Video of Deaf Couple Accusing Delta Air Lines of Discrimination Goes Viral

Jan 29, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

A video of a deaf couple from California sharing their account of discrimination by a Delta Air Lines agent at Detroit Metro Airport (DTW) has gone on viral on Facebook.

Socorro Garcia and Melissa Elmira Yingst tell their story from a hotel in Detroit near the airport. They had to stay the night there after being told by police that they would not be permitted to board their flight home.

The story started when Garcia and Yingst arrived at DTW to board their Delta flight to Los Angeles (LAX). Allegedly, they attempted to communicate with the gate agent (“Felicia” according to her name tag) by using an iPhone to ask if they could be seated together despite having bought separate tickets. Felicia, after refusing to use the iPhone to communicate, eventually hand-wrote that the flight was full.

However, the trouble really began when Garcia tried to write a follow-up question on the same piece of paper and Felicia threw it away.

“I walked to the trash to pick it up but she pushed me away. Melissa was stunned and took out her iPhone to take a video of her and then Felicia turned on her iPhone to film us,” said Garcia in the video. Things only escalated further when the gate agent called the police on the couple, accusing them of assaulting her. Shortly after, the police said there was “nothing they could do” for Garcia and Yingst and advised them to book another flight.

Posted by MELMIRA on Sunday, January 27, 2019

“Even though I have seen this many times, it was a huge shock when it happened to us. The feeling of being oppressed is very traumatic,” said Yingst in the video.

Delta told the Detroit Free Press that Yingst and Garcia weren’t permitted to board because they went behind the gate counter and pushed past the agent, which isn’t allowed. They also said that the gate agent accommodated the couple by informing them that flight was full and that she would check with the flight crew to see if someone aboard the plane was willing to give up a seat.

“Delta is in contact with two customers who reported having difficulty communicating with a gate agent prior to their flight. We are reviewing the situation with our Detroit team and will work with these customers to better understand what transpired,” said Delta spokesman Michael Thomas in an email to TPG. “As always, we take situations like these seriously and we are using this as an opportunity to learn and improve.”

Delta also refunded the couple’s tickets.

As for the couple — they’ve since returned to Los Angeles on a flight by a different airline. “This has been very traumatizing for us and we right now are currently collecting resources to figure out the best way to remedy this situation,” Yingst wrote in an email to the Free Press Monday.

Featured image by MELMIRA via Facebook.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.