Black passenger complained over White woman’s feet near his tray table in viral tweets
A Black passenger had an unpleasant experience aboard a United Airlines flight when the white woman next to him decided to put her feet on the food tray. After he complained to the flight attendant, the white woman walked away with the promise of a $1,000 voucher.
Frederick Joseph took to Twitter to make a report about his experience on a flight from Austin, Texas, to Newark, New Jersey. He started by posting a photo of the woman’s feet next to his food tray, calling the action “white privilege.” He stated that he was patiently waiting for the flight staff to say something.
The audacity of white privilege:— Frederick Joseph (@FredTJoseph) March 13, 2018
This woman next to me took her shoes off and placed both feet on the table. So I’m waiting for flight staff to say something... pic.twitter.com/ldOIgwiPWi
However, after the staff passed down the hallways several times, he gave up on a flight attendance noticing the issue, so he started “giving them the snitch eye,” but not even with that he got their attention.
BASIC AIRPLANE ETIQUETTE
Joseph then decided to take the matter into his own hands and address the woman about her horrible manners. “'I say “ma’am, I’m trying to eat, and your feet are next to my food.” She says “what do you want me to do; the seats are small.”
So flight staff walks by numerous times without saying anything, and I’m irate, because no black person would ever get away with this shit. So I start looking at the staff noting that there is an issue. You know, giving them the snitch eye... pic.twitter.com/953966yubs— Frederick Joseph (@FredTJoseph) March 13, 2018
He then proceeded to explain that there was enough room for her feet on the ground and under the seat in front of her, to which the woman replied: “This is why I fly first class, and I don’t come back here with everyone else.”
“So I’m like “that’s great, so are you going to put your feet down?”' he added, noting that, as soon as he said that, the woman called over a flight attendant to complain about Joseph disturbing her flight.
So finally I decide to say something to the woman myself. So I say “ma’am, I’m trying to eat, and your feet are next to my food.”— Frederick Joseph (@FredTJoseph) March 13, 2018
She says “what do you want me to do, the seats are small” pic.twitter.com/AlizfVNAMB
AN UNDESERVED COMPENSATION
He took the chance to explain his position, pointing at her feet and arguing that she was obviously in the wrong. The flight attendant then proceeded to suggest the woman put one foot down or move them closer to the window. But the woman said “if I put one foot down, I want to be accommodated for accommodating him.”
So I’m like “I understand, which is why there is room for your feet and legs under the seat in front of you”— Frederick Joseph (@FredTJoseph) March 13, 2018
So she says “this is why I fly first class, and I don’t come back here with everyone else.”
So I’m like “that’s great, so are you going to put your feet down?” pic.twitter.com/u3ZAOsrnxB
At that point, the flight attendant left to speak with the person in charge of the plane, and when she came back, it was with the promise of a $1000 voucher for the woman, for her troubles. In disbelief, Joseph proceeded to ask what vouched would he get for his distress, and the flight attendant answered:
“Sir, we can only make but so many accommodations, and she has agreed to move her feet for you.”
So she calls over a flight attendant as soon as I say that!— Frederick Joseph (@FredTJoseph) March 13, 2018
She says to the flight attendant “this man is disrupting my flight, I’m just trying to be comfortable”
So I point at her feet and explain my stance.
Joseph, a marketing professional, and philanthropist proceeded to make a call to United’s customer service line to make a complaint about the issue, stating that the “white woman in customer service” didn’t get why the incident was problematic.
The flight attendant says... “well what if she puts her feet closer to the window or puts one down”— Frederick Joseph (@FredTJoseph) March 13, 2018
The woman says “if I put one foot down, I want to be accommodated for accommodating him” pic.twitter.com/NrUHKDj6m9
He made an update the following day, revealing that he had received a call from United to tell him that the woman never got the $1000 voucher. “So I told the United representative “I’m happy to hear that, but I still have an issue with the flight attendant pacifying her and essentially taking her side,” he tweeted, adding that by offering compensation for the woman, the staff created an unpleasant experience for him.
So the flight attendant speaks to the person in-charge on the plane and they give promise this woman a fucking $1000 voucher ... ONE.THOUSAND. DOLLAR. pic.twitter.com/0DEZKKDU1e— Frederick Joseph (@FredTJoseph) March 13, 2018
He also told the customer service person:
“Also, I find it hard to believe that if this was a person of color someone wouldn’t have asked her to put her feet down.”
So I ask “what voucher will I be receiving for my suffering”— Frederick Joseph (@FredTJoseph) March 13, 2018
The flight attendant says “sir, we can only make but so many accommodations, and she has agreed to move her feet for you.” pic.twitter.com/617NE2aG06
“She says “Sir, I personally don’t believe it has anything to do with race or culture. As you can hear from my last name, I am a Hispanic person.”
He referred to the airline's response as “Tone deaf.”
Basically, United had a woman w/ a Spanish sounding surname tell me there should be no issue because the woman ended up not getting money.— Frederick Joseph (@FredTJoseph) March 14, 2018
Oh, and racial bias didn’t matter here, because again a woman with Spanish sounding name at United says it didn’t.
Tone deaf. pic.twitter.com/TH9cT9FbjY
United Airlines said in a statement to Newsweek that “we’ve talked with our customer to clarify this with him, and address his concerns. We want all of our customers to be treated with respect, and we do not tolerate discrimination of any kind.”
Joseph ended his viral Twitter thread stating that he was officially moving on from the incident.