Sheila Nevins, the president of HBO Documentary Films, and her husband Sidney Koch are considering legal action against Delta, the New York Times’s Caucus Blog reports. Their lawyer, John Horan, tells the Times: “They were detained at JFK in a public space for two hours and were humiliated by the experience. It was ghastly and unnecessary.”
What happened, you ask?
The couple was traveling back to New York from the Sundance Film Festival on Inauguration Day, in first class. Apparently they had confirmed ahead of time with Delta that live television would be available in first class, so that they could watch President Obama’s speech. But upon takeoff many of the TVs in first class malfunctioned, including Sheila Nevins’. Compounding this, the pilot reportedly kept pausing the entertainment system — therefore interrupting Obama’s speech — with announcements about various landmarks the plane was flying over.
This was all enough to send Sidney Koch into a rage, says the Times. Delta claims Koch became “verbally abusive” to a flight attendant. Koch admits that he lost his temper, and he says he apologized to the flight attendant.
Nevertheless, local police met the flight at JFK and removed the couple from the plane. They were not issued any summons after their questioning at the airport.
What do you think about this? Did the flight attendant overreact? Does the couple have a case against Delta? In our post-9/11 world, do flight attendants at times appear a little too quick to get law enforcement involved? I mean, the guy was pissed about his TV, so he turns around and, what, pledges to bring down the plane?
Obviously a lot has to do with what was actually said in this case, and maybe we’ll never know that.
I for one find the word’s of Delta’s spokesperson, Betsy Talton, interesting. Speaking to the Times, she says specifically that Koch was “verbally abusive” to the FA. She doesn’t use the word “threat.”
No one has the right to abuse a flight attendant, verbally or otherwise. But what constitutes actually threatening a flight?
Launching into a name-calling, profanity-fueled rage against a FA is wrong, but do you put me in cuffs? Is it tantamount to physically endangering the flight by, say, charging the cockpit or attacking someone?