking an airline for domestic travel within the US is like deciding which STD is the best to obtain – go ahead and pick one but ultimately you are ****ed.

  15. @Stanley sez: “I completely agree with you about Debit’s racist, prejudice and self-entitled attitude.”

    I could not have said it better; it’s way over the top as usual, but I doubt that @Debit is likely to lose sleep over it, as s/he is incapable of introspection…

    G’day!

  16. CS –

    I only partly agree – For guys like me from small towns, I still need my crappy domestic carrier to get me to a major airport!

  17. Presumably the guy was filming as a consequence of the poor treatment. As much as I hate the proliferation of mobile ‘phones and the bad behaviour associated with their use, I suppose they can be useful to record events/conversations such as this.
    For far too long the traveling public has been at the mercy of some petty tyrants and martinets posing as gate agents, checkin staff and flight attendants. To be sure, the bad apples are only a tiny proportion of the total, but still unacceptably high.
    This guy should be dismissed ( but any dismissal would no doubt be followed by a union-led case for unfair dismissal , probably citing work-related stress as the cause of the blow-up).

  18. “I don’t think the passenger was in the right for recording employees the way he did…”

    TOTALLY not with you @Lucky and with @Emily and @DCS. As long as that employee is in uniform he or she is a representative of the company fulfilling a service to a customer. The employees’ actions as they relate to the job they are performing should 100% be allowed to be scrutinized including recording. I don’t think you have a right to privacy when you are a front-line employee, on the clock, executing the functions of your position.

  19. “You Can Take My F*cking Picture, You A**hole!”

    That’s technically consent to photo lol.

    While I get occasional snobbish rudeness nothing like this. Maybe Debit is right and it’s my white privilege lol…

  20. This agent’s behavior is beyond shocking. I was a flight attendant for 30 years and there were plenty of instances when I was confronted by a passenger over something that was beyond my control. My job was to try to defuse a difficult situation – not exacerbate it. I can’t conceive of EVER talking to a customer like that! Suspended? That Delta agent should be FIRED.

  21. I have some sympathy for the employee though. This whole business of people thinking that they can photograph, film or record others without their permission has gotten out of hand. I personally regard it as a highly provocative and aggressive act if someone points a camera or phone at me in a way that indicates they are invading my privacy.

    I recall decades ago someone took a pic of me against my will with a polaroid. I snatched the camera off them and took the print. If it had been any other kind of camera that would not have been sufficient of course.

    It may be legal to record someone, but it is very rude and hostile

  22. Debit

    Most of the racism I see these days is against whites. It’s gotten to the point where “white” is used as an insult.

  23. The Delta agent must have hoped that the cops will come, and if another Dr Dao episode occurs, its not his fault.

  24. It’s just part of the decreasing civility and increased rudeness and coarseness you see pretty well anywhere in American society.

    It used to be mainly teenagers who were worried about perceived slights and being disrespected, now as we can see, middle aged men overreact and go ballistic when they think they’re being ‘dissed’. Compound that with the delusions of grandeur that airline employees have been operating under since 9/11 and you end up with the ugly situation we find ourselves in today.

  25. Why do we need to be told he is a scientist? Does that somehow legitimize his version of the story?

    Why not also tell us the color of his skin, his sexual preferences, what he ate for breakfast that day, and other useless information?

  26. “Most of the racism I see these days is against whites. It’s gotten to the point where “white” is used as an insult.”

    LOL

    MAGA much?

    White power much?

    U racist arsehole.

  27. “I don’t think the passenger was in the right for recording employees the way he did…”

    This interaction took place in a public area (a baggage office in an airport terminal), so I’m not sure anyone has a right to privacy in that environment. Like others have mentioned, I doubt this would even come up if another passenger standing behind the guy witnessed the incident and started recording on his own.

    At any rate, I agree with Emily. Whether the passenger had a right to record or not, I don’t know any other way he would have been able to get some kind of action against the employee. Without the tape, I’d be willing to bet DL would hide behind some non-answer answer where they claim they “take reports like this seriously” but then go on to say they have been “assured our employee was never verbally abusive to the customer”.

  28. The situation now is customers are often rude They rant and make demands without any courtesy.
    It escalated to the extent the employee lost it. True he should not be abusive. It’s embarrasing for his co worker and he could have walked away

    Delta offers a $ 200voucher. Some say it’s not enough. What should it be ?? It’s an apology. To some people words don’t even mean anything. They only see cash as an apology.

    Bringing a camera out and filming is also illegal in some countries. If you were to do the same without consent you could be in trouble.

