A Black family is accusing a Canadian airline of racism after the fallout of an incident where a white woman refused to leave their assigned seat.
Nigerian-Canadian Busayo Alle was boarding a flight with her newborn baby and mother-in-law on Canada's Flair Airlines last month when she found a woman sitting in her seat, per Yahoo News. After the woman refused to move when asked, Alle called on airline staff to assist her.
A now-viral TikTok video details how airline staff asked Alle to move instead of the woman and even threatened to kick her off the flight.
“If you flip the script, what would have happened?” Alle's husband said in the viral TikTok, noting that if a Black person were in the wrong seat, they would've faced immediate consequences.
Video shows flight attendants and the plane's captain seemingly siding with the woman in Alle's assigned seat.
“If you [don’t] calm down, we need to get you out of this aircraft," one flight attendant told Alle in the video.
“I can’t be calm after what you just did,” Alle responded.
Flair Airlines addressed the incident in a statement to Yahoo News.
“Flair Airlines staff did ask the passenger in 2A to move to her assigned seat, but she refused multiple times. Unfortunately, this caused the situation to escalate,” an airline spokesperson said. “The resolution taken for the flight was to seat the passenger in the window seat on the other side of the aircraft — the same row and seat, just on the other side of the plane."
“We spoke directly to the passenger first to listen to her experience and concerns first hand, to offer our sincerest apologies for any distress, and to discuss ways the airline can remedy her concerns,” the spokesperson continued.
Social media users were outraged by the incident.
"Please sue the airline, that’s the only way this discrimination will eventually stop, most especially for the sake of our coming generations. She had her seat, why take up a Black person's seat and think you can bully your way out of it?" one Twitter user said.
“There’s so much racism in Canada but it’s covered and never talked about like other countries,” a TikTok user commented.