Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian told employees Monday that a supporter of President-elect Donald Trump who screamed profanities on a flight to Allentown from Atlanta last week "will never again be allowed on a Delta plane."
Moments after boarding Flight 248 last Tuesday, passenger Emma Baum said she was startled when a man seated near her, a Trump supporter, began yelling at fellow passengers, calling them "Hillary b----es."
Baum filmed the rant with her cellphone, as she later told the Morning Call of Allentown, and posted a 45-second video on Facebook that went viral. On Saturday, Delta posted an apology on its website.
In a Monday memo to the airline's 80,000 employees, the Delta CEO went a step further, calling the man's behavior "loud, rude, and disrespectful to his fellow customers." At the time, Bastian's memo said, the flight crew "made the best decision they could given the information they had and allowed him to remain on the flight."
"However, if our colleagues had witnessed firsthand what was shown in the video, there is no question they would have removed him from the aircraft. He will never again be allowed on a Delta plane."
Delta will refund about 100 customers on the flight "the cost of their tickets," Bastian said.
Baum, was traveling from Belize in Central America to visit family in Quakertown, told the Allentown newspaper that she noticed the man while waiting to board the plane. He chanted Trump's slogan "Make America Great Again" several times in the Atlanta airport terminal.
Once on the plane, Baum said, she switched seats so that the man could sit next to his traveling companion. At one point, the man jumped out of his seat to talk to her. She said she told him she was going to record him with her cellphone.
"He said, 'Go ahead! I want to tell everyone about Trump. I hope it goes viral,' " Baum told the Morning Call.
"Donald Trump, baby!" he hooted. "We got some Hillary b----es on this plane?
"Trump! It's your president," the man yelled. "Every god---- one of you. If you don't like it, too bad."
After a few minutes, a flight attendant took the man briefly off the plane, but he came back. When he returned, he stated, " 'This is what I get for being a patriot,' " Baum said in the interview.
Bastian told Delta employees in the memo: "The heightened tension in our society means that now more than ever we must require civility on our planes and in our facilities. We must stay true to Delta's core values and treat one another with dignity and respect."
"We also must remain committed more than ever to the safety of our customers and our crew members. We will not tolerate anything less," he said.