A JEWISH couple are suing American Airlines for racial discrimination after they were kicked off a flight just minutes after they boarded.
But the airline claims they were booted off because of “extremely offensive body odour”.
Yehuda Yosef Adler and his wife Jennie filed the law suit this week, although the incident took place on January 23 last year.
The couple had already boarded AA flight 1023 from Miami to Detroit, with their then 19-month-old daughter, when they were told they had to get off according to the complaint.
In court papers seen by Sun Online Travel, the couple say that within minutes of them sitting down in their seat, they were approached by a gate agent who said: “Sir, there’s an emergency and you must deplane…”
Once they were outside the plane, the gate agent allegedly told the family that they had to leave the plane “at the instruction of the pilot and because they had extremely offensive body odour”.
The couple say they were shocked by the revelation having never received complaints about smelling bad before – they further added that they had showered that morning.
According to the court papers, the gate agent told the Adlers “he knew that Orthodox Jews take baths once a week”.
The shocked and humiliated family turned to other travellers to verify whether they smelt bad, with more than 20 people saying no according to the law suit.
The airline continued to ignore the couple’s pleas to board the plane while other passengers watched on.
The law suit adds that the plane then took off with all their belongings still on board – including their toddler’s strollers – which they were not allowed to retrieve.
The couple were eventually booked on an American Airlines flight the next day.
The court papers say that the Adlers were “racially profiled” and that “but for their race, religion, and nationality, the airline would not have lief about them smelling, would not have removed them from the flight, and would not have refused them re-boarding”.
The Adlers claim that because of the defamatory comments made by the airline, an online search of the term “body odour” now show stories about them, adding to the humiliation they felt.
As a result, they suffered and will continue to suffer embarrassment due to the incident.
The couple are now seeking compensation and damages for the “emotional distress and humiliation” as well as “irreversible” damage to their name.
American Airlines denies there was any discrimination in this case.
An American Airlines spokesperson told Sun Online Travel: “The Adler family was asked to deplane after multiple passengers and our crew members complained about Mr. Adler’s body odor.
“The decision was made out of concern for the comfort of our other passengers. Our team members took care of the family and provided hotel accommodations and meals, and rebooked them on a flight to Detroit the next morning.
“None of the decisions made by our team in handling this sensitive situation were based on the Adler’s religion.”
A family previously claimed that a “racist” American Airlines cabin crew threatened them.
A first class passenger says she was ignored by the cabin crew “because she’s black”.
And a 16-year-old girl said that a white passenger refused to sit next to her because she was black.