    There are tens of thousands of good employees and I think he just had a bad day.

    If he apologised to the customer personally I think that would go a long way assuming the customer is reasonable

  29. I look forward to the day when everybody has a body cam (or Glass-hole glasses) running all day, just like a Russian rental car. People need to get over their fear of being filmed. So what ?

  30. Plain and simple you should never lose your composure in this type of situation. Delta employee is very much in the wrong. If you are being berated by the customer step back and take a breath. As for recording in this day in and age, everyone is being recorded in an airport setting either as this customer did or the airport cameras.

  31. I agree with @Icarus.

    I’ve learned the hard way that staying courteous to other people is always the best way to go. That goes both ways in this case, of which we don’t have the full details.

  32. An airliner’s employee on the job at an International airport, why can’t he be recorded? Our phone conversations with customer service get recorded, our movements at airports get recorded, why even walking out of our homes, we are recorded. Imagine, an American at Dubai airport getting told this by an Emirates employee for example. How much to bet it makes it on CNN, FOX etc and people go aghast? Admit it, America has the same proportion of rude and dumb people as other countries- the difference is, in America these people get defended by others.

  33. Well, an interesting combo of white supremacist buzz terms and rightful outrage at the behavior of the airline employee here. The reality is that the employee here was completely in the wrong and non-elites at airlines, and sometimes even elites, are treated like abject garbage when trying to ask simple questions. Indeed, most of the times that I’ve seen passengers explode at airline employees is because the airline employee took a snarky approach toward someone who had obviously been disserviced in some way and is now in an increasingly stressful situation.

  34. It is not about Delta but the overall notion of customer service has been lost in this country. People don’t care about customers anymore. Also, specifically on airlines personnel too much power was given to them after 11/9. They feel entitled to make peoples lives miserable because they know if you as a passengers reacts the passenger will be the one in trouble.

  35. I can think of a lot of jobs I would never want to be stuck in and working for an airline in this capacity is near the top of the list. These representatives have to shoulder the blame for everything that can go wrong with your flight day. And the list is endless. Without assigning blame here, there is no excuse for the behavior of the DL employee. I’ve seen airline employees take a lot of sh*t from the traveling public and maintain their cool in very difficult situations.

  36. Donna,

    Yes, the employee should have found a more constructive way of telling the customer off for filming without permission. But I think anyone who points a camera in someone else’s face without asking first is behaving in a way that is very likely to lead to escalation, if not outright violence, depending on the situation.

    Do that out in the mean streets, and it could get you killed

  37. You’re all missing the best part of this: The old guy clearly thought that the guy was just taking his photo, presumably to post on social media to say “this guy treated me badly”, which of course would be his word again the other guy’s. What he didn’t realize was that it wasn’t a photo, it was actually a video, so he totally screwed himself by giving the guy all the evidence he needed. That customer service rep (and I use the term service very loosely) deserves everything he has coming to him.

  38. What is everyone arguing about? This is great customer service – no one got hurt nor were fake police officers needed or any emotional support thing flushed down a toilet. Frankly, I expect that the customer was a premium status customer 😛

  39. The airline employee was wrong. My family says I need to work on not being racist and think about peoples feelings so I have no comment about the passenger having an Indian name.

  40. So you say he shouldn’t have recorded them without consent, yet you constantly post pictures of passengers from your flights. Did you ask them for their consent??

  41. Good post Ben, keep up the great work. Now that i live in Europe, I was very impressed by a KLM flight crew last week that impressively calmed 2 different passengers who had their bags gate checked. The flight crew were very professional and showed that they actually cared. Caring is all it takes.

  42. “the incident took place between a 37 year old scientist with a PhD in electrical engineering…”

    No idea why the above is relevant. Having a PhD doesn’t entitle one to any particular standard of service; nor does being 37.

    I am afraid this particular employee is beyond redemption – he’s definitely in the wrong job and should be eased out of the nearest exit. Whilst I have sympathy regarding being filmed unwillingly or unwittingly, he is in customer services – this is gross misconduct.

  43. Honestly, i bet the customer was standing there pestering them about his bag. They probably already told him there was nothing he can do but customer wouldnt take that as an answer. I def. understand the employees feelings… but thats still no way to say to a customer.

    As someone who works in customer service, ive seen stuff… one example that was told to me was a customer who continued to piss of my co-worker once with racist jokes and saying really means things. She didnt react, just put on a smile and ignore his comments until the customer finally gave in. She said she was so fuming on what he was saying but she kept her composure. This is something the Delta employee needs to learn to do.

