A Black woman said she was treated horribly by Air Canada and booted off the plane because of her rash.
Jeanne Lehman was recently diagnosed with shingles but received the green light from her doctor that was not contagious and could fly back to Edmonton.
Upon her flight with Air Canada on April 22, Lehman asked to be seated near a window due to insecurities of the rash on her face and the flight attendant agreed. However, the airline employee came back wearing a mask with gloves and told Lehman she was being escorted off the plane.
“No one talked to me… No one listened to me,” the passenger told Insider. “She [flight attendant] said to me, ‘You’re contagious.’ She was practically screaming it in front of everyone… I told her, ‘But I am not contagious! And even if I was, this is not the way to say it. Please don’t say this in front of everyone.”
Lehman said she was “treated like an animal” and felt discriminated against. “When I asked the flight attendant why she was pulling me out of the plane, she didn’t answer me. She didn’t even look at me.”
The airline canceled the flight, booked a hotel for passengers to stay, cleaned the plane and flew out the following morning. The staff forced Lehman to visit the doctor and get a doctor’s note saying that she was cleared to fly.
“I could’ve told them that I already went to see the doctor. I could’ve even told them which medication they gave me. But no one talked to me, and no one listened to me,” she said.
Air Canada released the following statement:
“For privacy reasons we cannot provide details about individual customers, but we can confirm that once the passenger received medical clearance she was able to travel. Our priority is always the health and safety of our customers and employees, so we acted out of an abundance of caution. Regrettably, the situation resulted in inconvenience for some customers and we will be dealing with them directly.”
The distraught passenger is certain her race played a huge factor in the way she was treated.
“The flight attendant wouldn’t have done this to a white woman,” Lehman told the news source. “She wouldn’t have said it so loudly in front of everyone. There is something about a woman like me that makes them think they can say that without consequence.”
“I feel sure that this is a case of systemic racism,” she said.