Author Topic: Email to Spirit CEO re antisemitic FA on Tuesday FLL-LGA Mid-Flight  (Read 165 times)

Offline Shmuli11

  • Dansdeals Silver Elite
  • **
  • Join Date: Apr 2013
  • Posts: 78
  • Total likes: 9
  • Hat Tips 0
    • View Profile
  • Location: New York

Dear Ted Christie (CEO of Spirit),

It’s time you invest in diversity training.

This is my story. We are orthodox Jews. We were discriminated against by Spirit Airlines on Flight 604 FLL-LGA on 4/6/21.

I am a CPA. My wife is a Special Education Teacher. We have five children under the age of eight. She is an American citizen and with Hungarian and Czechoslovakian heritage. I am American and Australian, but I am also by ancestry, Burmese, Iraqi, Polish and Russian. I am light skinned; my Burmese-Iraqi great grandparents were dark skinned. My wife’s great grandparents were killed by the Nazi’s for being Jewish. My great grandfathers were killed by the Soviets for running schools that taught about Judaism.

We do not believe conspiracy theories. We stayed home for many months at the start of COVID. Wore masks out of home. We have not been on vacation in over a year due to quarantining. We only caught COVID around January due my wife’s job as a teacher, which was not essential enough to receive the vaccine earlier. We did not play games. We did not wait. We tested instantly and then and quarantined immediately to avoid spreading the disease.

Our vigilance did not save us from discrimination by Spirit. Two hours into the flight a male white flight attendant (and I believe there was only one FA to fit that description) came over to us and started hollering at us, “I’ve been watching you. You are playing games. You are passing around a bag of chips to trick us. I will report you and you will never be allowed to fly again.”

These were lies and vicious threats. Were we the only people eating? No. We were however the largest Orthodox family on the plane. Are we expected to starve a 5-year-old? What about a 3-year-old? What about a 1-year-old? Was this payback by the flight attendant for the embarrassment incurred by Spirit only the day before?

How did the flight attendant watch us for two hours if we were one of the last rows in the back and he spent most of the flight in front? He obviously couldn’t have seen my wife and I eat the chips because we are eating healthy and didn’t eat a single chip. Was it the cute five-year-old boy with a Yarmulkah passing a large bag of chips to his little three-year-old sister?
I had my mask on most of the flight. The flight attendant came over while I had my spirited one-year-old daughter on my lap and trying to get a cracker into my mouth. If you have young children you would know it’s quite a difficult task to do on a plane even without putting on a mask between bites (not required by the FAA). My wife had her mask on the entire time until a moment before the flight attendant came over and had barely gotten a crumb in her mouth before the public shaming. It was as if he was waiting for that exact moment.

According to the FAA you are allowed to take off a mask to eat on a plane. There is also no maximum number of bites allowed during a flight. There is no “Jew family exception” to that rule, unless you are flying Spirit.

In case your PR department asks, yes, we did buy a seat for the baby, and no, the baby did not want to sit in her seat so I could eat faster. Why? I don’t know. She can’t talk yet.

We Jews we have been brought up to fear. My earliest memories include going to Synagogue every morning at the age of six. After prayers I would hear Mr. Gus Freiberg, an elderly congregant, speak about his suffering in the concentration camps. Such anguish. He would relive it every single morning, and I with him. Tears would run down his cheeks. Those loud and piercing cries were so terrifying and frightful that I could feel them shattering the heavens. At this tender age of six I was transported over forty years into the past and into the camps with him. I could feel myself watching loved ones stumbling slowly into the gas chambers, hot with fever from Typhus, hiding a tiny scrap of black bread, and standing amongst rows of my people to watch my fellow Jews being hung from the gallows. 

It is this fear we feel again when we walk the streets of the USA. It is this fear that we teach our children. It’s the lack of tolerance by our politicians and leaders. It is a lack of understanding by a media who dismiss millennia of suffering by our people. It is this fear we feel when we walk onto Spirit Airlines.

Today is Yom HaShoah – Holocaust Remembrance Day, and we must say, “never again!”

I will leave you off with a story.

The American author and social critic Harvey Swados met with the Grand Rabbi of Lubavitch, Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson on a late Brooklyn night around 1962. During that meeting he asked the Rebbe if it was his opinion, “that the holocaust could possibly happen again”.

The Grand Rabbi immediately replied in Yiddish, “Morgen in der fruh - Tomorrow morning.”

Will you help us stop it?