  44. I witnessed a situation a week ago that is becoming a standard for the lawsuit cash grab….woman at Wendy’s was REALLY giving the clerk crap about an order, getting very loud to the point the manager came over. She was cussing them out to no end, unwrapped a burger and threw it – the manager remained calm the entire time – she reached over the counter and shoved him (a very weak shove), he just stepped back….all the while she had the phone in her left hand, recording, trying to get any response to run to her lawyer with. It never happened, her money was refunded and she actually just left quietly after that. Had the manager said anything I am certain a little editing magic would have clipped the 60 second rant from the customer.

  45. @Tom , glad we are not living on the tough street you are living on.

    For all the people saying he should not film without consent, NO! He has every right to film in public space and he should in this situation because his property right in jeopardy here. He needs evidence.

    I see a lot of people who are consumer facing here, that is why so many people blame the costumer , including the very first post. As a customer myself, I cannot think of any reason the customer is in fault in this situation, even partially.

    Even if the Delta guy is powerless to solve the problem on his own, he should be
    1) empathatic
    2) give some clarity to the customer on what is going on, including what he can and cannot do
    3) try his best to find a way to find out more information.

    More than likely, if he try there will be some information to calm the customer. But in most of time they just don’t care.

  46. “I don’t think the passenger was in the right for recording employees the way he did…”

    LOL Why the hell NOT??????????

    Come on, Benjamin, youre better than this. Im glad he did, otherwise Delta would’ve probably never had apologized nor given the voucher.

  47. @Emirates4ever- You totally nailed it. Listen carefully to what the Delta agent says. He clearly gives permission/consent to this passenger to be filmed rendering many of the comments on this thread moot.

    While we all have the responsibility to be civil to one another (and we really don’t know what the passenger did or said before the filming began), it would seem like airline employees should at least learn the basics of de-escalation. It is actually possible to choose what we say and how we react to poor behavior (important to remember in this day and age).

  48. Wow. The employee lost his cool. He should never ever say that to a customer. Glad to hear he’s suspended. If I were in the customer’s shoes, I would whip out my phone to record too. They are in a public space and customer has every right to record him.

  49. Both employees should be suspended and/or terminated. She should have stepped in and deflected the situation. Both refusing to help or even look at his ticket…pathetic! And, I seriously doubt the customer was out of line. He seems to mild-mannered and calm.
    $200 is a slap in the face. Shame on you Delta!
    Finally, he had every right to film the incident. It is a public place. If the customer would have reported the incident without proof, Delta would have waived him off with the standard form letter apology.

  50. Always lots of comments on posts like these – good for the blog but in a not-so-good-for-society way…? I didn’t watch the video.

    I sympathize for both the passenger as well as the airline employees – customer service is one of the hardest jobs there is, and the pay isn’t that great for the stress.

  51. Lu,

    You are wrong. I never said the guy taking the photograph was breaking a law by doing so. Technically it’s not illegal

    However it is a very rude and confrontational act that is almost guaranteed to make the situation worse. And clearly it did.

    If you did that to me I don;t know what I would do. It would all depend on the circumstances. But I would do something and it wouldn’t end well for you.

  52. Honestly, irregardless of recording I am with @Ryan – these employees should be able to handle customers who are elevated like this.

    I think back to an American gate agent in IAH who once told me that it was too late to standby to fly back to DFW, that there was no room, but then proceeded to clear people after I had spoken to her when I, as an EXP, would have gotten on the plane. I traveled there for a year after that from DFW and vividly remembering a year later her saying on my last day traveling back from IAH “oh we dont have any problems today SFO-FF” and me saying “It’s the last time you will see me, bless us all.” Give me one other industry where over the course of a year it would be acceptable for me to develop that level of animosity with a employee.

    Sadly though, its on me – I still stuck with AA. Honestly, Lucky, I encourage you to think about sticking with AA. I’ve been with United for a year and never had anything like that happen – I get treated so much better. I’m proud to have voted with my dollars and left AA, if only it created an impact that was worth it.

  53. Haha, I know this Delta agent and he is not an asshole, he is a MAJOR asshole. Needs to retire or get fired.

  54. You can be sure the airline/airport are recording this. If it helps their version they’d pull it out. If it was like this good luck getting a copy as a customer.

  55. @evan thats the same thing that struck me. I really wonder if he had been a 74 year old sexologist would Lucky have mentioned the profession. And who cares what his profession is. He could be a great guy or a scumbag. The odds are the same

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