Tuesday, October 23, 2007

United Apologizes to Orthodox Family

This is an interesting story, via JBM:
United Airlines says a flight attendant and pilot acted inappropriately when they complained about a Columbus family's kosher meal.

Robert Blum and his family, Orthodox Jews, say a flight attendant told them to throw away their fish dinner after other passengers complained about the smell during a flight from Denver to Columbus.

Blum says the flight attendant and pilot threatened to throw his family off the flight if they didn't get rid of the meal. Blum calls the incident a case of discrimination and says his family felt humiliated.

United Airlines said Friday that they are apologizing to the family.
That must be absolutely humiliating - imagine being asked to get off of a flight in front of everybody! (Of course, how do you throw someone off in the middle of a flight, anyway!?)

I will note one caveat, however: Nowhere is it clear that this was the meal given to them by the airline, in which case the actions are completely outrageous. Rather, it is possible that they brought fish onto the plane to eat because they weren't going to be getting any Kosher food on the plane. Obviously, this is perfectly within their rights, and perhaps they didn't realize that the smell would be so bad; however, people should use common sense about what kinds of foods they bring onto a plane to eat, and think about how others might react. I felt bad opening one of those tuna packages on a plane recently, though nobody seemed to notice; I think sandwiches generally make the most sense.

Either way, the threats of the attendant and pilot seem completely unreasonable.


  1. Fish on a plane??? Sign me up!
    As I read this I am actually eating a tuna sandwich.

  2. I read this story and Sunday and my thoughts were that their airline was in the right. If I were on a plane and someone was eating fish, that clearly stunk up the plane I would want the powers that be on the plane to have them put it away. Use some common sense; if you are going to insist on brining food onto a plane why not something that does not stink.

  3. Rea - What were the odds on that? 1-2?

    Simcha - I agree, but insisting that they throw it out when there's nothing else for them to eat?

  4. this story even before the apology was all about stinky fish, not about jews.


  5. Simcha - I agree, but insisting that they throw it out when there's nothing else for them to eat?

    Well, yeah. Seriously, there was no excuse for the pilot to treat the passengers discourteously, but I see no problem with the passengers being asked to dispose of food that smelled very strongly. I remember once traveling on a flight next to a seatmate eating a particularly pungent tuna sandwich. I was 10 weeks pregnant. Suffice it to say it was a very poor flight.

  6. No excuse for the behaviour of the staff, courteous and polite would have worked. But stinky food on planes can be pretty unpleasant cos it is an enclosed space.

    (I had a bad experience with a horrible omelette (which was the last meal before landing after being in transit for too many hours than I care to remember) the first time I went overseas so that sort of food (breakfasts with egg in it, or reheated french toast in the kosher breakfasts. feh.) should be banned.)

  7. I wonder if the green eyed monster will show up and they decide to sue.

  8. (Of course, how do you throw someone off in the middle of a flight, anyway!?)

    Ever heard of a parachute?!


    Thanks for the link.

  9. Can anyone verify whether the meal was served by the airline or brought on board by the passengers?