Facing a long airline delay during a trip to Florida with his family, a 12-year-old from New York state did what many Americans now do: He whipped out his iPhone to film the Delta Air Lines agent explaining the issue to angry customers. That’s when, according to a lawsuit filed by the family, the Delta employee told the pre-teen that shooting the video was illegal and swatted his hand.
The incident — watch the video of the alleged swatting below — occurred in July 2016, when the boy and his large family group were trying to travel for Florida for a bar mitzvah. They missed the event because of weather delays and, even worse, spent the night sleeping on the airport floor.
While an airline employee addressed the upset passengers, the 12-year-old tried to take a video.
The employee appears to have struck his hand holding the phone or tried to take the phone away, causing a bystander to say, “Don’t take his stuff!”
After this year’s now-infamous passenger-dragging incident on United Airlines, though, airline mistreatment of passengers was in the news. Delta had its own bad publicity recently when a video appearing to show a pilot fighting with a passenger was published, though it turned out that the pilot was breaking up a fight, not engaging in one.
The family who experienced the extended delay and phone-smacking approached the Daily Mail Online with their story, hoping to make their case in the media.
“We believe that Delta’s actions here are indicative of the complete disregard the airlines have for their passengers,” the family’s attorney told the Daily Mail, calling the delays in this case “above and beyond” what passengers should expect. “They sought out and attacked and humiliated a child, as if he was to blame for the mess they created,” he added.
Consumerist contacted Delta for a statement on this incident, and will update this post if we receive one. When contacted by the New York Post, the airline declined to comment, and an attorney representing the airline said that the boy’s video-taking “interfered with the Delta agent’s ability to [communicate] an announcement.”