Delta Sued for Anti-Semitic Discrimination

Delta Airlines is being sued for discrimination against Jewish employees and nonrev passengers flying to Israel.

Each of the plaintiff flight attendants, described as veterans with experience ranging from 10 to 40 years, worked Delta’s New York-Tel Aviv flight from JFK airport to Ben-Gurion airport. Two of them are ethnically “Jewish/Hebrew/Israeli” and were “disciplined or subjected to a hostile work environment” for associating with others Jews, according to a statement from the plaintiffs’ attorney, Brian R. Mildenberg.


Copyright: idealphotographer

One flight attendant claims to have been fired for being Jewish. The airline says she was fired for missing a flight — that she acknowledges missing — but says she had been granted unpaid Family and Medical Leave Act leave. Another claims being denied advancement to purser because she’s an Israeli Jew.

Another was suspended and had travel privileges revoked for sharing a buddy pass with a Jewish friend for travel on the airline’s New York JFK – Tel Aviv flight, with the airline suggesting she had sold the travel privilege.

Delta vigorously denies the allegations stating, “As a global airline that brings people across the world together every day, Delta values diversity in all aspects of its business and has zero tolerance for discrimination.”

In 2011 Delta was accused of anti-semitism for its partnership with Saudia, the Saudi Arabian airline, because of Saudi Arabia’s policy of generally not admitting anyone with an Israeli passport stamp into the country.

I wrote at the time that Delta doesn’t hate Jews. They do lie, though — in response to the controversy they stated “Delta does not intend to codeshare or share reciprocal benefits, such as frequent flier benefits, with Saudi Arabian Airlines” when of course shortly thereafter they introduced reciprocal frequent flyer benefits through the airline’s admission into the SkyTeam alliance which was fully expected at the time.

And of course Delta employs racist tactics against Middle Easterners (though not Israelis) in their quest to profit by political rather than economic means shutting down competition from Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Whatever weird sh@t is going on with DL flight attendants in the TLV route, something tells me (with about 99% certainty), that nobody is being discriminated against on that route because they are Jewish.

  2. @gary
    As an Israeli Jew, I think this is BS…
    I don’t like Delta, they are a greedy diacusting corporation. That said, I can not see a scenario where they discriminate different jewish or israeli employeea across different departments…
    This sounds like the cooking of the lawyer….
    and for once I agree with IAHPHX…..rare day….

  3. Race/Religion/Ethnicity/Sexual Orientation/Political Affiliation/National Origin card should not be played so carelessly. It loses its value and is of little use when shit does hit the fan for real.

  4. Gary, Interesting post – BUT it bugs me that you persist in the myth that “Saudi Arabia’s policy of generally not admitting anyone with an Israeli passport stamp into the country.” I have prime facia evidence to the contrary: my current and prior US passports, where there are lots of Israeli stamps from Ben Gurion immigration in Tel Aviv preceding many Saudi immigration stamps from immigration officials in Riyadh. And I know many professional people with the same experience (some Jewish like myself, and some not).

  5. @Ram: You hit the nail precisely on the head. They cry wolf so often that now nobody will believe it when they actually do tell the truth.

  6. @ J.C. — The reason you get so many of these seemingly frivolous “discrimination” employment lawsuits is because the law generally allows you to fire an employee “at will” — for a good reason, a bad reason, or no reason at all. Having worked in employment law, I think this is good public policy: when an employment relationship breaks down, it’s best for both sides to move on, and not have a court dictate whether an employer was “justified” in terminating employment.

    But a big exception to “at will” employment is if you can prove that you were terminated for a “discriminatory” reason. Being Jewish would be one of those protected categories, so the disgruntled former employee goes to a lawyer and suddenly a flight attendant working the TLV flight was fired because she was Jewish. It’s usually nuts, but that’s how this stuff works.

  7. @iahphx: Thank you for the logical explanation. If I understand you correctly, they often just grasp at the only straw available to them. I’d imagine that they are also fueled by the chance of Delta just throwing some $$ at them to make them go away.

  8. Isn’t that the same airline that is engaged in an indirect Arab bashing with its war against the 3 Arab gulf carriers?

    Once a racist always a racist!

  9. The original Newsweek article also says “The attendants allege senior Delta officials think Jewish and Israeli employees and passengers “cannot be trusted, are aggressive and inappropriate, and engage in what are deemed to be ‘strange’ behaviors by conducting prayers on the flight and requiring special dietary accommodations (kosher meals)”

    I think those of us who have lived in Israel would probably agree that is an accurate description of Israelis except for the “can’t be trusted’ part.

  10. @Ron: Agree on the agressive part. The answer is to be MUCH more aggressive as an American.
    Israelis are not expecting this . It always worked well for me, although there was one lady who kept shouting, “we don’t need you here” as her dog attacked mine, inside a building where we both lived.
    I shouted back and my dog interceded . After all, she’s been in a coyote fight. No Israeli dog has a chance against my beagle.

    I’m impressed by many Israelis. It’s like a country of Austin citizens in terms of intelligence.

    Their English grammar is better than that of most Americans.

  11. according to some above a discrimination complaint is always not legitimate and belittles real claims. They make it hard to file a discrimination complain when people are consistently called liars by people who know next to nothing about what happened. That in itself is pure bigotry. These cases are brought to court or human rights commissions to determine the truth not to you above who shoot off calling every victim a liar. Bigotry is rampant and worse then in years prior as exemplied by many above.

  12. according to some above a discrimination complaint is always not legitimate and belittles real claims. They make it hard to file a discrimination complaint when people are consistently called liars by people who know next to nothing about what happened. That in itself is pure bigotry. These cases are brought to court or human rights commissions to determine the truth not to you above who shoot off calling every victim a liar. Bigotry is rampant and worse then in years prior as exemplied by many above.

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