Swoop Airlines has recently faced backlash regarding the treatment of a black couple on board a flight from Toronto Pearson Airport to Kelowna. The couple was escorted off the plane after a misunderstanding between them and a flight attendant, an action that the couple found unjust.
On August 10th, 2022, passengers Jhody Baptiste and Andre Henry were on board Swoop flight WO315, where they faced an unfortunate incident that they believe was racially motivated. The couple had booked their flight tickets together, however, they were seated apart from one another on board. In an attempt to rectify this, Baptiste asked a passenger who was sitting next to his partner if they could swap seats to which the passenger, who was Caucasian, agreed. Though the passenger showed no signs of reluctance, a flight attendant informed Baptise that she would have to pay for this action. Baptiste simply replied, “Ok, charge me then.” According to Baptiste, the issue did not end there and it escalated majorly as a senior member of staff was then called to deal with the situation.
A turn for the worst
Tensions heightened as more flight attendants became in involved. According to Baptiste, the staff kept returning to her listing multiple reasons as to why her moving seats was too problematic for the running of the flight, including that it had affected the weight of the plane. Yet, according to Global News things took a more serious turn as Baptiste claims that a flight attendant said “It’s not even about switching seats anymore, it’s about your attitude.” The couple was then told to leave the aircraft and authorities would be called to remove them. This indeed took place, and police escorted the couple off the plane, forcing them to spend a total of C$ 2,000 for two new return plane tickets.
Apologies all around
Since the incident took place, a spokesperson from Swoop Airlines has addressed the matter, reassuring customers that they do not under any circumstances support discrimination.
“We take these matters very seriously and immediately launched an investigation into this file. We strive to make all travelers feel welcome and comfortable and regret that was not the experience some travelers had on this flight. We are reviewing the incident internally and have been in contact with Ms. Baptiste directly to follow up on her concerns.”
The airline has since apologised to Baptiste regarding the incident whilst also offering the couple $2000 to reimburse them for the return tickets that they were forced to buy to get home. Though these steps have been taken, the incident has affected Baptiste mentally and she has since spoken to a counsellor about her experience.
It is evident that this is a very unfortunate incident that no passenger should ever be subjected to. What do you think airlines need to do to avoid this happening in the future?