Orthodox Jewish girls sue KLM and Delta for alleged discrimination
A group of 19 Orthodox Jewish girls is suing KLM and Delta Air Lines after being barred from two separate flights run by the airlines last summer, according to Business Insider. They say they were discriminated against and faced antisemitism from employees of both airlines.
The teenage girls and their chaperones, including their rabbi, were in Europe on a trip to visit Holocaust memorials in Ukraine and the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. On their way home to New York on a KLM flight from Kyiv to Amsterdam, several of the girls were disciplined by flight attendants for removing their face masks to snack on kosher food outside of the plane's set mealtimes, according to Business Insider. The girls say their fellow passengers were not disciplined for similarly eating outside of mealtimes.
The discipline involved a "final warning" and a threat of arrest for further failure to comply, which the plaintiffs say was "solely for the purpose of unlawfully harassing plaintiffs because of their Jewish race, ethnicity, and/or religion." When the group reached the airport in Amsterdam for their layover, they were told by a KLM security official that they were barred from boarding their flight home. This ban included members of the group who had not been on the previous KLM flight.
The group of teenagers and their chaperones ultimately slept in Schiphol Airport overnight while attempting to arrange another flight. After they arranged a different flight home via Delta Air Lines, one of the girls swapped seats with another passenger and the group was subsequently ordered off the plane for "misbehaving." They also said they were taunted by a KLM security official in the airport after they were deplaned.
Delta Air Lines and KLM declined to give specific comments on the events.