We have an interesting “breaking news” story about a Russian citizen, name of Andrei Eremin, being tossed off a Delta Airlines flight. One source says the incident took place on Monday; another source says it took place on Tuesday. We do know the number of the flight: Flight #1588. Which is a marathon from Seattle to Atlanta. According to Delta’s website, the flight in question uses a Boeing 757 Twin-jet, costs just under $300 (which is not a bad deal for such a long distance), and serves refreshments in the cabin. Having flown Delta myself, I can attest that the refreshments are crap, I think they even charge you for them, and you should always remember to bring your own sandwich.
Latest news today is that Eremin plans to sue Delta. Not for the crappy refreshments, but for the brutal treatment he received. Again, as somebody who has partaken of the American airline system, I can attest that flying in America is a ghastly and demeaning process, the whole system degenerates more with every year that goes by. You can blame the terrorists if you like, but it’s not all their fault. And it’s not just the indignities of taking your shoes off, the full-body X-ray that displays your naked image to smirking cops; and being frisked by slab-faced Homeland Security goons — no, the degradation continues even after you have left the horrors of the airport and find yourself inside what should be the comforting womb of the cabin itself.
Oh, believe me, I get it that the captain is always in charge of his ship, and that he has to look out for the lives of all his passengers. That absolutely takes priority. It is also the duty of passengers to follow orders of the crew and not interfere in the system. I get all that.
Still, there was a time when airlines also regarded passengers as customers, not just as cattle to be transported; and treated them courteously, tried to give them good service and make them feel comfortable. Those times are long gone. What with the militarization of American culture, airlines act like they are part of the military-industrial complex. Every passenger is a possible threat and should be treated with utmost surliness. Now, I grant that individual airline employees can be very nice, and very efficient; but the system itself is NOT geared to traditional customer service, to put it mildly. Having experienced gross rudeness myself (and I am a nice and fairly unassuming person who tends to follow the orders given by authority figures), I am inclined to take Eremin’s side of the story. That Delta done him wrong. But also trying to keep an open mind until all the facts are in, because, let’s face it, Eremin could be lying, you never know.
In other words, the story is a classic “he said – she said” case of civil conflict, with the two sides telling radically different stories about the event in question. My ears perked up when I read that the incident took place in Seattle. Seattle is my all-time favorite American city, it’s a wonderful place, and I would just hate that anything stained its reputation or kept possible tourists away!
So. yesterday (Wednesday) Eremin texted Delta complaining about his treatment on the Seattle Flight, from which he was rudely ejected. A few hours later he received an email back from Delta Assistant Director Susan Curtis. Susan apologized for the incident and promised to investigate it. However, she demurred that a full investigation will take some time. Of course it will.
According to Eremin’s side of the story, he did absolutely nothing wrong, just boarded his flight, was randomly seated next to a guy who blew up when he learned he was sitting next to a Russian. Started going off about “Crimea” and how he refused to fly with a Russian Occupier. Probably some svidomite, but that’s just a guess. Anyhow, instead of separating and re-seating one of the parties, Delta took the side of the other guy and tossed Eremin out of the plane. Forcing him to book a flight on a different airline. In the end, Eremin was able to get to Atlanta, but with a much-bruised ego. Eremin says that he will probably sue Delta, but before resorting to the courts he wanted to see if he could just get an apology from Delta. His feelings were hurt, and he said he needs a public apology from them, more than any desire for financial compensation.
According to Delta, Eremin was a problem passenger from the very beginning. He was late to boarding, he was rowdy, he violated all the safety rules, he was running so late, he even attempted to burst through the hatch after the door had already been closed. In spite of all this, he was seated in the cabin. Next to his worst enemy, apparently.
The Battle Front
As is usual with these cases, the battle is taking place in Social Media. Eremin posted his side of the story on social media after which, he claims, he started getting threatening emails and phone calls, so he removed his post. “It’s not that I am afraid,” he averred, “but I do have two children, and this is all so unpleasant…”
Eremin is a citizen of the Russian Federation, but resides in the U.S. He provided the Russian news agency RIA Novosti with screenshots of the threats that he had received, in order to prove that they were real.
I will continue to follow this breaking story, in case there are any new developments!