Flight attendant disciplined for 'Black Lives Matter' pin after angering passenger
LARGO (FOX 13) - Spirit Airlines has disciplined a flight attendant after a passenger was angered about a button she wore on her uniform that said, "Black Lives Matter, White Supremacy Kills."
"I said to her, 'All lives matter,'" recalled Robert Coyle, who was visiting relatives in Largo from Houston. "And she said, 'I disagree with you, I disagree with you on so many levels.' And then she went into some sort of memorized, 'I really can't speak politically while I am in uniform.'"
After she spotted him taking a picture of her button, she asked to see it, insisting that the photograph violated airline rules.
Though he agreed to delete it, he still says she stopped her safety demonstration to ask the pilot to take the plane back to the gate to kick him off. He was able to recover the picture later and shared it with FOX 13 News.
"No company should allow that to happen," said Coyle, "unless they are willing to accept the consequences for that happening."
Indeed, Spirit says their flight attendant broke policy of not wearing anything political, religious or inflammatory on their uniform.
They offered Coyle undisclosed restitution and took undisclosed disciplinary action on the unidentified flight attendant, who'd been with the airline 14 months.
Coyle says he is satisfied with Spirit's response.
"If you have something offensive on your uniform, you are going to offend customers," said Coyle, "and customers pay the bills."
Spirit passed no judgment on the content of the flight attendant's button, beyond that it broke their uniform policy.
Coyle says he will absolutely fly Spirit again, and is headed back to Houston on the same flight Tuesday, which he is told will have a different crew.
Spirit released this statement to FOX 13 News:
"Spirit Airlines is proud of a diverse workplace with team members of many different backgrounds and beliefs. We are committed to providing a fun, friendly, and relaxed experience to all of our customers. While we appreciate that Spirit employees have a wide range of personal views, the expression of those views should not interfere with their ability to provide a positive customer experience when in uniform and on duty. The photo indicates the Flight Attendant was not in compliance with our uniform policy. We have addressed this with the flight attendant and have spoken with Mr. Coyle regarding this unfortunate situation."